- Posted by Johanna on May 20, 2006 at 12:08 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- CREDITS: by Paul Grist
- PUBLISHER: Image Comics; $15.95 US
Soldiers collects the first five issues of the second Jack Staff run, when it went from self-publishing (Grist’s Dancing Elephant Press) to being released by Image Comics in color (provided by the talented Phil Elliott).
It’s become a more traditional superhero comic in more ways than just publisher and presentation. The story is also simpler, with less subtle themes, more fights, and in my opinion, more incoherence. (Alternately, my lack of understanding of what exactly happened may also be due to my losing interest and reading the end of the book more quickly than I should have.)
The Hurricane, Hulk-like anger made flesh, has escaped from custody. His encounter with Jack Staff 20 years ago promises to shed some light on why the superhero disappeared for two decades. In the present day, normal people are having attacks of murderous rage. Since the Hurricane was a military experiment to create a super-soldier driven by anger, there’s likely some connection. There’s also an electric-powered supervillain complicating things.
Grist makes the point in the afterword that superheroes, especially red-, white-, and blue- costumed ones, need color, but I never thought of Jack Staff as a traditional superhero comic. (In my review of the previous collection, I praise the black-and-white art as best-suited to Grist’s style.) Along with the color seems to have come more direct punch-em-up stories, which I found a little disappointing.
This collection includes the covers from the 12 issues collected in the first book with brief author’s notes.
Grist has also illustrated Absent Friends, a graphic novella from Slave Labor collecting short stories written by Phil Elliott, and St. Swithin’s Day, a story written by Grant Morrison about a disaffected English teen in the mid-80s who wants to assassinate the prime minister.