Synopsis: A group of marine researchers have begun to study great white sharks off the coast of Somalia. It is there that they hope to revolutionize what humans know about these predators. Yet when the crew is taken hostage by Somali pirates, their lives are placed in jeopardy. Unfortunately, the pirates aren’t the only thing to fear on the waters.
Review: As an American, I have never been very familiar with classic British comics, so I jumped at the chance to review this book. From what I have been able to glean, it is a part of the British comics zeitgeist of the 70’s. This makes sense because Hook Jaw #1 seems like an updated story from a time gone by. There is a retro vibe that reverberates through the pages. The scientists are caricatures of themselves, and it is hilarious. The head researcher uses language so foul that it would make sailors blush. The Somali pirates are depicted as intelligent people and not just desperate and uneducated people. It all works, but what works the most is the way they handle the titular character.
Hook Jaw looks terrifying. All of the sharks look terrifying. The way they are drawn, cloaked in darkness, adds to the anxiety that slowly builds during this issue. Artist Connor Boyle and colorist Giulia Brusco work incredibly well together. The sharks feel both lively and deadly. Si Spurrier crafts an eerie way into the sharks’ mind, and the overall issue benefits from this tactic. Their thoughts are simple yet complex; those thoughts give off a sense of primal power. Unnerving would be the accurate word because it preys on the fear that people have when it comes to sharks. Conversely, Hook Jaw #1 does a great job of giving the reader ancillary information about sharks to demystify the creatures. I find this admirable, and it does more for sharks then some other popular franchises have done (*cough, cough*).
At first read, Hook Jaw did not grab me. There was just something about it that didn’t ring true. On my second read through, I realized that the disconnect was on my part. A story about killer sharks isn’t supposed to be authentic, and once I came to that conclusion, the story really began to shine with me. Hook Jaw isn’t for everyone, but, for those who want a different kind of story, it is a tale you can sink your teeth into. ( I would like to take this final moment to apologize for the pun. It was bad, and I am only slightly ashamed.)