Current Reviews


Jack Staff #5

Posted: Tuesday, June 22, 2004
By: Kelvin Green

Writer/Artist: Paul Grist
Colours: Phil Elliot

Publisher: Image

The parallel narrative threads come together as we see how Jack defeated the Hulk-esque Hurricane all those years ago, and how that victory seems to have caused todayís problems. Itís a wonderfully neat little twist and also reveals exactly what one of Jackís powers is. Itís sort of like Gambitís kinetic thing, but not quite. We also get a better idea of what Mr Green (no relation) is up to, who his allies might be, and a hint as to what made Jack disappear for so long. And thereís more, so much more. In fact, itís quite surprising to see how much is going on, which none of it slowing the story up. This is a perfect example of how to wrap a storyline up in a satisfying way, while still providing hooks for future stories. This is truly masterful writing, structurally at least far more impressive than the work of the Gaimans and Morrisons of our world. Jack Staff may not be a flashy comic, but it is the paragon of solid structural writing. Thereís no waste, no loose ends. This is really good writing.

The art too is superb. Again eschewing flashy special effects for solid storytelling, Grist does a great job on art. When he does use a special effect, it serves the narrative rather than being a bit of useless fluff. Phil Elliot reinforces this feeling of solidity and simplicity with a flat colouring style that is nonetheless far more pleasing to the eye than the digital pyrotechnics seen elsewhere. Great stuff.

Donít buy this issue. Buy the previous four Image issues, the twelve Dancing Elephant Press issues (handily available as a chunky Image tpb) before that, and then buy this one. Jack Staff is a truly superb comic that shows how things should be done, and you owe it to yourself to read the whole lot.

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