Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.
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Aftershock continue to fill the shelves with top quality comics and our Darryll Robson takes a look at Jackpot #2. Can it maintain the high standard set by issue 1?
A new con and this time outside forces nearly ruin everything. But who are they are where is Ray Fawkes taking us in his Aftershock title Jackpot!?
The team have moved on from last months’ sting and turned their attention to a new mark. This time they have set up in a hotel with the intention of stealing money from a known but not very popular Russian spy.
Felicia poisons a bottle of vodka but she is distracted. She appears to have a sixth sense about the current job and it’s not a good feeling.
Meanwhile the twins and Dominique are working undercover, setting up the Russian, Serov but there is an unexpected bodyguard in the room. The most outstanding thing about this guy is that he was not witnessed going into the room. The reader knows for a fact that he teleported himself from the secret society glimpsed at the end of issue 1. He is there to test Dominique and to leave her something called the Calculus so that the secret order can watch how she uses it.
Everything depends on how Dominique behaves unfortunately for everyone concerned there is another ‘distortion’ in play. Someone else exhibiting the same potential powers as Dominique. As the Con Team attempt to escape the situation that is gradually getting out of hand they get penned in. Trapped by police. Running for their lives.
The first thing that you will notice about Jackpot #2 is that the narrative is much more complex than issue 1. The first month’s story was straight forward with only a hint of something magical going on where as this month you are thrown headlong into a high-rise of crazy goings on.
Again the setting for the story is localised to a single setting, this time within the confines of a hotel. This use of a limited locale creates an air of claustrophobia which heightens the pressure on the characters, especially as the action hots up. Fawkes deliberately adopts a typical horror genre technique to give his crime adventure an added edge. This makes it easier to accept the magical elements of the story as they begin to feed through.
The script is good with each of the central characters having their own voice. This is most notable near the beginning with the difference between the twins and Dominique. Jokes and cheeky banter fill the twin’s speech while Dominique has a more serious tone. These differences help to keep the pace of the comic as the action becomes more complex and the characters are mixed up in the crazy situation.
Issue 1 was easy to follow, issue 2 is going to take you more time digest. The characters are still there and they are still taking shape but there are so many unexplained elements introduced that it forces the reader to slow down; take stock of each and every scene. The style of the art is imperative to this change in narrative. The yacht opening was bright and brash reflecting the brazen characters but in the hotel it is darker. Marco Failla has toned down the exuberance of the first issue and Stefani Rennee has adopted a different color pallet, filling the scenes with shadows and gloomy backgrounds. It’s as if the more serious tone of the narrative has seeped into the art work to give it a grimmer look. None of the creators want you to feel comfortable this month which is a shock after last months’ bright and breezy romp.
The change in direction is a good thing. By making you love the characters at the start, when you follow them into the hotel you already have some commitment to their cause. When things start to go wrong Fawkes is able to shock the reader by putting these characters in potentially life threatening situations. He keeps the reader on the edge of your seat from start to finish, something that wholly depends on familiarity with the characters brought over from issue 1.
It’s not a perfect comic, there are moments where the narrative skips a beat and for a moment may lose you, but for the most part it’s difficult to find any flaws. The story is exciting, the characters are growing in unexpected but natural ways and Failla nails it with the art.
If you enjoyed issue 1 you’ll love issue 2. If you missed out last month, don’t worry everything you need is in issue 2 which is another thing this comic has going for it. It is easily accessible as if it were a first issue.
Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Occasionally he might use his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson
Crime and Magic combine in another successful issue of Jackpot! Both writing and art is spot on.