The Silencer: Code of Honor by Dan Abnett

 

details
Title: The Silencer.
Story-Arc: Code of Honor.
Volume: 1.
Writer(s): Dan Abnett.
Illustrator(s): John Romita Jr. & Viktor Bogdanovic.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: October 2nd 2018.
Pages: 144.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401283353.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.

thoughts

As part of DC Comics’ New Age of Heroes following the events of Dark Nights: Metal, whole new and old heroes surge out of into the world and seek to establish themselves as heroes, whether they want to or not. Out of the eight series that were announced so far, two have already been cancelled after their first story arcs (The Unexpected and The Immortal Men), leaving fans wondering if a future for these new characters and teams of heroes is even possible. The initiative still brings in a current of fresh air by establishing these series as an artist-centric project where writers come second. The real question however lies in the originality of these new heroes and in the efforts put into these initial story arcs to hook readers. Only time can tell.

Who is the Silencer? Essentially, she’s a retired hitwoman who goes by the name of Honor Guest and who lives a peaceful life with a husband and a child. Having left the criminal organization known as Leviathan where she worked alongside Talia al Ghul and where she learned to harness her deadly gunslinging skills, but also her special sound-dampening ability, she finds herself dragged back into the web of criminal activities that was once the core of her life. It is especially troublesome when she is the key to the current power struggle within the organization and that her past simply doesn’t wish to leave her alone despite Talia al Ghul’s warning that no one ever truly got out of the organization forever.

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The premise behind this new character’s story is nothing new, but never gets old. How the past always finds ways to sneak back into your life and ruin any assurance of bliss established for the future is a situation that many can relate to, and some deeply fear. But how does The Silencer fair in this debut series under the hands of Dan Abnett, John Romita Jr. and Viktor Bogdanovic? The addition of a peculiar ability to create a bubble around things to eliminate sound does make this character quite interesting, but something about it still seems too underwhelming in the grand scheme of things. Throughout the story, she does make wise use of it, both as Honor Guest and as the Silencer. But her tendency to wreak havoc with her guns is where the focus is mostly at since she brings a level of sheer violence and high corpse tally like no other character before. As her brutality remains the center of attention throughout the action sequences, I did find that her dialogues while fighting a bit too odd in the sense that no one would talk to themselves like the way she does while dealing out so much violence.

Collecting issues #1-6, the artwork is also split in two with the first three issues done by John Romita Jr. and the second half being passed on to Viktor Bogdanovic. I have personally never been a fan of John Romita Jr. even if his reputation precedes him as a legend in the comic book industry. His character designs are truly hard to appreciate as they often have really unconvincing and uncharacteristic facial structures. The colour scheme however felt very psychedelic at times, exhibiting a very surreal experience riddled with violence and bloodshed. Viktor Bogdanovic’s style was a lot more appropriate for the story arc to my taste, and very reminiscent of Greg Cappullo’s style. The panel structures were also much more abstract and irregular, giving the story a very different flow and quality.

Impregnated with violence but also a desire for peace for her family, the Silencer turns out to be a violent and intriguing addition to the DC Universe and easily blends herself into the lore with the appearance of several well-established villains to get fans talking. What she plans on doing next to get what she desires deeply, that is to keep her dear family away from her past, will have to be the sales pitch that future arcs will have to play on to convince readers in the sustainability of this DC Comics series.


EXHIBITA

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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32 comments

  • Interestingly enough I’m currently watching an anime series about hitmen/assassins as well, so talk about coincidence. This character does sound quite interesting, and Dan Abnett has written a lot of novels in the science fiction bookseries of the Horus Heresy that I really love so that already would make me check this one out. But of course it’s your review that convinced me…and three stars for this is still pretty good. I have a lot of comics to buy next year at Dutch Comic Con lol. Great post as always! 😊😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • Abnett writes for Warhammer in general but was also part of the team that gave us the gaurdians of the galaxy movies… you have any dates for the dutch comicon? Id like to check it out too…

      Liked by 2 people

      • True 😊 I just mentioned the Horus Heresy series because that’s the one I’m currently reading, but he has written so many cool Warhammer novels 😀 Didn’t know about the Guardians of the Galaxy movies by the way! Cool info.
        As for your question: Dutch Comic Con takes place twice a year. I usually go to the event in March (and for next year the dates haven’t yet been determined). But on the 24&25 the of November this year the next one will be held, so that is pretty soon 😊

        Liked by 2 people

    • Ohhh, sweet coincidence hahah Then again, you do watch over 6 anime at the same time. You’re definitely making it hard for me not find some common grounds with what you’re watching and what I’m watching/reading hahaha Will your next post be related to that very anime? 😀

      Oh yes, I knew you guys would recognize the author for this one hahaha He has in fact worked on a lot of comic book series, a bunch with Marvel in particular too. My three stars might seem severe, but that’s really just me. The story arc and new introduction of the Silencer might be quite awesome to others! 😉 Ohhh, I can’t wait to see what kind of haul you’ll have at DCC! 😀 You better share your adventure again with us!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep…in fact it’s coming out today, and it will be a new monthly feature that is new for my blog as well, starting today 😊😊
        As for DCC I haven’t done a post for that yet…it’s usually Animecon that I share….but maybe next year I will 😊😊

        Liked by 1 person

    • I knew you’d recognize this one really quickly hahah Yep, DC Comics aren’t putting the writer’s name first for this particular line of comics (The New Age of Heroes), so that the artists become the main attraction. 😉 Hope you enjoy this if you ever decide to pick it up.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha! I wouldn’t say their looking fora new self in the comic book department as a lot of their main comic book line-up are going strong. They’re really just expanding their universe and exploring a lot of different stories through all kinds of writers and artists. As for their TV series/movie department… That’s another story… Hahahah

