Jai Nitz

Fu Jitsu #5 (February 2018)

Fu Jitsu #5It’s a fine finish to the arc, which then turns out to be the series. For now. Apparently Aftershock is being conservative in how many issues they give a series. So Fu Jitsu comes to its end. Hopefully to return.

Nitz and St. Claire do almost an issue-long fight scene between Fu and his nemesis, Wadlow. Rachel, Fu’s android ex-lover, cheers Fu on. She also tells him a big secret, which gives the story some immediate layers as the showdown between Fu and Wadlow goes on.

It’s a fast, surprising, smart comic. St. Claire’s art is good–the visuals on Fu’s kung fu and all the mystical but science tech are cool. Nitz knows how to write the talking fight scene too, the adversarial banter.

If it weren’t for the warning there might not be any more Fu Jitsu, even with a more serious than expected finish, the comic would go out swimmingly. Nitz includes a teaser, presumably to encourage interest in a second series, but it’s way too extra.

Other than that inclusion, Fu Jitsu #5 is everything it should be.

CREDITS

Curse of the Atomic Katana, Part Five; writer, Jai Nitz; artist, Wesley St. Claire; letterer, Ryane Hill; editor, Mike Marts; publisher, Aftershock Comics.

Fu Jitsu #4 (December 2017)

Fu Jitsu #4St. Claire’s art is feeling a little hurried this issue, but it’s still solid. And Fu Jitsu is still awesome. Nitz does this thing with quotes this issue. Every page there’s a text box with a quote. All sorts of sources, sometimes figuratively dealing with the page’s events, sometimes literally. It makes for a fantastic fight scene.

Because most of the issue is Wadlow fighting Fu Jitsu. Fu is in his kaiju-fighting giant robot. He’s got some tricks up his sleeve. Nitz has got some pop culture nods to make. Wadlow’s still got his goofy beard and atomic katana.

The quotes create the pace. Each page has to have something because it’s going to get a quote. That pace keeps the fight sequence going. It builds tension. Only Nitz keeps going with the quotes after the fight scene. He’s able to get a bunch of tension out of the soft cliffhanger build-up and it’s all because of the technical ability. There’s nothing in the story; Nitz is intentionally holding back.

And it’s fine. Fu Jitsu is like a present. Each issue is a new, welcome surprise.

CREDITS

Curse of the Atomic Katana, Part Four; writer, Jai Nitz; artist, Wesley St. Claire; colorist, Maria Santaolalla; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editor, Mike Marts; publisher, Aftershock Comics.

Fu Jitsu 3 (November 2017)

Fu Jitsu #3Nitz and St. Claire do a really fun flashback issue. Fu Jitsu when he was in a sixties spy duo, doing jobs for JFK. It’s cute. And it keeps being cute.

Fu narrates the flashback, recounting a previous meeting with evil Robert Wadlow, tallest man on earth. Fu’s kung fu powers are able to save the day, regardless of his silly cross between Robin and a newsboy costume. It’s nice to see Nitz confident enough in the Fu Jitsu concept to start exporing this early. There’s a closing bookend to bring the action to the present, because the flashback itself doesn’t lay any groundwork for it. Past Fu knowing Wadlow.

Nitz doesn’t have Fu narrate his history with Wadlow, he has him narrate his own history. It’s got broader expository goals, which means Nitz gets to do the interesting details with history. Fu was away from the planet for WWII, hence the technology improvements.

It’s cool. It’s well-thoughtout and it’s cool.

St. Claire’s art is good but the image filter they do to make the comic look retro doesn’t work. St. Claire’s panel layout isn’t early sixties. It pays quick homage, then moves on. The filter, unfortunately, remains.

CREDITS

Curse of the Atomic Katana, Part Three; writer, Jai Nitz; artist, Wesley St. Claire; colorist, Maria Santaolalla; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editor, Mike Marts; publisher, Aftershock Comics.

Fu Jitsu 2 (October 2017)

Fu Jitsu #2Nitz dumps information here. Just piles it on the reader, page after page. Fu isn’t just heart-broken over Rachel, his ex-girlfriend, she’s an android he created who fell in love with him and then out of it. She can shape shift (basically–it’s holographic something or another). They bicker as they try to save the world.

Fu’s enemy, Wadlow, has taken over the world. President Orrin Hatch surrenders to him–and typing those words just took a few years off my life–and the rest of the world capitulates easy. No one can stand up to his doomsday weapon. He wants to find Fu, but can’t, so he gets all of Fu’s enemies to hunt him down.

