Writer/Artist: Paul Grist
Well, this took long enough coming out. Apparently itís a distributor fault, as theyíve been sitting on the book for a number of weeks for some reason (with all the spooky bits in this issue, perhaps they were waiting for Halloween?). Itís here now though, and as ever, itís a great read. This issue is all about mysteries. Again, weíre sent to the past to see Jack Staff in action, this time in 1942, while more spooky goings-on occur in the present day. As usual, itís going to be a delight to see how Grist pulls all these threads together into his usual clever finale.
Jack Staff himself is moved to the background a bit more this issue, with some of the lesser characters getting a chance at the spotlight. The sequences involving Bramble and Son, the vampire hunters, were particularly well done, although theyíre such a wonderfully clever concept that itíd be hard to go wrong with them.
The art is as good as the writing, with Grist again putting his peers to shame with his mastery of storytelling techniques. The ďQĒ sequence is one good example of this, and the 1942 sequence is another, more subtle display of skill. Phil Elliottís colouring impresses more and more with each issue, and this is a particularly good job. The colours are simple, yet bold and vivid, and while Gristís art looks great in black and white, it looks spectacular in colour. For some reason, I particularly liked the work done on Jack Staffís wartime ally Blazing Glory, who really looks good in colour. Great stuff.
Topping it all off is a free gift! Keeping up the traditions of the British comics he uses as inspiration for the series, Grist uses the centre pages of the comic to give the reader the first installments of his Jack Staff card game, based around the Top Trumps concept. It ís silly, extraneous fluff, but itís another good example of the sense of fun that Grist has instilled in this book, and I thoroughly look forward to playing it! This free gift is actually an improvement over its inspiration, as I always remember the old posters and cut outs being printed on the back pages, whereas these cards are printed on the easily-removable inside pages. If you just canít overcome your comics collectorís instinct though, Iím sure you could just photocopy themÖ
This is another excellent issue of an excellent comic book. If the British setting and unconventional (for US comics) art style have put you off in the past, then let that stop immediately. This is one of the best superhero comics available today.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!