Raffaele Ienco’s Epic Kill follows the journey of a young woman named Song as she evolves from amnesiac to assassin in five short issues. Song’s story is a relatively simple tale of revenge as she hunts down the man she holds responsible for killing her parents: the President of the United States. Interspersed with the present day narrative are scenes from Song’s youth in which her single-minded pursuit of vengeance dominates her every move. It’s a bombastic premise but alas, “Epic Kill” starts with a bang and ends with a whimper.
WRITTEN BY: Raffaele Ienco
ART BY: Raffaele Ienco
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: October 3rd, 2012
When we first meet Song, she’s biding her time in a psychiatric hospital, slowly recovering her memories from an earlier accident. There’s more to this petite young woman than meets the eye, as an abusive orderly discovers when he tries to take advantage of her perceived weakness, which brings to mind a certain Tarantino film. The hospital is soon overrun by a squadron of gun-toting baddies with their sights set on Song. Equipped with a repertoire of skills straight out of the Matrix – Song can dodge bullets – our hero singlehandedly takes out an entire battalion of heavily armed soldiers.
It’s a dynamic opening, rich with the promise of political intrigue and, as advertised, some truly epic kills, but the plot never quite thickens as expected. Song’s story is pretty straight forward. Her parents were killed in a tragic accident and the man responsible has refused to take responsibility for his actions, ergo he must pay.
Though “Epic Kill” starts out with some interesting ideas, Ienco doesn’t capitalize on their promise. In the first issue, Song experiences fantastical hallucinations as she fights for her life but they’re eventually abandoned in favor of a series of generic fight scenes. Similarly, Song’s seemingly superhuman talents are never adequately explained. There’s no magician’s trick behind Song being able to dodge bullets and her ability to pull off other equally physically impossible feats is chalked up to simple hard work and dedication. I guess it aligns itself with Kung Fu flicks, but something about the action doesn’t allow for full suspension of disbelief.
There are no real plot twists to speak of and one gets the feeling that Ienco’s concern was simply to get his story from Point A to Point B. As Robert Frost once said, “No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” Ienco is a far greater artist than he is a storyteller and there are some truly beautiful splashes in “Epic Kill.” The art is really the book’s saving grace. The creativity of Ienco’s layouts and the sophistication of his linework make “Epic Kill” a lovely, if largely uninspired read.
Reviewed by – MelissaGrey