In Review: Jeepers Creepers #4

This is enjoyable, to be sure, but this is not the strongest issue.

The covers: A quintet of covers to find for this penultimate issue. The A cover is by Stuart Sayger and he’s created a bust shot of the creature from its right side. It lets loose a yell that causes its face appendages to open. The Creeper holds an ax in its right hand as it beckons to its prey with a digit on its left. The face is excellent and the color makes the character look deliciously unsavory. The B cover from Kewber Baal and Schimerys Baal shows what really wiped out the colony of Roanoke! A screaming colonist is backed against a tree and his clothes are splattered with blood. On the tree above him is carved the word Croatoan and the shadow that falls over it is the Creeper’s. Great idea for a cover carried out handsomely with excellent art and strong colors. Very clever! The C is a nightmare brought to life by Kelley Jones and Michelle Madsen. The Creeper, his face appendages spread wide as he roars, spies the reader through some broken boards. The character’s arms are elongated, making him extra grotesque. The boards in the foreground and background are a simple yet hostile setting. The colors are slick with the blue character highlighted by the red backgrounds. The Virgin Variant from Stuart Sayger is the same as the A cover, just without any text. Very nice. There’s also a B&W Variant version of Jones’s cover without any of Madsen’s contributions. I really like this, but I do prefer it more with Madsen’s work. Overall grades: A A, B A+, C A+, Virgin Variant A, and B&W Variant A 

The story: A flashback begins this issue. Devon is a child playing with his plastic men in a sandbox. He has green army men, a few yellow dinosaurs, and an ominous looking gray figure he pretends is flying and attacking the others. He muses, “I so wanted them to be real…’Be careful what you wish for’ and all that.” A turn of the page moves to the present where the young hero is holding a spear to attack the Creeper who’s leaping at him. The pair are within a cave and there are several fires around them. The protagonist is able to use his weapon to pierce the creature’s chest, yet the beast is able to smack the human aside. Devon falls down a mine shaft, leaving the Creeper to try and free himself from the weapon. Where the pair are and how they got there can only be assumed by the reader based on the previous issue, since this is never explained. This comes as a jarring transition from Marc Andreyko. Once past this, the issue goes into a flashback to 1962 that comprises eight pages. These pages give backstory to where the characters are sparring. This is a neat little story, but seems oddly placed and doesn’t really add to the threat in the present, unless there’s some sort of payoff next issue. The story seems strangely constructed and awkward. Overall grade: C+

The art: The visuals continue to impress from Kewber Baal. The first page is a great piece of Americana showing Little Devon in a sandbox. The delight on his face in the second panel is great. If one isn’t paying attention, one might miss the design of the character he’s holding. Pages 2 and 3 is a double-paged spread showing the leads in combat. Both look strong; in fact, I was surprised to see Devon taking any offensive against the Creeper given how fearful he’s been in the previous trio of issues. The flames in the illustration create a very primarl feel to the combatants. The action in the single panel on the fourth page is great and I love the panel that immediately follows it. The progression of Devon on Page 5 is excellent — very cinematic. I was a little confused by the setting in the fifth and sixth panels on 6 since I see no previous action that would lead to this occurring. Devon’s exit on 7 and 8 is smartly done. The reveal on 11 is good with knowing readers well aware of what’s happened and what soon will: solid visual dramatic irony. The reveal on 12 is even better, leading to the expected, though outstanding, action. There’s a great first panel on 14 that I can’t reveal. The full-paged splash on 16 is fine, but the colors in the background are too similar to the character in the foreground, mudding up the image. Much better is the full-paged splash for the final page. It’s exciting and a solid cliffhanger. Overall grade: A-

The colors: The opening page features terrific bright colors one would expect to see around children. This makes the turn of a page have a greater impact with the dark colors of the cave, the characters, and the unearthly orange flames. Jorge Sutil also does a smashing job with the sounds, with three very different colors used on three of them on Page 4. Devon stands out in the cave due to his blue clothes. The flashback is a first for me: the colors aren’t tinted orange or bronze to age them as done in most modern comics. They’re fine, but I admit to forgetting I was looking at a story from over fifty years ago. I’ve mentioned in the art review how Page 16 looks muddied; it could have been saved by muting the background colors. I like how the item Devon holds on 18 is brightly colored to draw attention. The transition of background colors on 19 from blue, to pink, to harsh orange to increase the tension. Overall grade: B+

The letters: Taylor Esposito is responsible for this issue’s text: narration, yells, sounds, signage, and maniacal whispers. There’s no Creeper speech this issue, but there doesn’t need to be. I always applaud letterers who differentiate narration and dialogue, so kudos, Mr. Esposito. The sounds are stupendous for all the carnage filled scenes, including TCHOK, SCHUK, and the roar on 6. Overall grade: A

The final line: This story is a little clumsy initially, with a long flashback in the middle of the issue. The visuals are fine, though there are a few odd moments. This is enjoyable, to be sure, and I’ll be back for the conclusion, but this is not the strongest issue. 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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