Tony Black reviews Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #1…
It’s the mother of all crossovers as Jack Burton and Snake Plissken meet for the first time ever anywhere! Done with director John Carpenter’s complete blessing, witness this melee of the mullets as two cult-classic characters made famous by actor Kurt Russell crossover in an improbable adventure. As lightning cascades around Jack and his good ol’ Pork-Chop Express, he finds himself transported and driving through the horrors of what seems to be the dystopian future of…Escape from New York?! Snake Plissken catches wind of Jack and goes on the hunt to find who is trying to steal his identity. Prepare for the road trip of a lifetime, with Jack and Snake rumblin’ down the streets of a dystopian future to find what craziness caused Jack to jump through worlds.
Now this was fun! As a huge fan of Big Trouble in Little China, the thought of not just a comic continuing the story but one crossing over with one of John Carpenter’s other great 80’s movies, Escape from New York, sounded like manna from cheesy action movie heaven. Carpenter is a sorely underrated filmmaker at the best of time but with Kurt Russell, he created two terrific leading men in very different ways – the eye-patch wearing, grizzled, badass mercenary Snake Plissken in his 1981 classic Escape from New York (and Escape from LA, but let’s not talk about that), and reluctant truck driver Jack Burton in 1986’s Big Trouble in Little China.
It’s with ‘ol Jack we start, singing & driving his truck through Texas, barking his unique soliloquies through his truck radio receiver, while the spirit of his Chinese sorceror nemesis David Lo Pan swears revenge–and next thing, related or not, Jack finds himself falling through a portal into the post-apocalyptic dystopia inhabited by Snake, swiftly mistaken for the legendary merc by a dead ringer for his old buddy Wang Chi, as they fend off marauders. Daniel Bayliss’ excellent artwork immediately blends a buoyant comic fusion of colour with the drained alt-future visuals of the recent Mad Max film to great effect, while writer Greg Pak has enormous fun bringing Jack & Snake together–both of whom of course look identical–and playing them off each other as he drips in a supernatural backbone to tie these unlikely heroes together.
By the ending, the course of these two has been firmly placed, with a mission to take care of which may explain why and how Jack is where he is – but forget about that! The plot is less important than seeing a really well written Jack in particular blagging his way again through adventure, and the tongue in cheek the whole comic very much has, knowing how silly the concept is. Strangely though, throwing Big Trouble in Little China & Escape from New York together already really works – it’s gonna be a fun ride.