Friday, November 18, 2005

Jack Cross #1

"Love Will Get You Killed." Holy crap...He seriously just shot that guy's finger off! Jack's freaking nuts! This was my first gut reaction and I'm gonna tell you about this sweet series. If you can't tell, my enthusiasm for this one is telegraphing my recommendation: buy #2.

Any 24 fans out there? Remember when Jack Bauer cut that guy's hand off to get the bomb off his arm? That's the kind of action and suspense we're seeing with this new arc, Jack Cross. So who's on the job with this explosive new series?

About the author and creator, Warren Ellis: Enough said, you know this guy. Here's a link to the stuff he's worked on from 1982 to 2004; but recently, his projects include the following: Transmetropolitan, Desolation Jones, Planetary, and Fell (to name very few). Ellis is a distinguished writer for comic books, graphic novels, video games, animation, books, screenplays, TV, etc. He says he's kept standing purely by red bull, cigarettes, and a cane.

About the artist, Gary Erskine: The bibliography on Erskine's webpage provides a laundry list of projects he's worked on, such as Transformers, Judge Dredd, The Authority, Hellblazer, etc.

My first impression: Well, I already told you. I was taken in by the story big-time. The crappy thing about comics that aren't self-contained (read: almost all of them), is that you have to keep buying to get some closure. But with proliferation of self-contained story lines, you can collect as you have the cashola. Here, this is not the case, but the story arc is only 4 issues long. Just buy the whole set. I'm wrapped up enough to not care about the US $2.50.

To start off, Jack and his team of 3 open up their uzis on an apartment room of guys sitting around eating pizza. They recover some package and "sanitize the location" by blowing up the bottom floor of a building and any cars in the nearby radius. Basically, we get the feeling that Jack's a bad dude working for pretty powerful people. Actually, we soon read that he's doing these independent contractor-type work orders from the National Security Council.

So, Jack's relaxing on the beach of San Francisco when some lady friend smooches him and recruits him for some new project. This time, he gets $2 million and 3 more years of total freedom and nonexistence. Jack's got some history and Ellis is clever enough to insinuate through the minutia of details that he's trying to get out of this line of work (or at least that it is starting to get to him). The project is to extract information from some non-talker in the interrogation room.

Jack's an amazing interrogator, and he can read the small details. Like the ring that this dude is fiddling with. Jack can tell from the eye shifting that this guy is trained to resist interrogation techniques, and even some torture. Jack appeals to this guys emotion and shoots off the guy's ring finger saying, "You'll never be able to hold her again!" So every ten minutes, Jack's gonna cut off a finger until this CIA guy starts talking about what's going on. Jack takes a smoke and goes back in. Again, one more finger. But there's no information yet. The final scene shows Jack huddled up on the ground in the restroom...."To Be Continued."

Sure, this is the classic CIA-FBI-NSA-NSC-White House-ATF-security information-disaster-type stuff, but it's got a nice pace. I like the art well enough, but I would like a little more polish in the facial expressions. Sometimes, it's hard to tell which emotion Jack has - fear or confidence. Also, interestingly enough, there's a little tension by using the interrogation torture material. This is a big US debate right now with the Iraq thing, so the question we need people like Jack to do the dirty work?

RECOMMENDATION: Read #2. I wanna get some more of this story line, and it's only $2.50.


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