Tini Howard and Gilbert Hernandez start to answer some pressing questions in ASSASSINISTAS #3. The IDW comic is as exciting, humorous, and bizarre as the last, but with added intrigue between Octavia and her old colleagues this time around.
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Getting Messy!

It is a common belief that a mother’s protective instincts are unrivaled. Some mothers choose to shelter their children. Others try to teach strong problem solving and coping skills. In ASSASSINISTAS #3, Octavia “Red October” Price has a different method: Octavia is teaching her son and his boyfriend how to be hitmen. Tini Howard and Gabriel Hernandez pick up the pace in the third issue of IDW’s ASSASSINISTAS. Howard and Hernandez start to answer some pressing questions about Octavia and her former assassin colleagues, Charlotte “Scarlet” LaCosta and Rosalyn “Blood” Diamond, the founding members of the Assassinistas.

Image courtesy of IDW Publishing.

ASSASSINISTAS #3 bounces from the past to the present as Octavia, son Dominic, and his boyfriend Taylor track Blood Diamond. In previous issues, Blood Diamond kidnapped Kyler, Scarlet’s son. Seizing the opportunity to cash in Kyler’s bounty and pay for Dominic’s college tuition, Octavia is in hot pursuit. The quirky comic combines the adrenaline-pumping action comic with an endearing mother-son dramedy. Tini Howard marvelously captures the tension between characters, and Hernandez’s illustrations bring the 1970s-esque vibes to life.

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ASSASSINISTAS #3: Like Mother Like Son?

The primary relationship in ASSASSINISTAS #3 is between Dominic and Octavia. Howard does not reveal much, but the two characters clearly have more similarities than differences. For example, both Dominic and his mom are dead shots. Additionally, they are headstrong and loyal. Nevertheless, they frequently butt heads over their position in the new group. Dominic’s pointed jabs suggest a complicated family history. Luckily, Howard cuts the stress with bubbly humor that comes in when Taylor, the untrained pacifist, repeatedly gets in the way.

Image courtesy of IDW Publishing.

Octavia isn’t the only mom on the scene, though. Blood Diamond’s hilariously poor childcare of the kidnapped Kyler is not abusive so much as incompetent. Additionally, Howard provides more backstory to the original Assassinistas’ professional history. It seems that Scarlet, Blood Diamond, and Red October were a solid team up until pregnancy got in the way. While Octavia and Charlotte were able to more-or-less move on, Roz has a personal vendetta against the two. The tension between the three former assassins drives the plot in ASSASSINISTAS #3. Ultimately, Howard captures the intrigue without giving too much away.

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Mess is Part of the Job

Like in past issues, Howard and Hernandez’s detail work brings humor to the plot. For example, Octavia tells Dominic and Taylor about her past work with the Assassinistas. When she was pregnant with Dominic, she couldn’t help puking over the hits. While Dominic and Taylor are horrified, Octavia thinks the story is funny. Of course, Howard makes it funny, contrasting the traditional image of a mom telling stories about her pregnancy with the traumatic history of her job.

Image courtesy of IDW Publishing.

Howard plays up the humor between the mother-son relationship and Octavia’s job. Hernandez’s artwork embodies the contrast. Although the lines are surprisingly messy in ASSASSINISTAS #3, it is appropriate for the story that has become more complex. Indeed, it seems that Blood Diamond has always been making a mess of things that Octavia inevitably cleans up. But Hernandez’s artwork also plays up the emotions between Taylor, Dominic, and Octavia. While the original Assassinistas continually sass each other, Dominic, Taylor, and Octavia clearly care for each others’ well being. Hernandez expertly conveys the dynamic.

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Final Thoughts On ASSASSINISTAS #3: What’s Up with the Iguana?

In ASSASSINISTAS #2, Howard introduced the bizarre detail of Blood Diamond’s persona — namely, her large, pampered iguana. Howard gives few additional details as to the iguana’s identity, other than her humorous name, “Lazy Susan,” and Blood Diamond’s mothering instincts towards the scaly reptile. Lest we read too much into that, it will be necessary to wait until future issues to find out what’s up with the iguana.

Image courtesy of IDW Publishing.

Lizards aside, ASSASSINISTAS #3 is as exciting and dynamic as the last issues. Howard develops the complicated history between Octavia and her Assassinistas sisters. But whether Octavia, Dominic, and Taylor can overtake Blood Diamond is yet to be seen. What is true is that Howard and Hernandez continue to deliver a bright comic filled with humor and intrigue.

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