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“BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #13” (Comic Book Review)

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BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA has been a staple of the cult genre since its commercial failing in 1986. Though considered a movie flop during its initial release, it was, in reality, taking its first baby steps into the heart of American kitsch culture. Even now, almost thirty years later, BTILC mania is still going strong and has not only become a favorite initiation watch for burgeoning Carpenter fans, but is even bringing in new fans thanks to BOOM! Studios comic series. An all-original work, the BTILC comic is currently on its unlucky 13th issue and boasts a new creative team and a new storyline for fans who have been wanting to read the series but are not sure where to start.

Issue 13 breaks away from the gritty streets and bright lights of the ‘80s and plops our hero, Jack Burton, straight into 2015. It opens up in classic Burton-style as he monologues about life and society while driving his truck Pork Chop. Oh, and it’s also full of Japanese Kappa monsters and his passenger is a gun-toting Chinese woman who’s blasting away at helicopters. But, we’ve gotten ahead of ourselves.

The real beginning is a frozen Burton waking up in a gas station that held his frozen body for thirty years. After getting directed to San Francisco, he tracks down his old friend Wang Chi and finds him at his restaurant with his and Mao Yin’s daughter, Winona Chi, and busboy-turned-paranoid Eddie. Taking the new era in stride, it’s not until Burton learns that Winona sold Pork Chop does he finally hit the road in what is sure to be an insane adventure, especially with the four pack of throwback bounty hunters on his tale. Times are indeed strange for Mr. Burton.

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As stated, BTILC #13 is a solid slide-in point for new readers. Author Fred Van Lente does a great job of capturing the character’s original personalities and how they would’ve aged in the 30 years that Burton had been gone. The monologuing was perhaps a bit heavy handed, rehashing the idea that we have lost touch with each other thanks to our cellphones and “book of faces,” but it’s hard not to expect it from someone who didn’t actually see the new technologies form the modern world.

Van Lente also doesn’t shy away from creating new ridiculous characters, such as the bizarre bounty hunters. Dressed to the nines in classic 1980’s wear, the three men and the robot fit perfectly into the universe where such things as Lo Pan can exist (who, by the way, is far gone from this new story arc. You’ll have to check out the previous issues for him.) Winona Chi is also a great addition as Burton’s newest side kick and with her grouchy teen attitude, we can rest assure that this odd couple will keep the readers entertained.

Like its series predecessors, there are several alternative colors for the avid collector and the diverse fanbase that BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA attracts. The interior art by Joe Eisma, on the other hand, is a bit of a mixed bag. While the large splash pages are fun and colorful, harking back to the over-the-top visuals of the film, once it gets to more static movement, the finer details get a bit skewed. But, despite the nit-picking, it fits the concept very well and the facial expressions are spot on.

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #13 starts off with a strong premise and promises to only get weirder, so it certainly comes recommended. Fans and newcomers can find the issue on stands now.

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About the author
Svetlana Fedotov http://facebook.com/vladkicksass
Svetlana Fedotov hails from the wild woods of the Pacific Northwest. She loves horror and comic books, and does her best to combine those two together at any cost. She also writes for the horror site Brutal as Hell and sometimes for the magazine Delirium. Svetlana has recently released her first novel, Guts and Glory, under the pen name S.V. Fedotov on Amazon digital.
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