Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Joe Eisma
Colours by Gonzalo Duarte
Issue 13 marks the beginning of a new cycle for BOOM! Studios continuation of John Carpenter’s 1986 cult classic, and I can’t help but feel that this is the tipping point for the series.
The previous 12 issues featured story input from Carpenter himself, along with Eric Powell (creator of The Goon) and art by Brian Churilla. With Carpenters involvement it felt like a natural continuation of Jack Burton’s story.
However, with this new cycle I can’t help but feel that the wheels have begun to come off the wagon. The first cycle concerned itself with the continuing battle with Lo Pan, the films antagonist and other assorted supernatural beings, which results in Burtons death and his spirit trapped in one of the many ‘hells’ of Big Troubles mythology. Through further supernatural means Burton’s body is preserved to prevent it ageing and decaying whilst he attempts to escape ‘hell’, now skip forward 30 years and Burton’s body is an exhibit in a sideshow attraction.
The ‘Amazing Ossified ’80s Man’.
At which point Burton awakes, as time moves differently between the various plains of existence, its at this point that the comic severely looses its mojo.
It feels flat.
Churilla’s work was just the right side of parody, particularly with his design of Jack Burton. It bordered on caricature which is what the series needed, the film after all played at times like a comic book come to life.
On the left we have Churilla’s, textless, artwork for Issue 10 and on the right we have Drew Struzan’s original poster for the films cinematic release. Churilla perfectly captures the look and feel of the film with this cover and continues to do so throughout the 12 issues he illustrated. Sadly Eismas artwork possesses none of that, I appreciate that different creative teams take over as a series progresses and maybe I need time to adjust to this change in direction but I can’t help but feel that the series has taken a dip creatively. The cartoony feel that the first cycle had is no longer there which is a shame as it fit the series perfectly.
Like all comic fans I’ll stick with this series for a little while longer, maybe the change in direction will win me over, only time will tell.