Elektra #1 Review

Marvel is going all in with creating a line of Daredevil Family comic books after the success of the franchise’s Netflix series. First to receive their own comic book was two of Daredevil’s biggest villains in Bullseye and Kingpin. Now in the final wave of new Daredevil comics it is Elektra’s turn to star in her own series. To mark the occasion Elektra is going making a big move by relocating to Las Vegas. As someone who is a resident of Las Vegas I am very interested to see how Matt Owens portrays Marvel’s version of Las Vegas in this new series. Let’s find that out right now with Elektra #1.

Writer: Matt Owens

Artist: Juann Cabal

Colorists: Antonio Fabela and Marcio Meiyz

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: In Midway Casino people are enjoying all partying, gambling, food and sex it has to offer.

The owner of the casino explains to a new rich customer that all of Midway Casino’s offering help hide a dangerous game with a buy-in of ten million dollars. The customer gladly pays to play the game.

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As the meeting is going on Arcade watches this and other things going on in the casino from a control room. Arcade express his disappointment that an MMA fighter and escape artist failed to put up a fight in his game. He then says that he can’t have too many whales willing to pay to win his game.

At one of the casino’s bars Elektra, who is wearing a blond wig as part of her disguise, starts her night by drinking. The bartender, named Lauren, asks Elektra if she came to Las Vegas to run to or from something. Flashing back to her time with the Hand, romance with Daredevil and death at the hands of Bullseye, Elektra says it’s a little bit of both as she takes a drink.

Lauren continues to ask Elektra more about herself. Elektra says she is a corporate head hunter and advises the bartender to get an office if she wants to be a therapist. Elektra then asks Lauren if she is looking to pursue a career as a therapist. Lauren says that she actually left her home in Ohio to move to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. She goes on to say when that failed she moved to San Diego and then finally to Las Vegas. She then begins to cry when stating that she may be the one that needs therapy.

Elektra notices that Lauren’s tears are partially washing away her make-up covering up what looks to be bruises on her face. A guy named Jasper walks in and tells Lauren that her services are headed.

At Arcade’s control room one of his employees gets some shipment ready for transport. Arcade laughs at how untrue the saying “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is. Another one of his employees informs Arcade of a high-roller who has already won four hundred thousand dollars. Arcade excitedly tells his employees to extend an invitation to his VIP game.

On the casino floor Elektra continues winning at a roulette table when some guy walks up to her to talk about Arcade’s VIP game. Elektra brushes the guy off and walks away before even learning what the VIP game is about.

Elektra goes to the bathroom to wash up. As she does Jasper walks out of one of the stalls happily expressing that when a woman wants it she has got to have it.

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After he leaves Elektra checks the stall Jasper came out of and finds a beaten up Lauren sitting on the floor.

In Elektra’s hotel suite Lauren explains all the shady business that Jasper is involved with. Elektra asks Lauren why she doesn’t fight back. Lauren says that people who stand up to Jasper end up dead in the desert. Elektra tells Lauren to stay in her suite while she takes care of Jasper to make sure that doesn’t happen. Lauren sees Elektra in her costume and wonders who she really is.

In a hallway a pair of guys gloat about how they killed someone. As they continue talking Elektra quickly kills them from out of nowhere and enters the ventilation system before anyone can spot her.

At one of Midway Casino’s clubs Jasper is talking all about how he helps run Las Vegas and how women fall to their knees for him. As he continues to gloat one of his employees, Rico, walks in and collapses from the ninja stars in his back.

Elektra enters the club ready for a fight. Jasper makes fun of Elektra only bringing her sais to a gun fight.

Elektra charges at Jasper, taking out all of his security guards before they can even take out their guns. Elektra then uses one of her sais to destroy Jasper’s gun and another at his leg. She then unceremoniously kills Jasper before he can beg for his life.

In Arcade’s control room Screwball tells Arcade about Elektra showing up at Midway’s club. Arcade happily says that it just means they just found their marquee attraction. End of issue.

The Good: New York City is a city that has only become more and more crowded in both the hero and villain realm. So making the move away from that major city is a big step for any character to take another part of the Marvel Universe for themselves. That is exactly what Matt Owens does for Elektra as she makes the move to Las Vegas for her brand-new ongoing series.

With how much has happened in the Marvel Universe over the years even Las Vegas has become a city affected by all of their events. Though it has been years since Hulk destroyed the city before the events of the original Civil War we have seen Las Vegas in different forms in other Marvel comics. So it was very important for Matt Owens to figure out how he wanted to present the real world city with all the comic book elements added in. In this way Owens is able to succeed very well with Elektra #1.

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The Las Vegas that Owens presents is one that is filled with the debauchery filled with sex, partying and drinking that the city is known for. It was also a good move to also highlight that the city is a means for an escape for the people that visit. This helps to frame the new start that Elektra is looking for herself as the city very much represents the escape of her previous life. At the same time this can very well be the place Elektra can find a home while continuing to fight similar threats she has fought in New York City and other places.

The bartender that Elektra met in this issue was an interesting way to see how things work in Marvel’s version of the city, or at least at the Midway hotel and casino. Owens does enough character work with her to make her a very interesting person to add to Elektra’s supporting cast in this series. Given her background she could provide Elektra with more eyes behind the scenes of what else is going on in the city. It at least gives Elektra a regular person to interact with, something we haven’t seen very often.

Using Arcade as the first villain that Elektra crosses with is a good choice to further establish Marvel’s version of Las Vegas. With how bright the lights of the city shine and people consumed by casino games Arcade is someone that can take full advantage of that. Arcade establishing his own game with a sports book-like betting system also provides a chance to see some rich and corrupted people to get involved in the story. The actual death game that Arcade set up wasn’t fully revealed in this issue but with Elektra now in play it will be very interesting to see how it challenges Vegas’ new resident hero.

Changing Elektra’s costume to the black and red version we saw in the Daredevil Netflix series is also fitting with the change she is looking for. The costume also feels much more fitting with the assassin type character that Elektra plays. The balance between the red and black also makes her standout much more for a hero costume. It at least gives her a way to hide her identity as she does seem to be even use disguises as she integrates herself in Las Vegas.

Juann Cabal artwork furthers the aesthetic that Owens establishes by making the entire world around Elektra pop off the page. Cabal does a good job balancing all the debauchery that is happening above the surface along with the darkness that permeates Las Vegas. His design for Elektra’s new costume also looks great in motion, as she kicks a lot of ass in the latter half of the issue.

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The Bad: This is only a very small gripe but there was something about characters mouths that did not always match the dialogue. It was especially noticeable whenever Cabal drew characters drew character to look like they were puckering up for a kiss.  Just an odd thing to see and did distract me slightly from the dialogue whenever I saw it while reading Elektra #1.

Overall: Elektra #1 does exactly what every good first issue must do in building an intriguing world for the main character to exist in. Matt Owens does a good job not throwing a lot of exposition at the reader. Instead he plays to Elektra’s strength as a silent assassin while building out where she is at this point in her life and why she decided to come to Las Vegas. And with the bright lights that shine in Las Vegas, Arcade is an appropriate villain for Elektra to go up against, especially with his new death game taking over the city’s betting culture. All of this comes together for an excellent debut issue that any fan of Elektra will be happy to purchase.