Friday, November 17, 2006


You Need This - Jack Staff #12

Stop me if you've heard this before. But then again, it may bear repeating. Unless you hate goodness, you owe it to yourself to be reading Paul Grist's serial masterpiece, Jack Staff. As much as I like his police series Kane, I think that the distinctly British superheroics of Jack Staff may ultimately be the more sophisticated series. And it stars Alan Moore tripping balls after eating an extradimensional demon. What other series can offer that?

So what's on tap for this issue, hmm? A timelost Nazi supervillain from the days of WWII. A cosmic champion, doomed to wander time and time, caught forever in the battle between order and chaos. Three paranormal investigators. A robotic hero (or heroic robot), remote controlled by a spunky teenaged girl. The aforementioned mystic who bears an astonishing resemblance to Alan Moore (named Morlan the Mystic, naturally). And Britain's Greatest Hero himself, the eponymous Jack Staff. All involved in a life and death struggle that takes place entirely in the parking lot of a Tesco. (For American readers, think of something along the lines of a Safeway.)

Here's what the solicitation copy from Image Comics had to say about the issue: "Kapitain Krieg, the Nazi Super Warrior from World War 2 is the one foe that Jack Staff has never been able to beat. He disappeared in 1942 - but now he's back - and this time not even all of Castletowns Heroes can stop him! Cover to cover action!"

And they weren't lying! There is so much story in this issue that it starts on the inside front cover, and doesn't let up until it hits the inside back cover. Wall to wall, cover to cover, filled to the brim. A bargain at $3.50, no question.

By my rough recollection, we saw three new issues of Jack Staff in 2005, and this issue makes three new installments in 2006. In just a few months we'll be seeing The Weird World of Jack Staff King-Sized Special #1, which reprints the serial that ran in Comics International the last year or so. (Which I had to get a subscription to the mag to follow, so great is my jones for new Jack Staff stuff.) So we're already off to a good start for next year.

If you haven't read Jack Staff before, I can't say this is a great "jumping on point," but what the hell. Pick it up anyway, and then hunt down the trade paperback editions and back issues when you get a chance. Seriously. You won't be sorry. I'm telling you, you need this.

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