Jack Burton is Dealt a Bad Hand in ‘Big Trouble in Little China #20’

GameStop, Inc.

BigTroubleLittleChina_020_A_MainBig Trouble in Little China #20
Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Dan McDaid

When some 8 foot tall blue immortal knucklehead kidnaps your buddy’s best gal and forces you to play a game of high stakes poker that’d make James Bond flinch, you remember what ‘ole Jack Burton says at a time like that…
“Deal me in sunshine, I can handle it!”

Big Trouble in Little China has been, pretty consistently, a comic loaded with goof-ball supernatural shenanigans, odd-ball characters that feel like they fit inside the universe created by the cult film, and a dodge-ball-like manic zig-zagging pace (I know it was a reach but cut me some slack).

In short the comic book has been fun.

With Fred Van Lente at the helm this has been doubly so.

Van Lente is the rare writer that can successfully blend action and comedy without missing a step or losing grip on the story. His work on Marvel Zombies is both hysterical and scary. His Invisibles meets Highlander meets Three Stooges mash-up raises Valiant’s Archer & Armstrong to a classic level. BTiLC, therefore, is smack dab in the middle of his wheelhouse; action and laughs in equal measure. Pulling an 80’s retro hero, John Wayne-tribute archetype into the modern era where evil sorcerers and smartphones are equally irritating and confusing is a smart move that returns rich comic dividends.

Issue 20 is the final chapter in the current story arc; after reuniting with his friends Wang and Eddie Jack has been drawn into a sorcerer’s poker tournament where the stakes are all of team Burton’s souls. Jack’s particular blend of bravura and ineptitude (and a little help from Egg Shen) has gotten him to the final tournament table and Koche – the immortal (and politically correct) Russian sorcerer that has enslaved Margo and also had a hand in Miao Yin leaving Wang years previous. The problem is that Jack promised the blatantly obvious Harry Potter type wizard (“John Lennon glasses, Doctor Who scarf, it looks like England puked up on him!” Is the way he describes the wizard) he beat last issue that he would cold-cock the blatantly obvious Voldemort wizard as a favor. Which he does and, as a result, immediately forfeits the game.

Fortunately, Egg had a plan “B” where Wang’s twin daughters, Whitney (good twin) and Winona (bad twin) search out Koche’s death; which is hidden in a typical convoluted magical manner. They retrieve it in a typically funny and straightforward manner which is punctuated with Winona commenting “Ancient folklore is no match for the modern firearm.”

These plot threads intertwine in a final confrontation with Koche. As has been the case with this and most comic books in general, the victory is temporary at best. Jack and Winona are magically tossed through time and full-on face plant straight into the next adventure which is aptly titled Old Trouble in Little China!

Everything moves at a manic pace which captures the spirit of the movie (I’ve never heard exposition rattled off so fast in a movie since BTiLC). The way in which Van Lente has expanded the world has been extremely satisfying; incorporating other regional folklore and current (blatantly obvious) magical characters, along with parody of 80’s TV and crackpot conspiracy theories creates a vibe that just about anything can happen and probably will. With Jack’s good-natured, but bumbling hero act taking all the weirdness in stride with a wink and a smart-ass wisecrack. Which captures the tone of the movie also. It’s an obvious success when you read Jack’s dialogue and you hear Kurt Russell’s John Wayne with a beer hangover cadence.

Dan McDaid’s art goes more for the “essence” instead of a direct look which makes some of Van Lente’s tightly logical action a bit muddled. Not to say that his work is bad, it isn’t; the more abstract elements of this world of Magic and iPhones co-existing is served well by his art. Nothing is ever really lost in the translation but Van Lente’s action scenes, which are deftly structured cause and effect, is more effective with a literal interpretation.

You wouldn’t have thought that this stand-alone movie could be much more than what it was; i.e. a story that was fun but really couldn’t go anywhere else (I mean, the title traps itself in a small section of San Francisco after all). You thought wrong. Unconstrained by a film budget and with writing that is imaginative, funny, and willing to embrace the sillier elements inherent in the story Big Trouble in Little China breaks out of its imagined restraints to find big trouble in a huge world.

Passing fancies:

If you read my column Comics on the Can you know I’ve been threatening to tackle Big Trouble in Little China for almost as long as I’ve been writing the column. I still could but it’ll have ranting about the upcoming remake, speculation on remaking other properties from the 80’s (like Jem and the Holograms, I bet that would rock! Why are you looking at me like that?) Rambling paranoid nonsense about magazine subscriptions, and probably something about otters.

The Harry Potter bit was a hoot. I love how Jack just punched Voldermort’s lights out.

Koche’s death was buried in a chest where inside was hidden a Hare with a duck inside with an egg with a needle inside. Convoluted. Whitney just shoots the Hare leaving a bloody mess and a magic needle. Works for me!

Winona has no wifi where she and Jack get zapped, San Fran in 1906, but her phone somehow knows it’s 1906?

This issue might not be the best jumping on point but the next arc fires up with issue #21 and it looks to be a blast!

Boom! also had a short-lived Escape from New York comic. There was, jokingly, the idea of a crossover being kicked around… (I’ve been asking for Escape from Little China for years. How awesome would that be? – Editor)

My review PDF included a preview of a new title called Turncoat which looks like it examines what the world is like after humans drive off a three hundred year alien occupation. Interesting idea.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

FanboyNation
Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
‘Lumina’ is a Incredible First for Debuting Director, Gino McKoy – Review

‘Lumina‘ is an incredible concept and an exceptional first run for...

Aaron Augenblick Returns for Season 2 of ‘City Island’ on PBS KIDS – Interview

Acclaimed Animator, Aaron Augenblick Returns with a Second Season of ‘City...

‘Heart of an Oak’ is a Dazzling Documentary Set in a French Forest – Review

‘Heart of an Oak‘ is a visually dazzling documentary from the...

Event News Event Reviews
Jay Anthony Franke Talks California Dreams Reunion Concert in LA – Interview

Jay Anthony Franke Talks About The ‘California Dreams‘ Reunion Concert in...

‘An Inspector Calls’ Challenges the Morals of the Bourgeois – Review

‘An Inspector Calls‘ Challenges the Morals and Ethics of the Bourgeois...

‘Disney’s Beauty and The Beast’ is Spectacular at the Rose Center Theater – Review

‘Disney’s Beauty and the Beast‘ at the Rose Center Theater is...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Derek Gumin Talks Planet 13 and UFC 303 Meet and Greets – Interview

Director of Wholesale Accounts at Planet 13, Derek Gumin spoke about...

Oscar De La Hoya Partners with El Rey for ‘Friday Night Fights’ – Interview

The Golden Boy himself chatted with us about Golden Boy Promotions...

Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse – Blood on the Cactus, Endgame

Mhuhahahahahahahah!

Fantoy Comics Presents: A 4th of July Message!

Seriously, America, THIS crap?!?!?

Fantoy Comics Presents – Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse: Blood on the cactus pt 4 (?)

There are some weird guys here that want invest in a...

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus
MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Billy Eddy Talks His new Book ‘Our New World of Adult Bullies’ – Interview

Lawyer, Mediator and Personality Expert Bill Eddy Provides a Six-Step Strategy...

Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...