|HOOK JAW No. 3, March 2017|
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|