The covers: Three possibilities to shake the heavens as you track them down. Series writer Eric Powell provides the A cover featuring a great illustration of Jack at the top, Wang to his right, with Egg and Pete to his left. The title is in the center of the page, and it’s being overwhelmed by the lightning coming from the recently resurrected Lightning, who is accompanied by Thunder and Rain. It’s absolutely beautiful. I love the look on the heroes’ faces and the energy coming out of Lightning. This is the cover I had to purchase. The B is by Joe Quinones. Jack and Egg are trying to speed away from a supernatural creature that follows them in shadow form. Jack is holding the three jars that contain the essences of the mighty spirits, but it looks as though they’ve already escaped, as they are wrecking havoc on some unseen victim. Cool layout and good coloring, though not enough of the bad guys for me. The final cover is the C by Evan Shaner. Our heroic trio are leaving a rooftop while trying to avoid hitting a string of Chinese lanterns. Pete looks like he’s having the time of his life, Egg looks unhappy, and Jack is losing hold of the clay jars. In the shadow of the building they’re leaping from is the bust of David Lo Pan. This looks really cool. I’d want this as a poster or print. Overall grades: A A, B B+, and C A+
The story: Jack, Egg, and Pete can’t get to the Porkchop Express because of three rejects from Planet of the Apes blocking their way. Two simians are quickly taken out by Pete, but one escapes on an odd goat-horse-ant with one of the jars they were sent to recover. Jack unloads his gun in typical Burton fashion, with Egg giving a great comment on his shooting. After some brief dialogue, they’re in hot pursuit. Eric Powell has written a fun chapter from a story he crafted with John Carpenter. The joke in the center of Page 7 was a funny way to end the sequence. I was very pleased to see what was happening back in Chinatown, since our heroes are going to have to return there at some point. I was ecstatic to see the return of the group on 10, because if they’re in this issue that would that mean that another group…The joke on 13 fell flat. Seemed completely out of place from the villain and it made him less threatening. The arrival on 18 was as spectacular as I had hoped for, but the sequence on 19 and 20 lessened it. That moment in the book has become overkill addressing that part of the character’s past. Granted, it’s got a vastly different tone from the previous three issues, but I’m done with this plot device. The final page, though, grandly made up for the minor speed bumps in the story. That’s what I’ve been waiting for! Bring it on! Overall grade: A-
The art: Brian Churilla continues to do a slick job on this book. His style is cartoonish, but when things go supernatural freaky, of which there are several moments, the style looks very serious. This is apparent in the opening sequence with the ape antagonists. They’re comical, as intended by their dialogue, but when one escapes on that hybrid steed, it’s just bizarre. Pete still makes me smile with his constantly gaping maw and Egg’s eyes and Jack’s squint give me so much joy–it’s like a visit from an old friend. The action sequence looks good and I’m hoping there’s more of it next issue. 18 was my favorite because of the characters involved. That page is tee shirt worthy. I wasn’t thrilled with the flashback sequence. Churilla does what he can, but since this is the most serious two pages of the series so far, it’s not working. Thankfully, the story I want reappears for the final two pages and it’s great. I’m on fire to see what Churilla has to draw next month. Overall grade: A
The colors: Great coloring throughout this issue from Michael Garland. I’ll admit to being a bit fearful on the first page of what the colors would be like, as it’s fairly dim. It’s supposed to be like this because the heroes are in a dim and dark place, but my fears left me on Page 2 when the action kicks in. Panels go bright as punches are thrown and skulls are grasped (trust me on this one). I like the coloring on the lettering as well, especially when Jack’s gun comes into play. My favorite page was 18. Just beautiful. Overall grade: A
The letters: Dialogue, screams, sounds, scene settings, and some terrific tiny spell casting comes from Ed Dukeshire. The sounds are fast and furious as befitting the action, and the last bit of dialogue in the issue is the perfect font. Overall grade: A
The final line: The build up is over. All the cards are finally on the table. Time for it to get nuts. Overall grade: A
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.