In Review: Escape From New York #3

I don't know if I'll be continuing with this book. I wanted this to be fun, and it hasn't been.

The covers: A pair to find. The Main cover is by Declan Shalvey with colors by Jordie Bellaire. It’s a profile of Snake’s head, colored in red. The strands of his hair and the blood on his face are in orange. It’s a neat concept for a cover that’s carried out very well. It’s subtle, but sets the tone of this book instantly. Nicely done. The Variant cover is by Chris Visions. This shows Snake running with guns in both hands, against a silhouette of a cobra, and within that are soldiers and jets. This, too, is a good cover. It shows the lead clearly, and hints at the impending war that this storyline is leading to. Again, nicely done. Overall grades: Both A

The story: This issue begins with Snake captured by the twins’ men and the swamp people that assisted him briefly in the previous issue being mowed down. The book then quickly transitions to Snake training the men that the twins want to use to invade the rest of the United States. You can bet that he’s not going to be an easy teacher on these men. He bonds with liaison Curtis, who also wears a neck bomb–if Snake misbehaves the collar around his neck explodes, thus insuring loyalty to the twins. Their conversation is cut short by an appearance by the twins who have more plans for Mr. Plisskin. The twins and their mother are still an overly cartoony contribution to Snake’s adventures. When they’re not in the story, this is fairly fun, and that’s not good when they’re the antagonists of this saga. The addition of Curtis by Christopher Sebela is a wise contribution, because Snake has no one to speak with to move the story forward. Page 12 was a very cool reveal and gave the protagonist an opportunity to show he’s not only a survivor, but he’s smart. There’s an awkward transition between panels three and four on Page 13–where did they find that and how did they get it going? Seems like there’s a scene missing. I completely believe Snake’s rationale for what he’s going to do on 14–that’s stongly in line with his character. There’s another missing moment between Pages 16 and 17. I had to stop for a few seconds to figure out what had happened that I wasn’t shown. I think that Sebela is too concerned with maintaining the action, rather than explaining how the action was able to occur. A mixed bag of a story. Overall grade: C+

The art: Adequate visuals by Diego Barreto. He knows how to compose a page and a panel, but I’m not getting the fine details in the art. For example, the first panel of the first page. Snake is a prisoner, walking through the swamp, with the bad guys on display. The grass that leads to the swamp is just a zigzag of a line, and the two characters’ faces that are shown are simple drawings that suggest a face. The characters that comprise the nameless army have their faces shaded black, so no drawing needs to occur. This is not good. This happens again in the fourth panel as the group that helped him is shot en masse are just outlines. When Snake is knocked out, look at the suggestions of faces on the two villains. This happens too, too often. In close-up, Snake looks good, but when his–or any characters’–torso or more is shown, the art slides to suggestion. The art really slides on Page 18; even the backgrounds are sketches. This is simply undefined art. I wanted better for this series. I expected better. Overall grade: D+

The colors: In this category the comic excels. Marissa Louise does exceptionally in bringing depth to the art by doing excellent shading on characters’ faces and flesh, as shown on Snake throughout. Her coloring brings the settings to life: the murky sunset of the swamps, the blasé desert colors, the garish cliché colors of a Florida mansion, and the dark nights of an army barracks. Louise is more than earning her pay on this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, sounds, television broadcasts, and dialogue are created by Ed Dukeshire for this book. The sounds sells a lot of the action of this book, and the final two pages have him going wonderfully over the top for what’s going on. Overall grade: A

The final line: I don’t know if I’ll be continuing with this book. The story isn’t great and the art varies from average to poor. I wanted this to be fun, and it hasn’t been. It’s only my love of the movies that has me continuing, but I think that love may have ended. Overall grade: C

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five 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.
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