There’s a big fight scene at the end, with one big surprise, which Nitz and St. Claire admirably execute without fanfare, and then it’s cliffhanger.

Fu Juitsu is still in solid shape. This issue is just a lot, even though the story didn’t really go anywhere.

CREDITS

Curse of the Atomic Katana, Part Two; writer, Jai Nitz; artist, Wesley St. Claire; colorist, Maria Santaolalla; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editor, Mike Marts; publisher, Aftershock Comics.

Fu Jitsu 1 (September 2017)

Fu Jitsu #1Despite graphic violence and very high stakes (the end of the world), Fu Jitsu is a delight. The comic opens with Fu in an isolation tank in Antarctica. He’s the world’s oldest boy, clocking in at a hundred and twenty or so years, and he’s trying to get over a girl.

Writer Jai Nitz opens the book with Fu deciding it’s time to come up and have a burger and get on with life. Good thing too, since his arch-enemy has sent James Dean (who apparently didn’t die but because a bad guy super-assassin) to kill Fu. The bad guy, Wadlow, has escaped from the future and only Fu can stop him.

Wadlow gets a great villain monologue (and a couple amusing sidekick thugs). Fu gets a little less backstory, which is fine. Nitz has a lot of fun on Wadlow’s exposition and artist Wesley St. Claire beautifully visualizes the flashbacks. St. Claire also does well with Fu’s training regiment, which includes some kind of yoga and very tasty hamburgers. There’s a nice bit of panel design and composition, but also a lot of movement.

Got to have movement with the kung fu. And there’s lots of kung fu.

Fu Jitsu is off and running.

CREDITS

Curse of the Atomic Katana; writer, Jai Nitz; penciller, Wesley St. Claire; letterer, Ryane Hill; editor, Mike Marts; publisher, Aftershock Comics.

Dream Thief 3 (July 2013)

Dream Thief 3Okay, so the lead doesn’t kill people, he gets possessed by wronged people and they kill people. Nitz wasn’t clear though before. This explanation gets the lead off the hook a little for killing his girlfriend. He was possessed by the guy she’d murdered.

Anyway, this issue has the lead–his name’s John Lincoln but it doesn’t really matter since he’s always living out other people’s lives–messing with the Klan and then solving crimes. Nitz is really pushing the series as perfect for a cable TV procedural. And not in a bad way. It’s a good read.

There are occasional weak spots. The exposition about how not all white Southerners are racists is tedious and the subplot about the lead’s sister maybe being an accomplice to murder is too much, but Nitz doesn’t trip in the issue’s second half.

Dream Thief is getting better and better with each issue.

CREDITS

Writer, Jai Nitz; artist, colorist and letterer, Greg Smallwood; editors, Everett Patterson and Patrick Thorpe; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dream Thief 2 (June 2013)

275147 20130620141143 largeThis issue of Dream Thief isn’t just better than the first, Nitz sets a high bar for the series and its ambitions.

Besides the opening page’s narration–and some cuts to the protagonist talking to his sister–most of the issue is the lead thinking in the mind of a dead guy. The comic is a little like “Quantum Leap” mixed with the movie Frailty. The protagonist kills murderers and gets the victim’s memories.

This issue, which has a bit of action too–the weaker pages are the action ones–are the protagonist trying to figure out what to do while he’s suffering from having another person or two in his head.

Nitz also plots the issue really well. There are constant developments. It probably helps he starts with the protagonist “waking up” and having to remember everything while moving forward.

The only negative is the surprisingly weak normal dialogue.

CREDITS

Writer, Jai Nitz; artist, colorist and letterer, Greg Smallwood; editors, Everett Patterson and Patrick Thorpe; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dream Thief 1 (May 2013)

272641 20130515211812 largeI’m not what I’m supposed to think of Dream Thief. Not to spoil too much but the protagonist kills his girlfriend–the day after cheating on her–because she’s just mistakenly killed someone she suspects of breaking into her house and tying her up and threatening to kill her.

It’s unclear if Jai Nitz wants the reader to identify with the guy. He’s a pothead piece of crap–also not sure if Nitz has ever smoked pot. Not a lot of potheads go out and plot major thefts. Pretty sure they don’t.

The art, from Greg Smallwood, is pretty darn good. It’s all realistic until the flashbacks and hallucinations, which he doesn’t do as well as the realistic stuff… but not bad.

At the end of this issue, it’s unclear how Nitz is going to approach the comic’s morality. As long as he makes a firm decision, it should work.

CREDITS

Writer, Jai Nitz; artist, colorist and letterer, Greg Smallwood; editor, Patrick Thorpe; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Scroll to Top