Big Trouble in Little China

Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York 2 (November 2016)

Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #2There are a couple plot twists and they’re both lame. Worse is Pak’s revelation Big Trouble Jack Burton has the same super powers as the Black Cat. Bayliss is weak on expressions, which doesn’t help Pak’s lame Snake Plissken characterization. Might be time to plan my escape.

CREDITS

Snake’s World; writer, Greg Pak; artist, Daniel Bayliss; colorist, Triona Farrell; letterer, Simon Bowland; editors, Alex Galer and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York 1 (October 2016)

Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #1The funny part of Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York is its a crossover of the Boom! licensed comics, not the original film properties. I read Big Trouble for a bit; it ranged from really good to even better for a while. Escape not at all. It was the pits. I’m not sure I would’ve given the book a shot if I’d known it was for the comics and not the movies.

But I’m glad I did. It’s not quite up to snuff, but it might be as the series progresses. I don’t think great–there’s a lot wrong with it starting with Daniel Bayliss drawing Jack Burton with an exaggerated chin (like in the Big Trouble book) only being way too realistic about it. It looks like some kind of photoshop distortion, not an absurdly square-jawed person. Though maybe Jack had implants in the comic, who knows.

Otherwise Bayliss’s art is fine. Greg Pak doesn’t get to New York this issue, instead he rips off some Fury Road type villains so there can be desert scenes. Because when I think a book called Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York, I think desert scenery. So there’s not much heavy lifting on atmosphere. Bayliss does a solid amusing shootout for Snake. Not as good on the Jack Burton action.

Pat’s premise is simple–he makes fun of Snake and Jack, which means he’s not getting the point of either character, at least not for how the films portrayed them. Snake and Jack–who both look the same in the comic, which is part of the gimmick–were Kurt Russell doing a John Wayne and a Clint Eastwood impression. He didn’t do them well, but it’s like John Carpenter learned from “Elvis” just not to tell Russell he was doing bad and instead turn it into a great performance. Or Carpenter just hadn’t figured out how to direct a movie star as opposed to an actor, whatever. Pak doesn’t get it. Or maybe the comics didn’t get it.

I’m surprised but I’ll be back for the next one. It’s competent enough and it’s ambitiously dumb enough. If Pak doesn’t mess anything up and just does his Fury Road rip-off, hopefully with a Macready cameo at the end, it’ll better than anyone expected. Except maybe Fresno Bob.

CREDITS

Snake’s World; writer, Greg Pak; artist, Daniel Bayliss; colorist, Triona Farrell; letterer, Simon Bowland; editors, Alex Galer and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Big Trouble in Little China 12 (July 2015)

Big Trouble in Little China #12Big Trouble in Little China seems to have just finished its first long story arc. And it’s a doozy. The plotting of the series all of a sudden makes sense; one has to wonder if it was Carpenter’s idea for a film sequel, what he came up with for the comic or just Powell’s invention.

Strange thing about the comic is the art. Churilla is really rough. Maybe Gonzalo Duarte is a new colorist or something, but even Churilla’s lines look different. And he’s skipping backgrounds a lot more noticeably. And the visual pacing of the issue’s a little weird. His panel layouts don’t flow.

Is the comic satisfying? Not really. The doozy ending, even though it has some potential going forward, doesn’t do anything for the series up until this point. It’s a refresh; I wish Powell had taken more responsibility for things.

Still, it’s amusing, well-executed stuff.

CREDITS

Writers, John Carpenter and Eric Powell; artist, Brian Churilla; colorist, Gonzalo Duarte; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Big Trouble in Little China 10 (April 2015)

Big Trouble in Little China #10This issue of Big Trouble is unrepentant in its awesomeness. It’s Jack Burton versus the probably dimwitted demons of Hell as he tries to plan his escape. Powell goes for humor the entire issue–so much so, when Jack gets into a fight at the end, it’s hard to see there being any danger.

And that cartoon aspect of the comic has become one of its pluses. Big Trouble isn’t straight-faced at all, but it often deals with “serious” issues (well, mostly just its cast being in danger); the silliness (and Powell’s attention to character detail) puts it past being a successful licensed comic and into its own territory.

In many ways–though it’s impossible see imagine this comic coming out in the eighties–it feels more like the movie is an adaptation of this comic than the other way around.

There’s some lovely, fun Churilla Hell art too.

CREDITS

Writers, John Carpenter and Eric Powell; artist, Brian Churilla; colorist, Gonzalo Duarte; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Big Trouble in Little China 9 (March 2015)

Big Trouble in Little China #9Churilla’s art seems really rushed this issue, but it might not be his fault. The issue winds down and Powell gets to his cliffhanger and all of a sudden it’s clear the big panel composition wasn’t to help Churilla, but Powell. There’s not a lot of story this issue–and when there is story, it’s Powell keeping the movie villain in play (after promising his demise three or four times now).

It’s amusing enough, but Big Trouble in Little China hasn’t really gotten anywhere. It’s even lost some of the devices Powell utilized in the first few issues (like Jack’s flashbacks). Mostly it’s because Jack is barely a character in the comic anymore, save his appearance on the covers.

Only the supporting cast hasn’t really taken his place. Powell just has all these likable characters doing mundane mystical adventure tasks.

But, like I said, it’s amusing enough. Even when lazy.

CREDITS

Writers, John Carpenter and Eric Powell; artist, Brian Churilla; colorist, Lisa Moore; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Big Trouble in Little China 8 (January 2015)

Big Trouble in Little China #8Well, Big Trouble in Little China is definitely going places. This issue, which is mostly (amusing) exposition and (great) banter–with a lot big action set piece thrown in–moves the series to an unexpected cliffhanger. Powell is getting closer and closer to needing to establish a point for the series past the gimmick of its very existence. He seems to be almost there.

The only problem with the issue is Churilla’s art. He’s hurried in places, not putting a lot of thought or time into his compositions. There’s the action set piece and it does work out, but it’s a small part of the issue. The build-up to that sequence has some wonky, disjointed moments.

Powell’s script has a good amount of surprises alongside the humor. The conclusion’s unpredictable (unless I missed something in the previous issues); it probably shouldn’t be. Powell artfully uses the laughs for misdirection.

CREDITS

Writers, John Carpenter and Eric Powell; artist, Brian Churilla; colorist, Lisa Moore; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Big Trouble in Little China 6 (November 2014)

Big Trouble in Little China #6And Big Trouble is back. Powell is setting up a new storyline, but he’s also back with his core cast–or maybe just developing his core cast. It feels less like a direct sequel to the movie and more like a real one.

Maybe just because Powell finally gets to explaining what’s going on with Gracie Law, who was inexplicably missing from the first story arc–until now–but also because he’s developing. He’s developing Miao Yin (the kidnapped girl from the movie) and the friendship between Jack and Eddie.

The humor’s stronger too. Powell holds on to jokes and gets all the laughs he can from them; there are also fish people and dumb bikers. The only place where Powell stumbles is with the new villains–men in black–but not significantly.

Churilla gets a lot stuff to draw–the fish people–and some good action.

It’s good again.

CREDITS

Writers, John Carpenter and Eric Powell; artist, Brian Churilla; colorist, Lisa Moore; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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