"Big Trouble in Little China #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by BOOM! Studios
Written by Eric Powell
Illustrated by Brian Churilla
2014, 24 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 4th, 2014
It has been some time since I last visited with Jack Burton and the Pork-Chop Express, but it was a welcome return seeing it in comic book form. BOOM! Studios has picked up where Big Trouble in Little China left off with a funny book plotted by John Carpenter and Eric Powell. The first issue starts with Burton back on the road only to find a big hairy demon hot on his trail. It turns out it was a servant of Lo Pan and since Burton killed him, the bond was transferred over, so now he's got his own pet demon. It's like a demented version of Every Which Way But Loose.
Of course, nothing is easy for Burton. He tries to figure out a way to get rid of the demon, only to get attacked by a group of ninjas at his buddy's wedding. This brings up the maguffin that he'll have to chase down for the first arc of the book. It's a crazy plot, but it's one that is completely at home in an '80s movie.
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That's really the core of Big Trouble in Little China. Obviously it first debuted as a film in 1986, but that same look and feel is perfectly captured in this comic that is coming out almost thirty years later. Artist Brian Churilla nails the character of Burton, right down to his awful haircut and signature style. Burton's dialogue is a little cheesy, but is a great fit for the world first established by John Carpenter. He rolls into a two-page tangent about a previous marriage and how awful it was, while at a wedding.
The demon (which Burton names “Pete”) is my favorite part of the comic so far. It doesn't say anything, but it just looks like a party animal. It doesn't help that Burton dresses him in a trucker hat, spiked collar, and a t-shirt that reads “Buy Me a Drink and I'll Tell You I'm 18.” I'm waiting for it to get drunk with Burton because it has to happen sooner or later. The creature looks like a big, bloodthirsty orangutan, with big, spiky teeth. Pete would probably be at home with the kids from Weird Science, like an experiment gone wrong.
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There are a ton of variant covers for this issue from artists such as Terry Dodson, Frank Cho, and Adam Hughes. They all got Kurt Russell's likeness down pat. I'm trying to decide my favorite and right now it's a toss-up between Joe Eisma's cover featuring Burton leaning against his truck checking out a beautiful woman and Chris Weston's image that has Burton on the hood of the Pork-Chop Express with a huge dragon chasing him down. They're all pretty great though, so you can't go wrong with whatever you pick up.
Big Trouble in Little China jumps right into the action. I didn't think I wanted a sequel to the 1986 film, but after reading this issue, I realized that I was wrong. I want to see what other hijinks Jack Burton is going to get into and it looks like Carpenter and Powell are ready to deliver.
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