The concept behind Five Weapons #1 reads like male teenage wish-fulfillment 101; boy is drafted into a prestigious school for assassins where he can choose what he’ll specialize in, only he doesn’t have to specialize in anything because his wits are too much for anyone. It’s a pretty juvenile fantasy, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be executed well. Unfortunately, “Five Weapons” is not executed well, with an irritating protagonist, empty characters and no sense of gravity to its proceedings.
WRITTEN BY: Jimmie Robinson
ART BY: Jimmie Robinson
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: February 27th, 2013
I understand Jimmie Robinson’s “Five Weapons” is geared towards kids who are enrolled in middle-school; two pages in, and I was pretty sure I wasn’t reading the next “Watchmen” or “Sandman.” Still, even taking this into account, there’s no way to call this a good comic. Even for a children’s comic, the characters are ridiculously one-dimensional; virtually all the characters other than the protagonist – Tyler Shainline – serve as an obstacle for him to overcome or a puzzle for him to solve. None seem to have a motivation or purpose beyond being a plot device. It’s lazy writing, pure and simple.
The greatest flaw, ironically, is Tyler Shainline. Shainline comes from a prestigious assassin family, and quickly begins to assert his dominance over both the faculty and students of the school, solely relying on his brilliant intellect. Jaws drop at his audacity and his ability to manipulate and defeat others. In other words, he’s exactly what every young student wants to be; cocksure, capable and extraordinary. But the pitfall of this is that Tyler isn’t a character; he doesn’t have a weakness. He doesn’t have something to overcome, not really. He’s a presumptuous, arrogant fantasy, as desirable to introverted young students as he is utterly unrelatable to them. If you can’t connect with the protagonist of a story, something is clearly wrong.
The art, also by Robinson, is appropriate in its tone and surprisingly well-detailed, but it’s not enough to save “Five Weapons.” There’s much better young adult fare out there. I suggest you go find it.
Reviewed by – GeorgeShunick