Elektra has been a solid series that has been able to have a different tone from other street-level comics from Marvel thanks to the Las Vegas setting and Arcade acting as her antagonist. The difference in setting has so far been a good shake up for a character that has mostly been paired with Daredevil, for good reason. Arcade has also been presented as a completely different antagonist that Elektra has not faced before. Those things have combined for a refreshing take on Elektra by Matt Owens and Juann Cabal. Can that continue with the end of “Always Bet On Red”? Let’s find out with Elektra #5.
Writer: Matt Owens
Artist: Juann Cabal
Colorist: Antonio Fabela
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: Arcade gives Elektra no choice but to accept the “Boss Battle” in his MurderWorld, which features him inside a giant mech. Elektra is able to use her skills to dodge most of Arcade’s early onslaught but is eventually knocked down by all the firepower.
Just as Arcade has Elektra pinned against the wall Lauren gains access to MurderWorld’s systems. Lauren alters the system to give Elektra a special ninja suit. Elektra uses her new suit to quickly overwhelm Arcade and destroy his mech suit.
Arcade tries to make a break for it but is stopped by Elektra.
Arcade tries to get Elektra to play two out of three but she is not interested. Elektra orders Arcade to tell her who he really is working for. Arcade says he was told by someone to leave New York and head west for opportunities.
Elektra punches Arcade as she does not like being fooled with. Arcade finally reveals that Wilson Fisk hire him and others to take Elektra, Hellcat, She-Hulk, Spider-Gwen and Gwenpool off the board.
Not long after Arcade is arrested and Elektra sets Lauren up with a new life.
After everything that happened Elektra decides to head back to New York City, where Daredevil, Kingpin and Bullseye are conducting business. End of issue.
The Good: Though it is unfortunate that Elektra’s newest series has come to an end Matt Owens and Juann Cabal delivered an ending that sets the stage for what comes next for her character. In doing so Owens and Cabal are able to make Elektra #5 an important comic to read for those following everything that is going on with Marvel’s street-level comics.
As with the previous issues of “Always Bet On Red,” the action scenes in Elektra #5 was a nice change of pace from how where we usually see Elektra fight. Owens took full advantage of Arcade’s love of video games to make his “Final Boss” battle something that was a big challenge for Elektra. Having Lauren provide some back-up by providing Elektra a power-up made the entire fight much more exciting as we got to see Elektra go full video game ninja as she moved almost like Raiden from Metal Gear.
Giving Arcade a greater sense of importance with his reveal of being a pawn in Wilson Fisk’s plot was a nice twist that ties the Daredevil, Elektra, Kingpin and Bullseye comics together. This cleared up what the purpose was for Elektra to get involved in Arcade’s plot in Las Vegas as Kingpin was pulling all the strings. Adding in the quick mentions of Hellcat and She-Hulk as being part of Kingpin’s plot elevated whatever is going on to make it feel like something big is coming to Marvel’s street-level heroes.
All of this also creates greater interest in what is coming for Elektra next. Owens did a great job throughout this series portraying Elektra as the ultimate badass. Elektra #5 was no different as her skills were on full display here. Elektra not putting up with Arcade’s nonsense as she was looking for answers as to who he was working with was an excellent moment, especially the punch.
Cabal’s artwork was once again on point. Cabal gave a sense of frenetic energy to the action sequence that took up the first half of Elektra #5. The power-up suit that Elektra got in this issue was well designed and almost made me wish that was her new costume moving forward. Cabal also gave a great sense of something dangerous coming down the line with the shots of Daredevil, Kingpin and Bullseye at the end of the issue.
The Bad: The one knock against Elektra #5 is the rapid nature of the ending. Though the ending clearly sets the stage for what Elektra does next it was odd to see her allow fate to guide her next move. With Elektra learning that Kingpin was behind her latest adventure it would’ve been nice to see the preparation she goes through. Since we didn’t get that, Elektra looked naive in her approach as she immediately returns to New York City.
Overall: Elektra #5 delivers a very good end to “Always Bet On Red” while also setting the stage for what comes next for Elektra Natchios. Though I wish we could see more adventures with Elektra in Las Vegas it is clear that she is on to bigger things now. What that is and how it ties into the rest of Marvel’s street-level comics will be exciting to see play out.