Or – “Foes Become Friends…”
JERICHO SEASON 3 #6
Story: Jonathan #. Steinberg, Dan Shotz, Carol Barbee, Josh Schaer, Matthew Federman, Stephen Scaia, Robert Levine & Robbie Thompson
Writer(s): Dan Shotz, Robert Levin & Jason M. Burns
Artist: Matt Merhoff
Colorist: Hi-Fi Colour Design
Editor: Scott Dunbier
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously, on Jericho Season 3: After a limited nuclear exchange, the United States fragmented into multiple smaller states, each scrambling to survive and rebuild in the new world. The various confederations have jostled for power, and the television version of the show ended with what seemed to be an impending Second Civil War. For the full full story, though, I cede the floor to my wife, who is a huge Jericho fan from episode one:
First of all, thank you IDW. I am a big enough person to admit when I am wrong and I was wrong. How so, you ask? When CBS canceled Jericho I was one of the fans that sent nuts to the network. I cheered when Jericho was brought back for Season 2 and once again was saddened when CBS decided not to renew the show a second time. I held out hope for Jericho the movie or for some other network to pick up production. (Seriously, Sy-Fy WTF! How exactly do you not see how this show is a perfect fit for your network?)
Then came the announcement that the story was going to come to the pages of the illustrated world. I got the first book, I was thrilled. I had my Jericho back! The art was great, I had my Jake and Mr. Hawkins but it seemed that the story was a lot of flashback. I applied my business mind to it and justified the first issue being a tool to refresh the fans and also to pick up a new audience who may not be familiar with the Jericho story other than to be aware of the faithful fan base and how loyal the fans were to the show. Then comes the 2nd issue, still great art, and you can feel that the story is about to take off in an arc of its own and so I excitedly wait for issue 3.
And I wait… And wait… Aaaand wait, waiting for so long that I eventually decided that it was never coming. Then, my husband brought home my issue and rather and picking it right up and reading it cover to cover like a loyal fan, I tossed it on my desk. They made me wait so I was going to make them wait. I did in fact wait almost 3 weeks before I actually picked it up. I was pleased with the art again but hadn’t expected to care at all for this recount of history though the eyes of John Smith and again I was wrong. John Smith’s history of the Rise of J&R was fantastic – realistic enough that it has plausibility to those of us that have a little bit of conspiracy theorist in us without going over the top in the top into the full on paranoid. In his own misguided way John Smith is a patriot, raining fire on the US to destroy the cancer of a corrupt government with radiation the way that his physicians destroyed his own cancer with radiation. So here I am fully engaged in the cancer analogy that the story has brought forth John Smith an almost sympathetic
villain who is being liberated from his prison by our heroes Jake and Mr. Hawkins. Can even John Smith be redeemed?
If our heroes are to be victorious they need to know more about the enemy J & R so that the body of True Americans can continue that fight against the cancer that is poised to consume them all…
A Long-Awaited Homecoming…
We open with a mysterious man named Palmer, who has accepted a covert job from Thomas Valente (one of the head of the splinter government Allied States of America) to track down Robert Hawkins and the man called “John Smith.” His HumVee ends up being attacked and Palmer himself is taken into custody by insurgents. As for his targets, both the mysterious John Smith and Hawkins are en route back to Jericho, Kansas, though Smith is coming along as a prisoner. I’m pretty impressed by the pacing of this issue, as you learn most all that you need to know from context and well-handled dialogue. Jake Green (our Jack Bauer-type character) has a disturbing conversation with ‘Smith’ (apparently the man who actually set off the bombs that set the events of the series in motion), but gets a lovely homecoming moment once he returns to Jericho. I’m not sure about all the actors licenses involved, but Green is clearly modeled on his actor, and you don’t need to know who plays whom to appreciate the emotions involved in Jake’s return to Jericho.
Friends At The Breaking Point…
Sadly, Mr. Hawkins has a much more difficult return home, and things quickly turn ugly, as Hawkins and Green deal with the gnawing guilt of harboring the man responsible for the deaths of millions. At the same time, the man sent to find them exacts a bloody plan to find his quarry. The plotting here is apparently drawn from the actual plans for a third season of the show, torpedoes by network caprice, and it feels much more complex than your average comic series plotting. You really feel for Jake Green, who believes that more lies will only make their situation worse, as unscrupulous men on both sides of the fence scheme and destroy in the name of their personal visions of freedom. We end with a setup for a possible Season 4, as Palmer moves into place, Smith gains respect, and nobody really wins.
The Verdict: Happily Approachable
I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect a lot out of this book going in. As someone only familiar with the trappings of Jericho, it was surprisingly easy to get what was going on in this story. The first page recap gave you an in-point, and strong character work did the rest. Artwise, it’s a very solid book, with the characters that need to be recognizable being such without devolving into distracting photo reference. If I had a complaint about the issue (other than the long and apparently monetarily derived pause between earlier issues of the series and the second half) it’s that our ending here is a clear cliffhanger for more events to come. In a normal comic series, I’d be troubled by that, but in this case I think it’s appropriate for the material and true to the source. Rumors fly about a film or television continuation of this story, but it’s good to see a comic book that is clearly aimed at a segment of the market who is crying out for more material featuring their characters. Jericho Season 3 #6 was more impressive than I could have hoped, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall on strong concepts and well-constructed writing.
Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: If we’re really going to draw new readers to comics, are adaption/continuations like this and Buffy Season 8 the way to go?