Elektra #11-17 (2002-2003)

This arc changes the direction of Elektra.  It’s actually two arcs across these 7 issues.  Short version: A bunch of people who have been widowed or directly harmed as a result of Elektra’s past actions decide to get together and get revenge. 

The first issue in the story is the best one: Elektra’s identity has been stolen and she is unemployable as an assassin.  It leads to an emotional and mental breakdown for her.

She turns to vigilante-like activities and generally just falls apart, tearing her own apartment furniture to bits and getting into random fights on the street.  It’s a very well done issue.  At the end of #11, a man in wheelchair appears and tells Elektra that he is going to destroy her.

He and his allies then move on to a campaign to do just that—until Elektra hits rock bottom, and her tormenters reveal their master plan…

…They want Elektra to reform and become a hero.  To that end, she is sent to South Central Los Angeles to study from a sensei called Drake, where she is given a white belt and agrees to be teachable again.

I hope she doesn’t get too attached. He’ll die in the next arc.

There is a lot of good here: The pacing is slow enough to show how Elektra’s “addiction” to killing renders her incapable of living life without her work, but it also keeps moving and progressing.  At the same time, the plot is kind of far fetched—particularly, the last part where the people who have been trying to ruin her then turn around and rebuild her.

I know Greg Rucka’s Elektra run has its detractors—and it is far from his best work—but this arc worked more than it didn’t for me.  It doesn’t hurt that the art is really good.  It’s well-drawn but also has seamless layouts that keep the reader moving.

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