ASSASSINISTAS #5 by Tini Howard and Gilbert Hernandez
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
Tini Howard puts Octavia's choices under the microscope in ASSASSINISTAS #5, hinting at the challenges she faced to balance motherhood with life as an assassin. Humorous and bright, Gilbert Hernandez makes the comic all the more hilarious and chaotic with his vibrant artwork. Watch as chaos ensues in IDW's latest issue of ASSASSINISTAS.
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Chaos Ensues

Many women have to choose between family and career. As Tini Howard points out in ASSASSINISTAS #5, the challenge is even worse if your chosen career is hit woman. Howard’s humorous adventure comic from IDW continues with over-the-top drama. ASSASSINISTAS #5 features the series’ fierce lead Octavia “Red October” Price as she faces the fallout after she left the original three-woman team, the Assassinistas. As always, Gilbert Hernandez’ evocative artwork gives Howard’s text its punch. Excitingly, ASSASSINISTAS #5 brings readers closer and closer to a fully fledged family reunion, revealing alarming secrets along the way.

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In previous issues, Octavia’s former colleague Blood Diamond lead Octavia, her son Dom, and his boyfriend Taylor on a wild chase to find a kidnapped child. Howard playfully sets Taylor as a foil to Octavia. While Taylor is a clumsy pacifist, Octavia knows her way around a gun. But both characters are endearingly attached to Dom, who just wants to make enough money to pay college tuition. The comic’s comedic ruse lightens the otherwise intense plot about family dynamics, old friendships, and young gay romance.

ASSASSINISTAS #5
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing.

ASSASSINISTAS #5: A Mother’s Love

Howard skillfully plays with flashbacks, giving readers a hint at Octavia’s origins. In ASSASSINISTAS #5, readers learn more about Octavia and Dom’s father, the roller-rink owner Carlos. While Octavia still values her work with the Assassinistas, it becomes clear that her real love is Dom. Thematically, ASSASSINISTAS #5 addresses the challenges of being a working mother. Although at times Dom struggles with his mother’s line of work, Octavia proves over and over that she will do anything to help her son. Howard’s dialog reaches a fever pitch in this issue, and the typically reserved Octavia is more and more passionate, especially when Dom comes into play.

Simultaneously, Howard does not drift from her fabulous comedic voice. For example, ASSASSINISTAS #5’s rogue antagonist is hilariously devious and prone to fabulously inappropriate puns. Additionally, scrawny Taylor gets up to an array of antics from slipping out of a jail cell (he’s skinny enough to fit through the bars) to helping locate the missing child and Blood Diamond’s bizarre pet, the iguana named Lazy Susan.

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Glam and Guts: Moms in Action

ASSASSINISTAS #5 turns up the heat, and Hernandez’s art follows suit with brighter colors and an humor to match Howard’s tone. For example, ASSASSINISTAS #5 opens on a flashback to Blood Diamond and Octavia fleeing the scene on their way to a party with Carlos. In a pink bullet-proof baby carrier, young Dom squirms helplessly. Although the reality of bringing a baby on a murder mission is obviously horrifying, the comic makes the outlandish idea humorous. Moreover, Howard assures readers that as reckless as she may seem, Octavia would never endanger her son.

ASSASSINISTAS #5
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing.

The added vibrancy in ASSASSINISTAS #5 makes Hernandez’s work stand out. The zany 1970s colors and patterns match Dom’s parents’ wild outfits and fashion senses. In the present-day scenes, Hernandez also adds bizarre and humorous details from Carlos’ waffle-shaped truck to close-ups on Lazy Susan lazying around while chaos ensues.

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On the Battlefield of Parenting

In ASSASSINISTAS #5 chaos does ensue. And Howard blows open many doors, leaving some confusion for readers to grapple with. Howard and Hernandez handle the chaos well. Although some comics lose coherence in chaos, ASSASSINISTAS’ elaborate plot and many moving parts just add to the overall effect. Indeed, with children running around, pets appearing in places they should not, and bullets flying, the metaphor works. Parenting is exciting, dramatic, challenging, and at least for Octavia, dangerous.

ASSASSINISTAS #5
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing.

But even those of us without children can empathize with Howard’s characters. Dom and Taylor lend the story a cute romance, while readers can only guess at what will happen when Octavia and Carlos are finally reunited. Moreover, the delightfully vengeful antagonist stirs up the drama with no remorse. ASSASSINISTAS #5 builds on past issues with delightful drama, humor, and excitement.

ASSASSINISTAS #5 is coming soon and will be available here

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