The plot thickens as private dick Jack McGriskin discovers the details of Eddie Newman’s murder maybe isn’t quite as cut and dry as originally thought in Reasonably Priced Comics’ Jack Hammer: Political Science #2 by Brandon Barrows and Ionic scheduled for release on February 9.
Jack Hammer: Political Science #2
The first issue ended with Jack being confronted by a particularly nasty group of thugs, one of which is a particularly violent creature named Fang who is a half man/half rat like creature. Fang wants to kill Jack immediately, but the boss of this little gang, Howitzer, wants to cut Jack in on their little business. Jack declines and just as things are about to get really ugly, Detective Martin comes in to bail Jack out. After escaping, Martin and McGriskin begin working out a plan to get to the bottom of things. Martin goes to the morgue to learn more about Eddie Newman. Newman was dressed as a homeless man, but was clean to the point that he could not have been living on the streets for longer than a couple days. McGriskin pays a visit to the man who set him up by having Howitzer waiting for him. Meanwhile, the man who appears to be behind the murder of Newman sets the next stage of his plan into motion by first having fang attack McGriskin in public, then attacking Newman’s wife. When McGriskin and his trusty driver, Stu, arrive at Newman’s home, Jack realizes the attack on Newman’s widow presents a brand new problem for him and Detective Martin.
You know what I like about this series? There’s a lot going on, but never once do I feel like anything is rushed or lacking in explanation. While this is a mystery, thus leading to some obvious lack of explanation of every plot point, things move with a nice, fast pace, but not so fast that you are asking too many questions outside what story wants you to ask. You’re not sitting around scratching your head and getting so tangled up or lost that it makes you want to put the book down. It’s quite the opposite really. Writer Brandon Barrows does an excellent job of making you want to turn the page. Sure, you’re scratching your head, but it’s because you want to help figure out the mystery as well. That’s a sign of the writer really knowing how to tell a good, honest mystery. It also shows that Barrows knows how to make the reader invest time and interest in the plot and characters.
Another detail that I couldn’t help but notice is how different McGriskin and Martin are as people. Martin is a by-the-book cop who does honest work. McGriskin knows who he’s dealing with and knows the darker corners to look for answers thus making him work a little more outside the rules to get the job done. Martin has the system to help him figure out what’s going on. McGriskin has connections and the ability to make threats and talk tough and back it up. The story uses that classic “buddy cop story” but turns it on its head by using these characters from different backgrounds, both working to get the same answers, and uses their own resources to work both angles. Martin uses the opportunity to go to the morgue to look at Newman, McGriskin uses who he knows to find out how Newton got there. As classic as this situation is between the characters, it works so well because you really get a good feel for who these two characters are and how they think.
I really like how Ionic uses his style of art to tell this story. It’s really perfect for this type of story because it helps visualize a gritty world in which these things are happening. I did notice the color seemed a little brighter in this issue than the last. I’m not going to make any assumptions on that design decision, but I really think that while the story still exists in a darker underbelly of Boston, Ionic’s work and style is cleaner. Ionic is definitely a good artist for this book to begin with, but this change has made the visuals that much more appealing.
Ultimately, this series has proven to be very satisfying so far. If you’re looking for an engaging mystery with characters that are more than just your usual thugs and coppers, I highly recommend Jack Hammer. I’m already looking forward to issue #3.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Engaging story and interesting plot with several twists and turns that never once leads you off the track of wanting to know what will happen next and what secrets the characters are hiding.||While I like the tweak to Ionic’s art, some may find a bit of a jolt from the darker #1 to the brightened #2. As for me, I found the coloring of #2 a little more appealing, but understand the visual adjustment some may need.|