Tony Black reviews Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #2…
Forced to share the wheel, Jack Burton and Snake Plissken must make the best of their unwanted companionship on the dystopian road trip of a lifetime. The mystery behind their meeting is revealed, with the return of some old enemies, and the unearthing of a world shattering threat.
Every time you think this crossover event between Big Trouble in Little China & Escape From New York can’t get any stranger or weirder, writer Greg Pak pulls out another surprise as Boom! continue delivering their most unlikely of universal pairings in Jack Burton, cocky truck driver in the wrong place & wrong time from 1987, alongside his identical alternate universe equivalent Snake Plissken, in an alternate 2001 where marauders cover the land and what’s left of the United States is a lawless world. Pak infuses this issue with enough one-liners, squabbles and rebukes to fill Jack’s truck and it makes everything continue to race along, even when it’s all enormously ludicrous.
To be fair, it knows how anarchic and ridiculous it is, and that’s to its credit; it’s like Mad Max pumped up on steroids with lots of colour, as Daniel Bayliss’ florid and bright panels suggest, with Jack & Snake being plunged along on their mission to save rock & roll blues star Blind Apple Mary, key to an ancient magical scroll which may have brought Jack into the melee. Forget the plot though as it’s not that important, it’s just a hook for Pak to write lots of sparky repartee between the louche, arrogant Jack and the humorless, angry Snake, who inevitably get on like a house on fire (if the house is burning to the ground!).
The dialogue and panels are pulpy, neo-violent and over the top in all the right kind of ways, tapping into the grim dystopia of John Carpenter’s dark future alongside the 80’s magic of his Chinatown adventure. Sometimes it feels more New York than Little China, but there are plenty of continued nods to both, and with the great David Lo Pan still in the ethereal picture, you can be sure both sides of the crossover are likely to balance more in future.
At the end of the day, this Big Trouble in Little China meets Escape From New York crossover isn’t one to consider too seriously; it’s fun, it’s loud, its brash and it’s completely and utterly mad, and that’s precisely the point. Greg Pak’s comic so far has been like travelling back to the 80’s and watching one of its gloriously silly high concept films come to life again and for that, this event series deserves lots of attention. It also has the promise to get even better as time goes on.