Review: Jack Hammer: Political Science #2 (of 4)
Creator/Writer: Brandon Barrows
Artist/Character Designs/Cover: Ionic
Letterer/Text Layouts/Logo: Gonzogoose Design’s Brant W. Fowler
Publisher: Reasonably Priced Comics
Release Date: February 9th, 2011
If you like your detectives wearing spandex and capes, this book is not for you. However, if you like your gumshoe a little on the seedy side and ever wondered what Ol’ Bogey would’ve thought of the Superhero Registration Act, have I got a read for you!
Into its second issue, author -- and Cosmic Book News’ own reviewer -- Brandon Barrows in JACK HAMMER introduces us to a world wherein there is always that little touch of the unknown around every dark Bostonalley, behind every two-bit hotel door. The Rod Serling feel permeates the pages of the work, while in the back of your mind you keep thinking to your comic book-reading self about the detective called McGriskin: This dude used to be a super hero??!
Indeed he did, and as McGriskin, the former “Jack Hammer,” continues his investigation of a joe he only started out backgrounding, Eddie Newman, like the movie Shampoo a whole other undercurrent of political intrigue continues, this involving the superhuman population of this otherwise believable world.
McGriskin comes face to fang, so to speak, with that intrigue when a set-up from an informant leads him to a room full of super-villains intent on bringing Jack Hammer over to their side in the brewing controversy (think Marvel’s Civil War). Only this battle does not play out in the skyways of Manhattanor the high-tech factories of Tony Stark, but in the back alleys and bar rooms of Beantown.
And as the murder mystery of Newman, whom one suspects also of being a superhuman, deepens, McGriskin finds himself discovering more questions than answers in this investigation. He does have friends, this detective; especially entertaining is his love/hate relationship with Police Detective Charlie Martin. It is through their banter that Barrows delivers info surrounding the case or twists the plot this way and then that.
Very clever, very human.
Ionic’s art, especially his story-telling ability, works as a strength for this noir tale, this super-sleuthing in shadows. The mood of Barrows’ story owes a lot to the angular context and vivid colors laid down by the artist.
This issue even has one or two in-jokes about comic books which fanboys will enjoy.
I cannot say enough about this effort. I anxiously await Part 3.
Jack Hammer #2 can be procured online at www.reasonablypricedcomics.com/store.html.