In Review: Jeepers Creepers #2

Predictable at times, but entertaining.

The covers: Kelley Jones and Dee Cunniffe have created an outstanding A cover that shows the Creeper in close-up, his facial appendages spread wide to magnify his horrific visage as he leans in to bite the head of a victim he holds in his hands. The title character looks great, wearing his hat and brown coat, and his screaming prey is creepy, with her mouth wide open and her eyes rolling backwards. Look behind this gruesome pair to see several severed heads in the trees, hanging by their hair or tucked away into the branches. This is a perfectly ghastly cover that’s absolutely fitting for this book. The B is a spectacular cover that’s inspired by the classical Mayan calendar that’s replaced the center image with that of the Creeper. What a clever idea and it looks outstanding. This looks like a movie poster. Superior idea carried off sensationally by Dewber Baal and Schimery Baal. The Photo cover is a close-up of a sedate Creeper, played by Jonathan Breck, whose face is lit by light that barely reveals his gruesomeness. I love photo covers and I love this! There’s also a B/W Variant cover that features Kelley’s art from the A cover without the contributions of Cunniffe. I like this, but admit to liking the colored version just a tad better. Overall grades: A A+, B A+, Photocover A+, and B/W Variant A 

The story: College student Devon James is speeding to North Carolina. He has a conversation with friend Nina on the phone, but cuts it short because she was going to say, “You’re drawing conclusions that aren’t there. Similar myths cross cultures all the time.” He’s consumed by the reptile/dragon/whatever man that he discovered in Mexico. “I know I’m onto something. I know it. The real question is: do I want to find out what?” Writer Marc Andreyko has him arriving at a Cherokee Indian reservation at night. He’s not exactly welcomed by the locals outside a bar, with them treating him poorly, until he recognizes an Ukena tattoo on the bartender’s arm. He tells the man what his graduate thesis is, but he’s shut down. When he realizes he’s not going to get any help there, he goes back to his car and that’s when he encounters someone. This scene is interrupted by a two page sequence of what the Creeper is up to, and it’s delightfully creepy. The story then returns to Devon and his new friend and things do go where one expects, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. I liked what Devon saw and encountered, with the ending having the young man in a new location, though now followed by some very ominous creatures that foreshadow a familiar screen villain. Overall grade: B

The art: The visuals on this issue by Kewber Baal go from great to below average. The opening page is a good example of this with the first two panels looking good as Devon speeds along on the freeway, but the third panel has his car looking as though it’s gone airborne. Best is the one panel of Nina on campus and she looks great. The next panel has Devon suddenly in his mid-thirties. Page 2 is a step up with Devon back to his appropriate age and a fantastic image of his car making its way down the road with the grinning head of the Creeper haunting his progress. The next page has him enter the bar and its exteriors and interiors aren’t great. Even less well done are the locals. The bartender is okay, but too often his face is hidden by some shade. Devon does not look good in the bottom panels. Once outside, Devon looks good and the new character also looks solid. The two pages of the Creeper are really well done with 7 outstanding. I’m really looking forward to when the story allows Baal to illustrate more of the monster. With the story returning to Devon, Baal has the young man screaming a lot. No, seriously, a heck of a lot of screaming. Almost to the point of making me wonder if he’s a mouth breather. The best visuals of the issue begin on Page 13 and become really strong after this. I liked the double-paged splash of 14 and 15 the most due to the symbolism and stretching of certain characters. 16 and 17 are too literal, as are 18 and 19, though they clearly tell the reader what’s occurring. The last page foreshadows troubles ahead for Devon, with a great image in one of the new arrival’s eyes. There’s a lot to like in what Baal is doing, but there are just as many moments where the reader may have wished for a different illustrator. Overall grade: C

The colors: Jorge Sutil’s colors put the right punch into every panel. Notice how on the first page Devon is in fairly dark colors, but Nina is in a really bright locale, showing that she’s not consumed by the darkness of the Ukena. There’s a really cool electronic blue glow that closes out the first page. The orange of the setting sun on 2 carries over to the third page for the lights of the bar. The initially orange colors of the bar become bronze on Page 4. Outstanding oranges are used for the Creeper’s scenes. The bottom of Page 13 has Sutil really getting to cut loose with the colors and they are awesome. A sweet swirl of colors, often in violets and oranges colors the next four pages and they are perfection. The last panel of the book has some cool colors for a character’s eye to draw the reader’s attention to danger that’s soon to appear. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, a telephone conversation, narration, screams, sounds, Creeper speech, and yells for this issue are created by Taylor Esposito. I’m always happy when letterers employ different fonts for dialogue and narration, and Esposito does so here. The Creeper speaks a few words (or does he?) and they have a scary look that’s absolutely marvelous for him. There’s a lot of screaming and yelling from Devon in this issue and each outburst punctuates well the surprises he encounters. Sounds don’t appear too often in this issue, but when they do they look great. Overall grade: A  

The final line: This was predictable at times, but entertaining. The visuals waver between terrific and not so, but they ably tell the story and will keep readers turning pages. Four pages toward the book’s conclusion are extremely fun. I can’t help but feel that a stronger artist might have sent this installment into the stratosphere. Overall grade: B-

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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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