DECORUM #5, available from Image Comics on October 7th, follows Neha as she endures the first years of assassin training, learning to take a life and watch her back. Jonathan Hickman’s story is, in a word, amusing, and the art thankfully tones down some of the post-modern imagery to bring the story down to coherence.
Mike Huddleston’s cover bears no connection to the internal story in any way that’s obvious. A gorilla-jawed soldier dressed in napoleonic garb takes a gunshot(?) to the chest, but that character or the battle they’re in is not part of the story. It’s an interesting cover; very exciting and dramatic, so its a creative piece of art to joy.
Hickman’s story plays as an amusing take on Mark Millar’s WANTED wherein a young diamond in the rough is recruited into the assassin’s life by a slick and seasoned mentor. Neha loses a bit of her street urchin charm in this issue as she throws herself into the first years of assassin training as a determined and eager student.
It’s an odd flip; going from completely lost and inept to an all-in go getter. Hickman weaves in plenty of wit as Neha is taken out in training assignments with vomitous results, but the humor, while very amusing, covers a largely predictable chapter in this overall series. It’s an enjoyable read, even if it lacks any surprise.
Huddleston greatly tones down the esoteric imagery in this issue to render a story throughline that largely makes sense. This really is a montage issue where the reader is treated to snaphsot instances of Neha going through her educational paces.
Huddleston character renderings are a bit cleaner here, and the backgrounds are less distractingly chaotic. Where Huddleston’s art chines the most is during the killing assignments. Neha’s push to become a killer when it doesn’t come naturally reads so well through simple side glances and facial reactions to the task at hand. If not for the subject matter, this character work would execute very well as an animated film.
Rus Wooton’s lettering gets top marks for marrying a bold lettering style with an admittedly amorphous artistic aesthetic. Gun shots are loud, and garish. Body parts hit the floor with heavy, wet thuds that perfectly mimic how you would expect the impact to sound. Very creative and very well integrated lettering by Wooton.
DECORUM #5, available from Image Comics on October 7th, is a fast and amusing read for an issue of its size. The art is more relatable than previous issues, and the violence is cocooned in plenty of dark humor. If you’re a fan of Hickman’s writing, this book is worth your time.