Harry Potter with a Twist of Kill: Five Weapons #1

Mike Cassella

The sheer inventiveness of a young, unarmed genius stepping into a Hogwarts-esque school for the children of assassins singles out not only writer-artist Jimmie Robinson, but publisher Image as well…

Five Weapons

Publisher: Image
Length: 22 pages
Writer: Jimmie Robinson
Price: $3.99
Publication Date: 2013-04

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.


In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.