Review – Big Trouble In Little China/Escape From New York #1 (BOOM! Studios)

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Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Daniel Bayliss
Release Date: 5th October 2016

We all love a good crossover, right?  Right??  Okay okay, so some previous comic book crossovers have maybe felt like a bit of a stretch, adding almost nothing to either character or franchise.  This one however, I’m glad to say, is definitely on the right track.  Working under the full approval of creator and Master of Horror John Carpenter, the worlds of Jack Burton and Snake Plissken are set to collide for the first time ever, and this first issue paints a fun, lively and entertaining picture of what this series seems poised to deliver.

Writer Greg Pak is clearly having a blast with the two characters and their markedly different outlooks and characteristics, something which really kicks into high gear when they finally come face to face during the latter stages of this first issue.  On paper the crossover is a neat, attention grabbing gimmick due to the striking similarity that both characters seem to bear to actor Kurt Russell, but when you actually get to see them in action, their partnership is actually a fairly logical and enjoyable one.  On one hand we have the wise-cracking, preternaturally lucky son of a gun and on the other we have the butt-kicking, battle-tested bad ass.  Plissken works well as the straight man to Burton’s shtick, and it’s going to be really interesting to see the pair attempting to work together during the rest of the series.

While it does perhaps spend a little too long trying to actually explain the circumstances which led to these two iconic characters crossing paths in a logical manner, there’s no denying that this is still a hell of a lot of fun.  Granted, there’s nothing particularly inventive or creatively mind-blowing at play here, but the execution is impressive and the clear affection held by the creators for the source material is almost tangible throughout.  Jack and Snake sound like themselves, and while there’s potentially a risk that their back-and-forth banter and finishing of each other’s sentences could become a little repetitive over the course of a six-part series, in terms of a first issue this is enjoyable, entertaining stuff.

Artist Daniel Bayliss’ style is pleasingly cartoony, even during the more violent moments, making this feel more like an animated series than a gritty reimagining of the dystopian Escape from New York future – a wise choice, in my opinion.  He also does a great job of making Jack and Snake similar enough for the jokes to land, but different and distinctive enough for them to stand apart – eye patch notwithstanding.

Overall then, while it’s not exactly reinventing the wheel, this is an affectionate and enjoyable pairing of two iconic 80s characters, packed with quotable dialogue, chuckle-worthy moments and bigtime action set pieces.  And really, what more could you want?

Rating: 4/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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