Back in the 1970’s when the best thing you wished for was appearing on Jim’ll Fix It, the comic Action provided gory, violent thrills, which for kids, actually grasped what young boys in the 1970’s wanted. Fast forward to 2016 and the worst thing that could have happened to you as a young boy was appearing on Jim’ll Fix It, but thanks to Titan Comics we can relive some of Action’s gory, violent thrills and happier memories of that decade with Si Spurrier and Connor Boyle’s Hook Jaw #1.
Set off the coast of Somalia, Hook Jaw sets up a group of scientists researching sharks who, in the course of their studies, are hijacked by Somalian pirates, before being rescued by a group of American Navy SEALS who serve as the starter course on the menu of people who’ll be horribly eaten by Hook Jaw. Spurrier doesn’t over-think the plot as, quite frankly, the point of this is to see humans of all shapes, sizes, colours, ages and races being turned into stewing steak.
One of the joys of Hook Jaw back in the days of Spangles and Slade, was that creator Pat Mills sneaked in social commentary amongst the blood-red water, and Spurrier does the same, albeit with a larger dose of comedy, and indeed satire as the pirates and SEALS are essentially 2-D cut-outs designed to hate, laugh at or be shark food. This first issue does take its time getting to the point compared to the 4-6 page stories which used to be in Action, which means the pacing is somewhat slower but this does mean Spurrier gets to build up a bit of tension, as well as a fairly large cast who’ll be no doubt whittled down to a handful by the end of this mini-series.
Hook Jaw is a treat for old fans, as well as being accessible for new readers probably attracted to this comic thanks to Spurrier’s work on Avatar’s extremely gory horror comic Crossed. This isn’t as good as his work on that unhinged title, especially Crossed +100 (chosen by Alan Moore as his replacement) but Hook Jaw is a good, solid read with some fine art by Boyle. The issue is rounded out with a history of Action and some factoids about sharks done in the style Titan do their text pieces, so do yourself a favour and check Hook Jaw out.