US: Apr 2013
Image titles are always a blind date. You have no idea what the content is going to be like and you just have a pitch and cover to draw you in. What awaits you as a discerning reader on the inside of the book is always a tossup. Sometimes you have the good fortune of finding a series that has that great hook, winning art, and then, lo and behold, lives up to its potential. Five Weapons is, fortunately, one of those titles.
Now a confession: I’ve never read Jimmie Robinson’s long-running Bomb Queen series. By the time I’d gotten around to hearing about it, there were too many books that I felt I’d have to go back and reread (lucky for me, there will be deluxe additions of that series coming soon from Image). Five Weapons offered an opportunity to check out Robinson’s work with a new concept right at its beginning.
Five Weapons is the story of Tyler Shainline, the latest student to join the prestigious School of Five Weapons. The School is pretty much a Hogwarts for future assassins except instead of houses with personality types in them, there are clubs that are patterned after the discipline they endorse such as the Blade Club, Archery Club, Gun Club, etc. It’s an intriguing spin on a classic story with an incredibly colorful cast of characters that are introduced in rapid succession over the course of the first issue. Tyler, though, isn’t your average assassin-in-training. He quickly establishes himself as a master manipulator who uses his wits and his surroundings to further his own ends and Robinson is able to hold my attention quite well because, honestly, this is my favorite type of character: the genius.
Robinson’s art choices are also quite solid. He uses a muted color palette that keeps the more “fun” feeling of the book while still telling a story about kids being trained to kill each other in the most effective manners possible. He seems quite fond of various angles changing from panel to panel to keep the action moving and off-balance. It’s an interesting choice and one that, like many others in the book so far, pays off by giving the contents of the panels a fluid sense of movement.
As far as the plot, it’s hard to give too much of an assessment on where the story is going without spoiling the end of the issue twist. Robinson sets up many subplots and potential turns for the story to take and manages to do it in 22 pages which is an impressive feat considering the trouble the more mainstream books are having doing that lately.
Five Weapons has me intrigued enough to keep following the series for its full five issues. Once again, Image is delivering unique and well-done comics that are the vision of fresh talent out to show the many ways the medium can be used effectively. Robinson has a wealth of talent and a way to balance the morbid with the fun and not sink into the pit of “grim and gritty” that seems permeate the mainstream now.
"PopMatters (est. 1999) is a respected source for smart long-form reading on a wide range of topics in culture. PopMatters serves as…READ the article