Artemis & the Assassin

Artemis & the Assassin
Artemis and the Assassin review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Aftershock - 978-1-949028-50-8
  • Release date: 2021
  • UPC: 9781949028508
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

Artemis is a code name for Virginia Hall, an actual American woman who very successfully organised resistance to the Nazis in France during World War II, and whose background details are incorporated into Stephanie Phillips’ time travel adventure. Her life is one of constant danger even before time-travelling assassin Maya turns up in 1944. On the one hand it’s fortunate the Nazis have never seen anything like the weaponry Maya has at her disposal, but on the other it’s her intention to kill Virginia.

Phillips keeps the whys and wherefores under wraps to begin with as she concentrates on the interactions between Maya and Virginia. Maya works for an organisation sending her back in time to kill specific people even if that messes with history as we know it, and a couple of back-up strips show periods of her training.

While it’s always fun seeing people travel through time, the possibilities are never maximised here. Maya is eventually given a complicated back story, while those employing this angry and compromised woman may have motivations beyond money, but these aren’t clarified. Sharp readers may pick up a visual clue in the third chapter, although it could be coincidence.

The flaws aren’t fatal, and better art might have raised the enjoyment, but neither Meghan Hetrick nor Francesca Fantini bring the locations or people to effective life. Fantini captures emotions on faces, but her figures are too often in exaggerated poses, even when just standing still, which proves a constant distraction. Hetrick is more accomplished, varying viewpoints and laying out the story more dynamically, but only draws the opening two chapters.

This is complete in the single volume barring a few explanations, but not as much fun as you’d hope.