"Hookjaw #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Titan Comics
Written by Si Spurrier
Illustrated by Conor Boyle
Colored by Giulia Brusco
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on February 22nd, 2017
A group of researchers off the coast of Somalia have been having a rough time as of late. They were studying sharks in the area when they were attacked by pirates and then sort of rescued by the US military, but not before one of them was abducted by said pirates. It seems the military is interested in something deep underwater and they want to get it without getting eaten by sharks. To make matters worse, they just confirmed the existence of a nearby massive great white thought only to be an urban myth nicknamed Hookjaw. It's a big ass shark with a hook in its mouth. That's so metal.
While Hookjaw delivers on the tension you'd expect from a shark story, it's filled with characters that have little to no development. They're stereotypes. Jasper is the bleeding heart hippie. The CIA captain is practically a mindless killing machine, endlessly repeating the phrase “The beast must die.” Mag is the one exception to this. We get some insight into who she is and why she's out here in the middle of nowhere. She's tortured by nightmares of the water and being hunted by sharks. These pop up as brief glimpses here and there and help round her out as a character.
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This issue also finally puts some of these folks into the water to go face-to-face with Hookjaw. You know what's going to happen. They're not all going to make it out alive. Artist Conor Boyle presents these scenes with a sense of dread. There is literally nothing else around them as they dive deep into the depths. Colorist Giulia Brusco fills in this void with darkness. There's a small glimmer of light from flashlights, but that does not go far. The sharks could be anywhere around them and they wouldn't even know.
When Hookjaw does make an appearance, it's after someone has dropped their flashlight and opts for a flare instead. This coats the scene in a red hue which works perfectly. It amplifies the terror and somehow makes this monstrous fish even scarier. Rob Steen's letters stand out once again, providing thoughts from Hookjaw in a raw, jagged fashion.
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Boyle's depiction of Hookjaw is right out of a nightmare. It's incredibly huge, dwarfing anyone that dares come close to it. One eye is blinded, giving it a cold, dead stare. This is a merciless killer, defending its territory and ready to eat anything that gets in its way.
There are some well done twists and turns in this issue, as well as many questions left unanswered. I'm curious as to what exactly the military is looking for and how they're manipulating the researchers, pirates, and sharks to get it. There's a nice bit at the end that changes some of the perspective and creates more questions that are even more intriguing.
Hookjaw delivers the same level of tension you'd get from watching Jaws or The Shallows. You know this beast is lurking just beneath the surface, but the characters have to go into the water. Some of these folks are not all that developed, so it will be easy to watch them get eaten alive by a shark with a hook in its mouth.