Friday, 24 February 2017

Hook Jaw #3 - Titan Comics

HOOK JAW No. 3, March 2017
As re-imaginings go, Si Spurrier’s atrocious script for Issue Three of “Hook Jaw” must have horrified its ashen audience in much the same vein as the original “Action Comics” moral-corrupting creation terrified its young readership’s parents. For whilst this twenty-two page periodical does contain a passing resemblance to its Seventies forefather, by depicting a team of US special operatives being savaged whilst investigating a wrecked container ship deep underwater, the rest of its narrative is woefully dissimilar to Pat Mills’ vision of a single-minded predatory great white shark, and disconcertingly, seems far more interested in the blatant sexual harassment of scientist Mag.

Indeed, for vast swathes of the former BBC art director’s storyline, the dialogue is worryingly focused solely upon the dislikeable Captain Klay’s maddening attempts to have some “basic action” with the “Hot latte”, and even goes so far as to require him to be beaten off by the “feisty” woman with a jawbone when his supposed amorous intentions get the better of him on a deserted beach; “I figure you’re definitely the Bond girl in this here drama… Can we get back to you succumbing to my seduction, and --” Such a disagreeable sub-plot is hardly the sort of subject one would expect from a comic book supposedly based upon “the near-legendary Hook Jaw”, even if its cover does carry the tiniest of “suggested for mature readers” warnings…

Fortunately, when the British author does finally centre his writing upon the titular character, the excitement and fear of the divers is perfectly palpable the moment the oversized shark suddenly appears to knock away the heroine’s “damn torch” and plunge the already unnerved team into total darkness. In fact, it’s easy to imagine the terrified screams of Perry as Mag ignites a magnesium flare and the already partially-mutilated frogman realises his arm and foot are trapped “in its mouth…”   

Infinitely less successful than this publication’s momentary ‘flash of frightening fun’ are Conor Boyle’s increasingly erratic breakdowns. The London-located illustrator can clearly draw a fantastically menacing Carcharodon Carcharias when he has to, but the rest of his pencilling, especially that of the repeatedly misshapen Mag, Jasper and Klay, arguably leaves an awful lot to be desired.
The variant cover art of "Hook Jaw" No. 3 by Tom Mandrake

4 comments:

  1. It's not getting any better, is it? I most definitely won't be buying the TPB of this dreadfully shambolic series. I'm only sorry you have had to suffer reading it and wasting good money on it. On the plus side, your noble deed will not go unnoticed.

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    1. Its such a pity Bryan, as Boyle can clearly draw a fantastic shark when he wants to, and every now and then "Hook jaw" briefly touches upon what made it such a great Seventies character. Still with two issues to go we may see the shark for more than a few panels... Let's just hope "Titan Comics" don't turn their attention next upon "Shako"!!

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  2. Hook Jaw, this takes me back. I think it was `Kids rule okay' that so outraged Mary Whitehouse.

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    1. Pity this version of "Hook Jaw" isn't as good as the original imho, Phil. If you listen to Pat Mills he blames the 'Kids Rule Okay" cover on "Action Comics" Sept 1976 for causing it to be banned :-)

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