I love Jimmie Robinson’s work. The Adventures of Evil & Malice is one of my absolute favorite comics, a love letter to all ages books that’s smart enough for adults and subtle enough for kids to love it as well.
I hate Jimmie Robinson’s work. Bomb Queen is one of the most exploitative and offensive comics I’ve ever read, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why it’s received five sequels so far. Probably because of it’s exploitative and offensive nature. It just wasn’t for me.
As you can see, I come into Robinson’s latest series Five Weapons in a bit of a tight spot. This is going to either be amazing – like Evil & Malice – or incredibly difficult to read – like Bomb Queen. I was apprehensive to give this book a shot, but the book being described as Hogwarts for assassins had me at the very least intrigued.
The book stars Tyler Shainline, a kid in his first day at the Five Weapons Academy, a school where kids are – much like Harry Potter at Hogwarts – destined to be sorted into a club that focuses on a particular weapon skill – Knives, Staffs, Archery, Exotic Weapons, and Guns. The thing with Tyler is he doesn’t have a weapon…save his mind.
See, Tyler has the mind of Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, with the manipulative skill and social graces of Nate Ford from Leverage. He’s a charmer, and by the time he reaches the end of issue one, he’s pegged half the school’s nuances, idiosyncrasies, and fears. He earns the respect of the school nurse (the only person he doesn’t seem to be able to read), as well as the ire of much of the rest of the school – in particular, one Jade the Blade, president of the Knife Club.
Through the story, we’re hinted at and finally shown just why the Shainline name is feared and respected, when we learn that Tyler’s parents are two of the greatest assassins in the world. We also see to just what lengths they would go to protect their son and themselves. It’s a touching, though incredibly Machiavellian way to handle a familial relationship. Sure, his parents love him deeply, but they’re clearly so far removed from the real world that it’s with little hesitation from his father that a cold, calculated decision is made.
The story ends with a confrontation, as all good cliffhangers need, but it’s truly one I don’t want to spoil, as it’s a lot of fun to lead up to. Trust me, the book is well worth the $ 3.50, and is a fine departure from the typical teenage comedy book. This Robinson at his finest, and it’s refreshing to read and enjoy again.
On the art side of things, the book is a triumph. Characters are realistically presented, action is dynamic, and as you read through the story and realize exactly how smart Tyler is, you’ll find yourself flipping back and appreciating the subtle (and, truly, not-so-subtle) clues that Robinson weaves throughout the story. It’s a light, fun art style with just enough darkness in it that you’ll keep coming back for more.
In the end, I highly recommend this book, as it’s a fantastic return to form for Jimmie Robinson, and is a breath of fresh air in an industry far too dominated by rehashed storylines and superheroes. It’s well worth the investment, and I, personally, cannot wait for the conclusion of the book!
Five Weapons #1 from Image Comics Shadowline imprint is the first part of a five issue mini-series, written and drawn by Jimmie Robinson.