They say keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but what happens if you can’t tell the difference? Someone wants ex-hitman Mr. Rankin dead. But who? Writer Kyle Starks (Sexcastle) and artist Erica Henderson (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) present an assassin story that may give the John Wick franchise a run for its money in terms of body count. Assassin Nation is a sinfully delightful take on the assassin trope that is truly a must-read.
The world’s former greatest hitman Mr. Rankin, formerly known as Chekov’s Gun, has a target on his back. Someone’s out to kill him, so what’s the next logical step? He hires twenty of the best assassins on the planet to watch his back and get to the bottom of it. The only problem is, they might all murder each other first. Fueled by an insanely unique cast of characters, Assassin Nation is a hilarious death ride that will have you on the edge of your seat till the very last page.
Not since Game of Thrones have I used the term “don’t get too attached to a character.” Starks and Henderson have crafted a well written, humorous, and utterly violent spy vs. spy series that pulls you in right from the start. Some other great qualities worth mentioning are Stark and Henderson’s great pacing ability within the writing/artwork. They both do a great job of allowing enough time between panels for you to really enjoy the jokes, action, and dialogue within the story.
Just like Stark’s previous work on Sexcastle, this book proves two things. One, he’s definitely watched a ton of action films, and two he clearly knows how to tell a good assassin story. He has done it twice now. I also really love how unapologetic he is with killing off really good people in this story — it gets brutal, people.
The Unusual Suspects
Besides the fantastic plot, Henderson treats us to some zany characters you’ll remember long after reading this book. First is a guy named F*ck Tarkington, who looks more like a farmer than a hitman. Second is Dave, a young hitman who’s too busy trying to get everyone’s autograph rather than killing anyone. Third is Maxwell Bishop, a guy looking for the man or woman who killed his husband. Last but not least is Smoke, a top-five ranking female assassin who’s pretty amazing with a gun.
The Unbeatable Erica Henderson
Bringing all the wonderful gunfire and anarchy to life is visual genius Erica Henderson. What I love most about Henderson’s work is how she crafts such engaging and interesting character designs. She gives such detailed characteristics to even the background characters. In addition, she always utilizes each panel to the fullest making sure her artwork is never overcrowded or distracting.
Assassin Nation is an action lover’s dream. It has all the elements that make it an instant classic, including guns, more guns, betrayal, and did I mention guns? If you love films like Wanted, Kill Bill, or Inglourious Basterds, you’ll love this book. Download it today or pick up a copy at your local comic shop, you won’t be disappointed.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!