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Comic Review:
Jack Staff #1
By Matt Martin

02.24.03


Image Comics Ė Paul Grist (w/a)

Well, Iíve gotta tell you, this was a little bit disappointing.

Iíve heard so many good things for so long about Paul Grist and this book that I was really close to breaking down and buying the back issues off of eBay. Then a trade was published and I thought, ďHey, maybe Iíll pick that up instead, see what itís like.Ē Then Image announced that they would be publishing the series from now on, starting with a new first issue. So that seemed like a logical starting point.

But now I find that I probably should have just gone back and bought the back issues after all, but Iím not really clear on what the hell is going on here.


Article continued below advertisement


The simple problem is that Grist isnít treating this as a new #1. As new readers, weíre naturally expecting to have missed out on some things, but at the same time, thereís a reasonable expectation that a first issue (even the first issue of a second volume) will summarize enough past material so as to be coherent, which this issue sort of fails to do. Rather, this issue feels like one of those preview issues that Diamond and the publishers throw in my weekly shipment, not something that Iím supposed to pay $2.95 for.

At first I sort of liked what was going on. Grist basically gives each character or group of characters about two pages each for a short bio and narrative that establishes who they are and roughly how they fit into the context of the overarching story. However, where it falls apart is when he decides to shoehorn a fight scene into the middle of the book, simply for the purpose of showing the titular character in his costume, as far as I can tell. Then thereís the matter of stating that the fight takes place in the past, which left me wondering if everything that follows the fisticuffs is also in the past, because if not, there are some continuity issues that I didnít quite follow (people are said to be dead who appear two or three panels later, etc.).

In any event, I didnít dislike it enough to stop buying the book. Itís only $2.95, which is pretty standard these days (much to my chagrin) and itís a bi-monthly title, so itís not like itís going to really stretch your budget. In fact, I wouldnít say that I even disliked it at all. I simply feel that Grist had a rather sizeable opportunity, debuting at a much more well-known publisher, to capitalize on good word of mouth and gain some new readers. However, itís an opportunity that I feel is mostly wasted, saved only by sheer force of talent on Gristís part (heís a damned fine penciller, I must say). In any event, Iíll buy again in two months, hoping that the book contains some modicum of actual story material and that that story makes a bit more sense to me.

Final Score: 3/5

 

 
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