REVIEW: JACK HAMMER – BOOK ONE – POLITICAL SCIENCE / AUTHOR: BRANDON BARROWS / ARTIST: IONIC / PUBLISHER: ACTION ART ENTERTAINMENT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
It’s always a pleasure to see new indie talent rising up through the ranks of comic book entertainment. Political Science (issued in a limited edition print run of only 500, each signed and numbered by the creators) is not a superhero epic and surprisingly, it’s not an origin story in the traditional sense– what backstory needs to be told is related briskly as the narrative unfolds. The backdrop and the supporting characters are there to be accepted, not explained in minute detail.
Jack McGriskin is a tough-talking, no-prisoner-taking, quick-fisted private detective with a class four superhuman activities licence who has been hired to find Eddie Newman, a missing person. When Newman turns up dead in an alley, with a very large hole through his midsection, McGriskin’s case takes on a new dimension – one that puts him on the trail of a super-powered killer called The Black Smile. The trail will take a treacherous route from the seedy back alleys of Boston to Congress itself.
It’s certainly a rapid-fire page turner, with the speed of the sharp dialogue matching the machine gun pace of the story, as it unfolds in four parts. I certainly enjoyed the subtle nods to icons of the comics industry such as a reference to a Senator Stan Goodman (Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee and publisher Martin Goodman). As a debut graphic novel, it’s very impressive and bodes well for the futures of Barrows and Ionic – not to mention leaving the audience hungry for some more exploits of McGriskin.