In Review: Escape From New York #1

This book would convince someone to never watch the film. A franchise killer. So disappointing.

The covers: Eight covers are mentioned on the inside cover of the book. The A is by Declan Shalvey with colors by Jordie Bellaire. It shows Snake walking out of New Work, his back to the reader, surrounded by skyscrapers and street debris. Helicopters fly away from his fury, even though his leg is leaving a pool of blood in its wake. Good image, even though Snake isn’t clearly shown because it captures the mood of the movie flawlessly. The B is from Tim Bradstreet and it is the one I had to have. A gorgeous Snake with his guns drawn, against a red backdrop of a cityscape, barbed wire, and the Statue of Liberty. A gigantic snake is behind him in a cloud of destruction. I grabbed this cover quickly. Riley Rossmo did the C cover and it’s an outstanding image in red, white, and black. Snake stands as a giant among the city, below and above, which creates a skull with a gaping maw. I don’t know Rossmo’s work, but this image left a major impression on me. The D comes courtesy of Jay Shaw. It’s the Statue of Liberty behind bars, with an odd logo for the film’s title below, Snake provides the outline for the letter A in Escape. Good idea, but it left me indifferent. The E is a super close-up of Snake’s stomach tattoo. You read that correctly, Alice X. Zhang decided to do his tat. And it looks completely rushed, like it was knocked out in an hour. Not good. There’s also a Larry’s Comics Exclusive cover and Exclusive Sketch cover, plus a BOOM! Studios Exclusive, but I couldn’t find images of them online. Overall grades: A B+, B A+, C A, D D, and E F

The story: The first page of this book is the ending of the film: the President plays the wrong tape, while Snake Plissken destroys the one that could have kept the United States from entering WWIII. Realizing he looks like a fool, the President orders the capture of Snake, revoking his pardon. Snake grabs a jeep, eventually moving up to a helicopter to evade capture. He gets away, not easily, and is soon picked up by an RV of four hoods looking to get Florida. Christopher Sebela’s tale deals with Snake’s attempt to stay out of Florida, but getting sucked into going there. There’s a justifiable reason why he has to go to there, but once in Florida the reality of the movie became comic clichés. The two characters shown at the end are so far from the field of possibility that it was insulting. This was disappointing, and ultimately awful. The final five pages of story had me questioning a return for the second issue. Overall grade: D

The art: This was dreadful. This looks like a comic book, undermining the harsh nature of the movie. Diego Barreto would be a good choice with other subject matter, but not this. Snake is clearly shown for the first time on Page 4. He looks nothing like Kurt Russell. Worse, he looks nothing like Snake Plissken: I can’t believe that’s the same character from panel four to panel five on Page 9. The construction of Barreto’s pages is good; he knows how to set out a page. His panel construction is sound; what needs to be in each panel is good. It’s the actual artwork that completely underwhelms. The visuals might have been better if the art was in black and white because the coloring only highlights how sketchy things are.  Look at the backgrounds on page 6, 8, 16, etc. His vehicles are really sketchy. Page 19 is awful to the extreme. I don’t know how that third panel can be justified. I’m stunned that BOOM! Studios approved this art. Overall grade: D-

The colors: This is a dully colored book from Marissa Louise. Some brighter colors might have made this exciting, but the entire book is drained of vividness: greys, pale blues, muted oranges, washed out flesh tones, and ultra pale mustards make this dreary. Only the reds of an alarm are bright on two pages and it’s an odd juxtaposition to the rest of the colors on that page. I felt my life draining with these shades. Only in the final panel of the book has the sun come out in Florida, but that was pretty rapid when compared to the rest of the page. Overall grade: D-

The letters: The only contributor who was bringing their A-game was Ed Dukeshire. He creates dialogue, sounds, and time transitions. The sounds look great and made the action that was supposed to be occurring somewhat better. Overall grade: A

The final line: I was on fire for this book, given the excellent way BOOM! Studios has brought Big Trouble In Little China to comics, but this snuffed out any joy that could be had. A silly “comic book” plot, the wrong artist, and the wrong colorist. This book would convince someone to never watch the film. A franchise killer. So disappointing. Overall grade: D

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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