Wednesday, June 4, 2014
"Sister, challenge accepted."
Quantifying trouble usually just gets you in more trouble. Sometimes though, there are issues that are so big that you can't help but refer to them in that manner. And when those troubles are big and happen to be in Little China, well, then you've got a movie and comic book series on your hand. BOOM! Studios handles the comic side of things in Big Trouble in Little China #1, written by Eric Powell, illustrated by Brian Churilla, colored by Michael Garland and lettered by Ed Dukeshire.
Jack Burton is hopping on the Pork Chop Express and getting out of town. The thing is he's got a stowaway, who at first seems to be a big deal, but it turns out he's really the least of his problems. He helped his best friend Wang save his fiancée from the clutches of a demon, but now the wedding has been invaded by more evil forces with one thing on their minds—revenge against Jack Burton. In a world where the man seemingly can't get a break, Jack is forced back into action, fighting demons and sounding sarcastic while doing so.
If you've ever seen the movie Big Trouble in Little China, then you know that calling it weird is an understatement. There was a sense of zaniness coupled with freak show attraction pervasive throughout; something that Powell doesn't miss a beat with in the book. Jack Burton is just as quick-talking and brash as you remember him being, while the events that unfold around him feel believable enough for that universe. While the series ultimately seems to be headed in a direction similar to the movie where Jack squares off against new evils, familiar faces return and make the trip just as enjoyable. The odd couple pairing that Powell executes is pretty solid as well, with Jack's new friend an unlikely but capable companion.
While the film was a victim of filmmaking budgets in the 80s, the book isn't constrained nearly as much. Despite this, Churilla's work feels dated somewhat in a way that's something of a throwback to that era. There are some renderings of Jack that look exactly like Kurt Russell, but others feel a little daintier in terms of his body movements and stances. The evils included are sufficiently terrifying though, keeping the reader engaged and invested in the notion that this is really just a Tuesday in Jack's life. Backgrounds are replaced in many panels by an abundance of action lines that emphasize the high-flying combat. There are also quite a few panels where the character speaking just seems to be standing in front of a backdrop for the purpose of monologuing.
Big Trouble in Little China #1 will appeal to the exact same audience who enjoyed the movie, so much so that the storylines exist in sequence. Jack Burton is just as rowdy as you'd like him to be and the stakes are just as high as expected when evil demons are involved. Powell taps into the mythos very well and makes the book feel like an extension of the movie in terms of its tone. Churilla's art isn't bad as well, offering up everyone's favorite truck driver mixing it up with any type of trouble imaginable. The series looks to be headed in the direction of Jack squaring off against more and more evil, which is perfectly fine since that's what he loves doing most (even if he'd likely tell you otherwise).
Big Trouble in Little China #1 is in stores now with interiors below.