Ready. Set. Premise. “Are you a hired assassin worried about your child’s education? Are you worried they won’t be able to find the adequate skills to be a successful hitman? Then, worry no longer. The school of five weapons is just for you.” Boom.
The story opens with the admission of a boy, known as Tyler Shainline, to a prep school for future hired killers. The school of 5 Weapons, not surprisingly, has five disciplines. They are knives, staves, archery, exotic weapons, and guns. Tyler must choose his weapon and embrace his destiny as the next generation in a line of legendary assassins except . . . Tyler has a secret. And, he must not fight.
This book is exactly what you’d hope for and probably expect it to be. At least so far. It’s light and entertaining. The illustration by author Jimmie Robinson is excellent, as is Paul Little’s coloring. It’s reminiscent of a certain class of classic comics as well as a high quality Saturday morning cartoon. The characters are similarly colorful and provide atmosphere to the story. Teachers such as Mr. Sensai of the knife school, Mr. Log of the Stave, and Ms. Featherwind of the Arrow populate the campus. You get the idea. Then, there’s the first student/crush/challenge presented to our hero: Jade the Blade.
My favorite part of the premise so far is the inverted role of the hero. It’s simple, but clever. In a story where everyone has advanced fighting skills, the protagonist is exceptional in that he avoids conflict. A possible mentor is introduced, as well, in my favorite of the ancillary characters. Hopefully, we’ll see more of her as the story continues. There are hints of a societal structure at play that are interesting but undeveloped as of the end of issue one.
I don’t know exactly how invested I’ll be as the mini-series goes on. I’m kind of waiting to see where it falls on the spectrum of drama and comedy. There are elements of both, and I could see it working well either way as long as the pacing stays as fun as it is in the first book. It strikes me mostly as an adventure story. They tend to be a balancing act when it comes to these things. Keeping your balance is difficult, especially when danger lurks on every side. Fortunately, The School of Five Weapons seems like a great place to learn such a lesson.
Five Weapons is available for purchase at Imagecomics.com.