Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review - Jack Kraken One-Shot


"If I had my way, I wouldn't be flipping out in a dark, abandoned prison. I'd be at home, in my boxers, sippin' tea. The 'sleepytime' kind. Yeah."

If the day ever comes when agencies like the FBI, CIA and NSA can't handle an enemy thrown their way, hopefully another agency will step up and fill the void. The thing is, that new opponent might be of the supernatural/monster/undead variety, which may require a different type of group. And a different type of hero, like Jack Kraken in Jack Kraken One-Shot from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Tim Seeley, illustrated by Seeley, Ross Campbell and Jim Terry, colored by Carlos Badilla and lettered by Crank!.

Jack Kraken is a man with a penchant for two things: clandestine infiltration missions and having a good time while on them. In Jack Kraken One-Shot, he's placed in three different missions courtesy of three different stories--"Race Relations," "The Ballad of Liadain Orlaith" and "Who is Jack Kraken?"--that provide varied situations for him to show off his talents. The first puts him in a haunted hospital looking for someone, the second trying to prevent a centuries old baby-snatcher and the third against a relic of a different era fighting for survival. All three provide more detail on who Jack Kraken is: a rather fun-loving, trigger-happy agent for the Humanoid Interaction Management (H.I.M.) agency.

Two of the three stories have been previously published, while the third was created specifically for Jack Kraken One-Shot. All three taken together provide a pretty solid understanding of what makes Jack Kraken tick and Seeley has infused him with a lot of cool. There will inevitably be Deadpool comparisons (even their looks are similar), but Jack Kraken seems to be something of a hybrid between the aforementioned Merc with a Mouth and Hellboy. Both characters handle themselves exceedingly well, face all manner of opponent and bring a rather unique perspective to their daily routines. Seeley's dialogue is especially sharp, providing some great insights into what makes Jack Kraken tick; this shines especially well in his conversations with Agent Welles.

Considering Jack Kraken One-Shot has three different artists, there really isn't much of a difference across the three stories. Each artist handles their story very well and provides a very consistent look throughout the entirety of the book. Jack Kraken is illustrated as muscular and lithe, visually more than competent enough to handle any mission he's sent on. He sports rather unique arms that stay hidden until he needs them and the art team does a fantastic job making him look regular when he needs to. There are some pretty good action shots throughout the book as well that underscore the line of work Jack Kraken is in, pitting him against some pretty interesting looking opponents.

Jack Kraken One-Shot is a really fun book to read. It doesn't take itself too seriously and recognizes that the book doesn't have to rely on its title character to carry the load all the time. Sure, Jack Kraken gets most of the attention, but the world around him created by Seeley goes a long way to inviting the reader in and demonstrates clever world-building. The use of three stories give the reader three perspectives on the character and manages to offer a rather complete picture of what to expect from him. Varied art styles feel uniform enough that there are no really jarring transitions from one story to the next as well, with a myriad of different monsters thrown in for good measure. Jack Kraken One-Shot is a book that is pretty enjoyable and doesn't expect the reader to invest too much thought in reading it, but the opportunity is there with a character like Jack Kraken to get really pensive if you want to.

Jack Kraken One-Shot is in stores now with interiors below.






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