Rating: 3.5/5 – A Direct Continuation of the Film With Fun Writing.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.
When there is an adaption of a film property to the printed page there will always be comparisons between the two. They’re different mediums so allowances need to be made and the translation will work for some people and not for others. The anticipation and expectations that a fan will have can also play into their ultimate enjoyment of the adaption.
For me, Kurt Russell is Jack Burton; this comes from numerous viewing of the movie over the years. The cover images seen in advertisements for months (see 2 of them above) both present a very “Kurt Russell” version of Jack Burton and cemented this expectation. Unfortunately, while Brian Churilla is a great artist in general, he did not draw a Jack Burton on the interior of the comic that had that evocative Russell Jack Burton look. We got a fairly generic lantern-jawed trucker and it took me completely out of the story. The comedic element inherent in the franchise was present in comic too, but overplayed a bit to broadly in the art for my taste (a good example of this is the 3-panel sequence on the middle of page 4). I found myself yearning for Eric Powell on the interior art. If the entire book looked like the cover on the left above, this book would be getting a 5/5 from me, but as it was, I survived on the story and struggled with the art.
The writing picks up directly from the final scene of the film and there are heavy references to the film throughout, including a creative twist on the demon hanging onto the back of the Pork Chop Express in the movie’s final scene. While this is great for fans of the film, I think the comic is fairly inaccessible to people who have never seen it (or matbe seen it once years ago). That is probably not a tremendous problem as the comic is likely not going to be picked up by people who have never seen the movie. Burton’s dialogue was spot-on, I found it best to hear it in my head with full-on Kurt Russell cadence, that helped tremendously.
If you’re not a fan of the movie, it seems as though this entire issue would fall flat for you given the heavy continuity from the film blended throughout the story. As a fan of the film, I think full enjoyment of this comic is going to hinge on how much Brian Churilla’s artistic interpretation of Jack Burton clicks with you personally. The story didn’t disappoint; dialogue was great, we got a spot-on in-continuity continuation of the film and a nice setup for what promises to be a crazy ride aboard the Pork Chop Express in upcoming issues. If you love the film, check it out!
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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