"Razorjack" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Titan Comics
Written and Illustrated by John Higgins
2013, 106 Pages
Graphic novel released on September 18th, 2013
What is it about our world that demons love so much? Is it our tasty souls? Or just the cool stuff we have? After all, you probably can't get an Xbox in Hell. Razorjack is another in a long line of demons looking to break through the barrier between our worlds and feast on the fleshy meatbags on our side. Unfortunately, she's a bit stuck and has tapped into an unknowing young man to help bring her here. A pair of by-the-book cops named Ross and Frame are ready to put a stop to her plans.
A lot of the ideas within Razorjack can be paralleled with the Hellraiser franchise. The title character lives in a strange Hell dimension thriving on torture and pain. She also seems to have the vocabulary of a misogynistic 16-year-old boy, referring to her scantily clad minions as her “bitches.”
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Razorjack has several elements that I've seen before in other horror comics. Unfortunately, a lot of these are thrown together and aren't given the chance to really grow...or make much sense. The title was originally published as a two-issue limited series, which is not a lot of room to tell a full on story. There's not much more clarity in this re-release from Titan Comics. Aside from Razorjack trying to break into our world (to do...actually I have no idea what she plans to do once she gets here, maybe just rule in general?), there's a thread about a corrupt group of police officers, one of the good guy cops gets possessed by an angel-like creature to battle Razorjack, and a weird cult is trying to do some other evil supernatural thing entirely unrelated to her. It's a bit confusing.
Creator John Higgins wrote and illustrated the book. His artwork is pretty solid and matches up with the tone of the story very well. This is a pretty dark comic, and you get the feeling early on that there's not much hope in this world. The town is like Gotham City pre-Batman (aka Present Day Detroit). It makes sense that Razorjack would pick this location to try and burrow through dimensions. There are a few scenes that scream torture porn even though this was created before that term was in general use. They're a bit gratuitous and feel like they belong more in a mid-‘90s comic than one originally published in the early ‘00s.
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Also included in this re-release are two new short stories set in this universe. The first shows what could have been a cool idea for an ongoing series centering on Ross and Frame after the events of the main book. The pair hunts down supernatural baddies with the help of the weird good demon that's living in officer Frame. The second story is a tale about feudal Japan and a creature that's stalking a group of refugees. This one was interesting but added nothing to the overall story.
Razorjack has some good ideas in there, but felt stifled due to the short length of the book. Had it been given some more space to expand upon the concepts, it could have been pretty cool. As it stands, it's a poor carbon copy of something like Witchblade, which did the whole supernatural cop thing very well for several years.