Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pull List Review: Where is Jake Ellis? #3

Had to wait for a while for this issue, but this is one series where the delays never bug me. It's all because of Tonci Zonjic, whose art is regularly worth the wait. And sometimes being forced to wait makes it all the more satisfying. What I appreciate about his work on this book is that, even though he clearly has hit a groove, there's no stagnation or self-replication. He continues to try new things and change up his strategies, all with great results. So where we used to see a lot of pages done mostly in a single color, here Zonjic will often break those up with a panel or two in the middle done in entirely different hues. Or he'll fill a scene with many colors, but all under a sort of muted lighting that changes them and gives the page as a whole a more uniform look. These are only slight departures from what he did on the first series, Who is Jake Ellis?, but they enrich Where and give it its own distinct feel without disconnecting from its predecessor.
     As for the characters, Zonjic is clearly at home in this world and with this cast. Even new people like Dawid and Mollie are consistent and expressive and detailed on every page. And Jon and Jake are both locks, immediately recognizable and capable of very nuanced emotional performances in Zonjic's hands. He's done a ton of work with them both, and it shows.
     Sadly, Nathan Edmonson's script isn't growing in the same direction as Zonjic's art. The story seems to be stalling a little, and now that the curtain has been drawn back part way, all anyone can talk about is pulling it down completely. In Who, Jon and Jake had a very clear goal: to find The Facility and get inside. They knew what they wanted, from each other and themselves, and became a well-oiled machine in the pursuit of those goals. But now our heroes have no idea what they want, except that they don't want to get caught and/or killed. They are passive forces, waiting for their enemies' next move with no means of stopping it, slowly it down, or striking back. And they're at odds with one another in a new, jarring way. Where once there was slight friction, Jake now displays some open hostility. He has no emotional investment in Jon, apparently, and becomes an aggressive dick about it when asked. It's grating, and does nothing to help what is already a lack of progress on the part of these characters.
     Also, Jake's level on information has shifted. Now that he is sometimes aware of the waking world around him, he's able to info dump a bit on Jon about who they're fighting, which basically just gives us a scene or two of being told things we've already been shown. So once again we have an example of wheel-spinning where there should be advancement.
     It's not that I am not interested in the things Jake says. And any answers he provides come with several new questions, so the mysteries of this series continue to grow. But there was a marked deflation of energy in this issue, starting with Mollie's lackluster walk-off and carrying through to the end when Jon quietly, dully surrenders himself to the bad guys. This is one of the best-looking books around, and it has the potential to be one of the most unique and fascinating stories in comics today, too. But Edmonson seems to have lost some of his mojo now that we know where Jake's body is. Somehow that single detail changed too much about the nature of our heroes' dynamic and the larger story around them for Edmonson to tell as strong or exciting a story as he did before.


  1. any idea if #4&5 were cancelled or just delayed?

    1. Unfortunately, no clue. Last I checked Image still had listing for them but without release dates, so I'm not hopeful, but I never saw an official cancellation announcement either.