Image Comics is making a very strong case for being the most consistently entertaining and ingenious comic publisher out there. Image’s latest book, Who Is Jake Ellis?, looks to build upon this reputation. But does it succeed?
Jon Moore is an infamous spy who is constantly on the wrong end of a grudge. However, despite his enemies’ best efforts, he always seems to get away. This isn’t just pure luck, however. It’s because of Jake Ellis, a psychic man that only Jon Moore can see and hear. After a gig goes bad, Jon is on the run for his life while being aided by Ellis. But the real question remains. Who is Jake Ellis? And just how much does he really know about Moore’s pursuers?
Classic Spy Beats With A Twist
Right off the bat, the pulse pounding opening sequence of Who Is Jake Ellis? #1 is reminiscent of any classic James Bond tale, complete with exotic locations, seedy criminal dealings and a witty protagonist. While the first few pages of this issue open like many other spy stories, it soon turns into something completely new and fresh.
Nathan Edmondson goes to great pains to make sure that nothing about Jake Ellis’ character is revealed. There is no back story for Ellis and he is simply just there. Edmondson writes this issue as if the reader is joining a story already in progress and there is never any clunky exposition to weigh down the action.
The main focus of this debut issue is the unsettling relationship between Jon Moore and Jake Ellis. At first it seems like Ellis may be a guardian angel character out to protect his friend, but it soon becomes clear that he may know a lot more about the danger that his friend is in than he’s letting on. This subtle doubt about Ellis’ intentions is by far the most important conflict in the story and also serves as the most interesting one. And while this issue does have its share of moody moments, Edmondson keeps the story fast paced and sharp and never lets it get too bogged down by the mystery.
The issue itself is a very quick read. There is so much going on and the book is so fast paced that it all ends rather abruptly, which is going to make the wait for the next installment that much more arduous. What this issue does perfectly is set up a number of conflicts and questions that the next four issues will revolve around.
Art That Fits The Mood
Where this book really stands out is in the energetic and lively art of Tonci Zonjic. Zonjic choreographs fast paced action scenes with the grace of a Hollywood cinematographer, uses heavy shadows to create an ominous vibe around Jake Ellis and portrays cities and locations so beautifully that you can practically touch the buildings and smell the air. His attention to detail is evident in his painstakingly rendered version of the Strasbourg Cathedral in France. To see world-renowned buildings and locations illustrated so masterfully gives the whole issue a sense of believability.
Another example of Zonjic’s brilliance is a scene where Ellis is watching Jon Moore in bed with a waitress he met. In just this one panel Zonjic adds to Ellis’ character immensely using one simple facial expression and haunting shadows. Just plain creepy stuff.
BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT!
This is just a great read that carries on the trend of Image hits. Who Is Jake Ellis? has enough action, mystery and mood to please fans of any genre. Pick this book up now and be on the ground floor for what is sure to be one of 2011’s most unique books.