Friday, 27 January 2017

Hook Jaw #2 - Titan Comics

HOOK JAW No. 2, February 2017
Whilst Simon Spurrier’s pre-publication belief that his script for “Hook Jaw 2017 should nod at its primogenitor with great affection and respect, but needn’t – in fact shouldn’t even try to – slavishly recreate or reboot” it's predecessor was a laudable attitude to have, it does arguably mean that anyone pining to once again experience “the violent British environmentalist shark horror comic of the 1970s” doubtless didn’t find much to enjoy within Issue Two of “Hook Jaw”. It's certainly hard to reconcile this twenty-two page periodical’s narrative, which predominantly focuses upon “a rag-tag group of marine scientists” being verbally interrogated by Valerie Dow of the CIA, with the “pulse-poundingly gory” weekly British comic strip that was published by “IPC Magazines”.

Indeed, despite the book opening with a nonchalant fisherman being literally ‘speared’ by the titular character and surreptitiously dragged into the ocean as a tasty treat, the ordinarily prominent formidably-sized Carcharodon carcharias isn’t actually even properly seen until the book’s cliff-hanger conclusion, and then the brute is simply depicted spitting out the disintegrating corpse of a hapless dolphin; “Oh no. S-swim faster wondrous ocean-child! Swim faster! £$%&…” Such fleeting glimpses of the monster’s savagery are hardly the sort of repellent, excessively grisly action that the “man-eating great white shark” is famous for, and surely unworthy of the “suggested for mature readers” warning on the comic’s cover illustration..?    

Sadly however, this bewildering re-imaging of the deadly “boneless tube with teeth” is made all the worse as a result of the British novelist not only having Maggie Reyes dwell on the fact that Hook Jaw is supposedly a ‘mythic Nessie’ which “they made comics about… in the Seventies". But that the “eating machine” to whom “we're nothing more than meat to be ripped apart and eaten” is actually a wrong-thinking cognitive female shark, as opposed to a straightforward male “force of nature”, that knows it shouldn’t consume the “wrong flesh” of humans yet purposely ignores his natural prey in order to consume the “dry flesh hot and furious and foul but ohhh…”

Disconcertingly, Conor Boyle’s breakdowns do little to soften Spurrier’s perplexing plot, and potentially only add to the confusion with his persistently ambiguous panels. In fact, on several occasions, such as when the aforementioned fisherman is impossibly impaled upon the gaff hook protruding from the shark’s jaw, or Captain Klay Clay miraculously lassos a dolphin from high upon his ship’s deck, it’s remarkably unclear as to just how events have physically occurred.
The regular cover art of "HOOK JAW" No. 2 by Conor Boyle


  1. Oh dear! You are not endearing me to this reboot, Simon. My decision not to buy this comic is looking more and more prudent. No wonder the series has such a low readership if this is the best the creators can come up with.

    1. To be honest Bryan, I think this is utter tripe to be avoided at all costs. The most surprising thing though is that all the other online reviews I've seen have been raving about it!?! I'll be sticking with it - as I hate owning half a mini-series, so I'll be sure to let you know if it picks up.