Review: Where is Jake Ellis? #1 (of 5)A comic review article by: Jamil Scalese
With a fresh new title and the same old creative team, the saga of Jon Moore and Jake Ellis continues with another strong issue. Where is Jake Ellis? is the sixth chapter of the story started in Who is Jake Ellis? and the events in this issue take place a nearly a year after its predecessor's end.
For those who need to be caught up, Who is Jake Ellis? centered on former CIA analyst Jon Moore eluding a mysterious science-based organization across Europe and abroad. Moore is highly adept at the techniques of espionage, and constantly stays one step ahead of his pursuers. His secret is simple, but haunting -- a ghostly Sherpa named Jake Ellis directs the fugitive, telling him where to run, when to hide, what to eat and how to live. For years Moore believed Jake to be a hallucination of his crazed mind, but when the shadowy figure no one can see starts to have memories of a former life the two break into the facility that bore them. There they discover Jake's corporeal body, and escape before parting ways.
The comic opens with Jon Moore in Bangkok lying low and preparing for an ambush. Simultaneously, Jake Ellis, the person, is held by a perplexed and inquisitive American military. After this reestablishment the comic is stocked with tense action and cool reveals, the type of which I won't spoil.
Nothing is intricate about this series. Nathan Edmondson's script serves an easy read, and outside of the central concept (based on remote viewing) the writer leans on tropes and clichés of the spy genre. I'm not knocking it, I like how sparse the Jake Ellis saga has been, it carries a certain tone. That said, the art is what buoys this book. Zonjic possesses a certain old school style, and utilizes thins lines and light rendering to create a distinctive look. The artist shines in his coloring, and especially the choice of pallet for this series. Typically, espionage can carry a noir tone, but the creative team chose to accompany the tight art with bright, neon shades, and often times Zonjic "bathes" the panels with a single color to create a particular effect. Tonci Zonjic has no problem with action either, even in the slightly minimalist style. It's a truly distinct series, both in story and art.
Who worked because it looked beautiful and the plot took its time. Where will need to advance the plot and concept to make this portion of the series a success. The mystery of Jake Ellis and his former state advances in a few enlightening scenes revealing more about the connection of the two mains and how they got that way. One my main critiques of the previous series dealt with character depth, and a lack of second level, particularly for Jon Moore who felt a little like a puppet. I believe that next layer is revealing itself, but there's a lot of room for improvement in the area.
Where is Jake Ellis? #1 utilizes the momentum from a crafty idea and the first part of the second arc is executed well in terms of collaboration. It's not a page turner, it's a page absorber; a comic book I find myself staring at, getting lost in art and concept. A righteous start to the sequel, and fun series overall.
Jamil Scalese is just like you -- an avid comics reader and lover of sequential art. Residing in Pittsburgh, PA, he is an unapologetic Deadpool fan, devotee of the Food Network and proud member of Steelers Nation. Check out his original, ongoing webcomic And Then There Were Zombies and follow his subpar tweeting at @jamilscalese.