REVIEW: ‘Assassin Nation,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Assassin Nation #4 comes courtesy of Image Comics. Written by Kyle Starks, with art by Erica Henderson, and letters by Deron Bennett we open this issue with Mr. Rankin in a meeting. After the events of the last issue his gang now sits at #2 in the world. As his subordinate assures him that he is safe and should relax, the man is shot through the head.

In Assassin Nation #4, it seems the efforts of his highly trained entourage of assassins were not enough. Next, the reader is transported into one of the assassin Bishop’s dreams. He recalls the day that his husband was murdered by an impossible shot from a sniper. Following the bullet back to it’s origin he finds a shadowy figure, but he wakes up before identifying the killer.

The next day, the remaining assassins: Fuck, Dave, and Smoke have been gathered. Rankin knows he’s still in danger and theorizes that it must be the top gang, the Huynhs. Known for their ruthlessness, and the legion of sword-wielding bodyguards known as the Katana Kids. The heroes know they’ll be outgunned, but at this point it’s just business as usual. Of course, as is tradition, things are not quite as they seem and the final pieces of the puzzles of the series finally start to fall into place.

Once again, Starks has produced a compelling and hilarious script that was a joy to read. The story itself seems to be following some less than surprising beats. However, I can’t shake the feeling that there are still some surprises that he has left up his sleeve.

What I find more compelling than the overarching story is the mystery of who killed Bishop’s husband. It was only teased in the first issue and has been mentioned infrequently since. But, Assassin Nation #4 makes it a focal point and spares none of the gory details. With the list of people who could have committed the act narrowed, it still feels too easy. Which is why I find the mysteries in this series so interesting. The answers provided seem too easy, and thus you find yourself second-guessing everything.

Henderson’s art continues to be a treat in Assassin Nation #4. Her contributions to the characterizations are absolutely as crucial in this comic as their dialogue. From finger guns between friends to the look of resignation on Bishop’s face during his dream. Her art is telling just as much of this story as the script, and I love it.

My personal favorite bit comes from a hilarious use of bullet holes, but I wouldn’t want to spoil anything. Bennett’s lettering continues to be excellent as well. The sound effects, as well as lettering for visual effects, are standout.

All-in-all this issue has helped to cement this as one of my favorite titles, and definitely one of the best ongoing. I’ve spoken at length before about the strength of this title, and this issue keeps that going. The humor, visuals, story, and style are all on point. Additionally, the heart behind all of it is really starting to shine through, and the story is all the stronger for it.

If you’ve been sleeping on this series, then you need to remedy that. Unless you’ve got a strong aversion to violence, this is one book that you should not be missing.

Assassin Nation #4 will be available in comic stores everywhere on June 19th, 2019

5/5 Lives saved by the power of friendship