Big Trouble in Little China / Escape From New York #4
The first two pages of Grek Pak’s Big Trouble in Little China / Escape From New York #4 perfectly illustrate both why this comic series is a must read for anybody who even casually likes the source material and why Pak is the perfect writer for the job. In those pages, Pak provides rationale for why the Snake Plisskens of the multiverse would join David Lo Pan. This isn’t necessary. Snake as a character is inherently an anti-hero, more so than some of the grittiest hero protagonists. The fact that we are treated with two entire well-drawn pages, complete with eye-patch clad Wolf Plisskens (Snake Wolfskin?) helps reinforce that the creative team behind the latest issue of the BOOM! Studios crossover series are interested in telling a great story rather than cashing in on nostalgia.
You have no idea how lucky that makes us as readers.
Big Trouble in Little China / Escape From New York #4 picks up with the split up Snake Plissken and Jack Burton, with Burton in disguise as Plissken among David Lo Pan’s forces. As Snake makes his way towards Jack, Jack finds himself forced to prove his Snake-ness among his alternate selves. It’s a genuinely hilarious scene where he makes up stories about being a murder trucker. When Snake-Prime (just deal with my identifiers, okay?) arrives, he begins to reveal that Jack Burton is actually among them in disguise. He holds a gun to Snake-Turtleneck, speculating that he might be Jack Burton, which he obviously knows is untrue, but still, it’s interesting to see how Pak keeps making Snake betraying Jack seem plausible only to swerve it. Before pulling the trigger (RIP, Snake-Turtleneck, we hardly knew ye), he reminds us about how absurdly lucky, and potentially unkillable Jack Burton is. Luckily, the other Snakes don’t question the tautology of his argument, and are spurred on by Snake to begin fighting one another. It’s an inevitable result of getting that many Snakes in one place.
What follows is an exceptionally deep conversation between Snake and Jack. While driving, Jack comments on how evil the Snakes chasing them are. Snake doesn’t think it’s as black and white as that. “They’re just Plisskens,” he says, “Just like me. And you.” Jack starts wondering out loud about his destiny, and if that darkness inherent in all of those Snakes is also inherent in him. Is he going to inevitably become that?
“Nah,” he says, in his charming Jack Burton way. And we believe it. There seems to be something about Jack that is fundamentally different than the Snake Plisskens, and it seems deeper than just Jack’s lifetime of experiences. But what of Snake-Prime? He is actively trying to help Jack. What will likely happen is what has been slowly building throughout the background of the series. The focus isn’t on how Jack is a version of Snake, but rather on how Snake is a version of Jack. Something makes Snake like Jack, and we will likely see that come full circle in the next two issues. If you haven’t started reading this event yet, you really need to get on it. It’s worth getting the back issues and diving through them. Pak’s writing is steller, Daniel Bayliss’ art is fantastic, and Triona Farrell continues to deliver my favorite coloring in a comic book.