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Big Trouble In Little China #17

Big Trouble In Little China #17 published on

‘Just when I thought I was out they pull me back in.’

Written by Fred Van Lente

Illustrated by Dan McDaid

Colours by Gonzalo Duarte

Big Trouble In Little China 17
October 2015

Upon picking up issue 17 I was struck with a horrendous sinking feeling seeing that Joe Eisma was the cover artist. Not only was it poor, it looked like a panel from the comic, neither does it have any relevance to the contents of the issue. Though if you’ve been reading comics for any length of time you get used to the covers promising you things that ultimately the story itself fails to deliver. But nothing about the cover screamed ‘buy me’ or even remotely looked like a cover.

So thank god that after the quiet frankly unmitigated disaster that issues 13-16 were, I was prepared to drop the series altogether and just cut my looses. Now I love Big Trouble and the John Carpenter/Kurt Russell combos that have given us at least three cult classics, Big Trouble obviously, The Thing and Escape from New York. All three of which have now had their stories extended beyond the silver screen and into the pages of comic books.

The first 12 issues were a joy, they perfectly captured the balance of the film, and then suddenly something went horribly wrong, as covered HERE and HERE, and it all went to shit.

Page 1
Issue 17 Pg 1

Then like a bolt from the blue issue 17 came along and restored my faith in Jack Burton and the continuing adventures of the Pork Chop Express. Dan McDaid’s artwork is exquisite and as far removed from Joe Eisma’s work as Eisma’s was from Brian Churilla’s . Fred Van Lente’s dialogue is suddenly snappy and witty and a joy to read. Jack Burton once again sounds like Jack Burton and not the ‘80s parody of the previous cycle.

The only draw back to new readers is that aside from knowledge of the film, even if only cursory, is that they are going to need to have read from at least issue 13 if not the very beginning to have any tangible sense of what is going on, or how anything connects together.

However as I’ve been here from the beginning I’m going to stick with the series, just don’t let me down Dynamite! And for the love of god keep Joe Eisma away from the series.

Big Trouble In Little China #14, #15 & #16

Big Trouble In Little China #14, #15 & #16 published on


Written by Fred Van Lente

Illustrated by Joe Eisma

Colours by Gonzalo Duarte

August 2015
August 2015
August 2015
August 2015
September 2015
September 2015

I had held out hope that the series would improve upon what had been a rocky first issue for the new creative team. Sadly with these three issues what I hope is the conclusion of this run/arc the artwork, plot and dialogue have remained flatlined throughout.

The spark of the first 12 issues, that had been carried through from the film, has failed to materialise. Along with the colour and vibrancy. In fact its very difficult to write about this series without feeling as though I am repeating everything I wrote about Issue 13.

Two-thirds of these issues are told in flashback, not that you can tell as it was so poorly handled in Issue 13 that like a bad date you just wanna get to the end of it so no one can accuse you of not giving it a chance.

What plot there is, is finally revealed and its a mess. It some how involves Jack Burton’s ‘Ossified’ remains being sold to a Howard Hawks-esq Japanese businessman, who has been in seclusion since the 1980’s and who buys memorabilia from the decade, by his friend Wang Chi, played by Dennis Dun in the film, who is now a depressed, balding restaurateur with a middle age spread, hilarity didn’t follow. The reason for his depression, Mia Yin, who he and Jack fought so hard to rescue in the film has left him for a ‘dotcom’ millionaire or something, I literally couldn’t careless.

Somehow this also involves Gracie Law, Kim Cattrell in the film, who has gone from ‘investigative reporter’ to ball busting lawyer in the Sigourney Weaver from Working Girl mould.

Along for the ride are the ‘Alpha Group’, a rip-off/pastiche of ‘The A-Team’ but nowhere near as likeable or funny. Instead of Hannibal we have Attila, a ‘sex-bot’ (sigh), and a couple of other guys I’m not gonna waste anymore time than I have to typing about. They even rip the opening monologue wholesale from ‘The A-Team’, three words are changed thats it. I’m literally dying inside as I write this.

In fact I’m not going to continue wasting anymore of mine or your time, but needless to say eventually the plot (ha!), catches up with its own flashback before the final panel sets up another adventure.


I hope that the sales of this title drop off soon and that its cancelled so that the memory of Jack Burton will cease to be tarnished any further and eventual obscurity will befall issues 13 onwards. The one glimmer I take from all this is that John Carpenter is no longer involved in the story process and is merely a ‘special thanks’ on the inside cover.


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