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, TV/movies are a separate topic entirely 😉
        I wonder though – all that rebooting stuff, New 52 and then Rebirth, and additionally some rather strange storylines (yes, I’m looking at the Batman wedding storyline :P) – to me, it smacks of desperate measures in desperate times. I won’t pretend to know the extent of pressure on comic book creators, especially of the renowned, beloved titles/characters, but I have a hunch that such a comic book El Dorado we have now cannot last forever and that DC is keenly feeling the pressure of peers and time – and thus desperately trying to come up with something spectacular and new 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hahahah yes! the initialy reboot with New 52 was a huge one and definitely staggered everyone. There was a lot of controversy and a huge drop in quality for several runs, while other runs became classics and put some writers and artists on the road to Hall of Fame (like the New 52 Batman run). And hey! The wedding is a very fascinating story arc, okay! 😛 😛 You’ll just have to give Tom King’s run a shot to see what’s really going on. I do have to say that I initially heavily struggled with the first volumes, until Tom King really started to get a good grasp on the characters later on. 😉 But you’re totally right. Creativity will be needed if the comic book industry wants to ever survive. They’re ultimate solution will always be a reboot just to give new fans a chance to love these heroes. At least everything that has already been done won’t disappear all of the sudden. 😀

          But hey, you should see the mess that Marvel is in with their own universe. They have 10x more reboots in 10x less time (I think they’ve rebooted their series at least 4 times in the past 2 years). It’s almost impossible to even know where to start as a newcomer with their universe! 😛

          Liked by 1 person

          • I actually follow Marvel quite closely – and I must confess I reverted to waiting for solid full story-arc hardcovers, with a conviction that time will help me separate wheat from chaff 😛 So yeah, it’s like the whole superhero industry feels the pressure and the fear that the bonanza will end one day – and they’ll be left with mediocre stuff nobody will want to read. Recently I tried to convince myself once again to Waid’s take on Daredevil, and it’s still a resounding NO! How come can you move from Born Again to this? But then, you won’t sell me the idea of Bat’s wedding 😛 King already lost me on the War of Jokes and Riddles ;).

            Liked by 1 person

            • Oh man, I totally understand that. I don’t think I’ll ever hunt down single issues for any Marvel series. It’s such a mess to my eyes, I would find no satisfaction in having them hahah I definitely prefer checking out their stuff in their collected editions instead.

              Hahaha! I’ve tried Mark Waid’s 2014 run. It is soooo different from Frank Miller’s Born Again.

              Ohhhhh! Hahahahahahah Guess there really is nothing I can do there then. 😛

              Like

  • 2 series cancelled already? Huh, I totally didn’t think that would happen /sarcasm

    Sorry, I’m just very much in agreement with Ola there. DC is flailing in the movies trying to find their footing and now this type of thing makes it look like they’re flailing in the comics as well. I think they need to cut their offerings back and concentrate on some core comic lines. Oh well…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahah I had a feeling some of these wouldn’t survive too, but I haven’t read the two that got cancelled yet to know why. They might actually be pretty good, but an issue with the writers/illustrators might have brought them to drop those series.

      I honestly don’t think they’re flopping in the comic book industry as I personally think they’re still quite good compared to their Marvel friends. Essentially, their main series are still going strong, but they’re pursuing this angle to expand their universe to give newcomers and fans something different to try. Just look at the main Batman series by Tom King that I have been reviewing so far. If there was a drop in quality there, and they were pulling off this kind of stunt with new “odd” series, I would seriously be questioning myself on what’s going on. 😛 I do agree that it would’ve been nice if they kept some of the writers they put on these new series for more canon series though. Hopefully the other “New Age of Heroes” series aren’t too bad though.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Well, I’m sad that this one didn’t really live up… I love the concept of it, and it’s nice to have something “new” (obviously the general concept and themes have been done before… But, what hasn’t?) maybe I’ll have to look into it a little more regardless!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Great review — I love how critical you are of comics. They really need to be held to the same standard as other literature. Was it jarring to have two different artists collected in the same trade paperback? I don’t know how I would like the transition, even if it went to an artist I enjoyed more…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jackie! Yep. I do like to look at them as seriously as I do with novels. Even the silly manga/comics out there can be taken seriously in their execution and delivery! 😀 And absolutely. When it’s the same story arc, I’m usually not a huge fan of having different artists with different styles ruining the flow. I do appreciate artists who try to keep it somewhat uniform though, but that’s also rare. The only times I find myself appreciating the change is when it’s an anthology, different stories within the same volume. The art can change and adapt to the story without me getting worked out and annoyed by it all hahah 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Hm, with the abrupt cancellation of a lot of these ‘New Age of Heroes’ titles, maybe it would’ve been better for DC to have just produced them as individual mini-series with one writer and one artist (visual consistency seems to have been a major issue) to establish the characters and have them pop up in other regular DC books from time to time.

    John Romita Jr is definitely a big turn-off for me, it’s a shame because some of his older work I actually like – his stuff on Iron Man in the 70s looks nothing like the blocky, rushed style he favours these days and the art for Daredevil: Man Without Fear is a perfect fit for that story.

    Awesome review as always my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Chris! 😀 I totally agree. Mini-series would’ve been a nice way to test out these new teams. Also would’ve been pretty happy with James Tynion IV was working on something far more interesting too, for example.

      Yep.. I share your concerns with that man’s artwork style. I think I only appreciated his art in his Batman All-Star work with Snyder, just because it fit well with the story. The art in Man Without Fear seems soooo different to what I get from Romita Jr. nowadays too… So odd…

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s definitely not going to be an easy one, that’s for sure. We’ll always somehow find a way to say that it’s a rip-off of something, making almost anything created less appealing and interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

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