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Our hero might be older, but he’s certainly not wiser.
Writers: John Carpenter & Anthony Burch
Artist: Jorge Corona
Colorist: Gabriel Cassata
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Jack Burton might be a lumbering idiot in many ways, but he has dedicated enough time and energy to saving the world to earn a sweet retirement in the sun. In Old Man Jack, the latest Big Trouble in Little China story from John Carpenter and Anthony Burch, alongside artist Jorge Corona, that’s exactly what our hero plans to do. The year is 2020 and our hero has relocated to Palatka, Florida to enjoy the finest food, beverages, and literature in peace. He also seems to be isolated and surrounded by a wall of flames, but anyone who’s been to Florida beyond Disneyland knows that’s what it’s really like anyway.
Unfortunately, for guys like Jack Burton, peace never lasts long. You know it’s only a matter of time before he’s called back into action. When he discovers that Hell is literally on Earth, the overconfident truck driver is forced to hop back in the Pork-Chop Express and take the fight to Ching Dai, a demon that Jack unwittingly unleashed. The big evil got fed up of his minions’ inability to usher in a new age of darkness and decided to get the job done himself. Now it’s up to our old buddy, motivated by the find a damsel in distress, to track down his old pals to survive the end of the world. What could go wrong?
Like Boom! Studio’s previous Big Trouble releases, Old Man Jack is very entertaining. Carpenter and Burch have put together a humorous script and adventure-packed story that hits all the notes and tones you expect from the Big Trouble in Little China universe. Packed with one-liners, laughs, and fast-moving action, the spirit of the movie and its subsequent forays into other media is bound to please fans. Burton still retains the confidence of a world-beater but the grace of a bull in a china shop, which is what we know and love this character for.
Old Man Jack also works as a standalone story. You don’t have to be familiar with what’s happened before to appreciate this story,so fret not if you aren’t caught up on the post-movie adventures of Jack, Wang Chi, and Lo Pan. Without going into spoiler territory, let’s just say that their relationships have changed somewhat since their original outing. At its heart, Big Trouble in Little China was a friendship comedy that was full of heart as well as supernatural hocus pocus and martial arts. Old Man Jack, on the other hand, is a story of redemption and one 60-year-old man’s quest to come of age since his stupidity led to the situation they’re in and whatnot.
The artwork is also very impressive. Corona and Cassata’s panels are colorful and vibrant and perfectly complement the slapstick fanaticism of the story. The illustrations are intentionally loose and goofy, but they boast plenty of charm and make for some laugh-out-loud visual gags. While the art does an excellent job at making this feel like a Big Trouble In Little China story, the talent involved has applied their own unique touch to add some distinct flavor of their own.
All in all, this is just a fun and energetic story that makes for a perfect swansong for our heroes should this be their final outing. I really hope that it isn’t, but as far as “old man” tales go this is very befitting of the legacy it has to live up to. That’s not to say that Old Man Jack is a classic by any means, but it does its source material proud all the same and fans of the movie — and comics — will have fun catching up with some old friends and enemies.