My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Complete Silencers feels sorta incomplete. The title might cause one to think it’s a whole story, but it doesn’t seem that way. Fred Van Lente and Steve Ellis did a fair job of creating a tale that smacks of Brubaker’s Incognito or a bit of Bendis’s Powers. While not quite as good as either of them, it still managed to win me over. Sorta.
I did like the concept that Fred put together. A group of super-villains contracted by organized crime to act as their enforcers and trigger-men decides to try and dethrone the Don. This mutiny leads to a war for control of the underworld with traitors on both sides of the battlefield. I like some of the characters that Van Lente and Ellis created as well. “Hairtrigger” comes off like an on-edge, speed freak with in gun in each hand blasting away like he’s in a John Woo movie. He’s 3 seconds ahead of everyone else and this appears to give him superfast reflexes. It’s like he is able to predict what someone else is gonna do before they do it. “Nil” kinda reminds me of DC’s “Shadow Thief” or “Inque” from Batman Beyond. His ghost like ability to blend with darkness and morph his form make him a dangerous assassin or an excellent bodyguard. And finally, the “Cardinal” is the brains behind “the Silencers”. His shaved head look and deadpan demeanor reminded me a little of Agent 47 from the Hitman video games. He’s like a human battery charged with 100,000 volts that he can discharge by touch. He’s also no bull-shit killer that rocks a priest’s collar and round, red-lensed glasses.
Van Lente’s story and dialogue were decent. The biggest issue I have with this book is that once it finally had my undivided attention, it just ends. This is really just an origin story with no follow up. The fate of the Silencers at the end of this book is a story Van Lente never gets to in this collection. Felt a little gypped. So by “complete”, he means that this volume collects the comics that were published and Fred only hints at what might have been in the extras section at the end of the trade. Disappointing that Image apparently pulled the plug on the series before it could get off the ground under their banner. Especially since Van Lente really seemed to be hitting his stride as the collection wraps. Shitty.
Steve Ellis did an ok job on the art. Not as nice as the stuff he did in High Moon, but good enough. Seemed to be improving as he went. His style reminded me a little of the Pander Brothers from Matt Wagner’s Grendel: Devil’s Legacy series. I really would have liked to have seen Ellis get a shot at drawing these characters with the skill he displayed in his more recent, improving artwork. Love the cover. Probably will never happen though. Fans of Incognito or Powers will probably find a little something to enjoy here, but for someone that has not read either of those two titles, it might be a better bet to check one of them out instead.