Phantom Jack
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Plot/Story:
Art:
Dialogue:
    Presentation:
Wr. Mike San Giacomo
Ill. Sean McArdle

Phantom Jack is a modern take on the invisible man concept. However, even though an intriguing idea, it fails miserably in many regions. But for the most part the creators are not fully at fault.

Originally pitched as an idea for the now defunct Epic Comics' line from Marvel Comics, Phantom Jack found a new home with Image Comics. And for reasons that to me remain mysterious...it somehow got published. Giving the axe the first time to this title was probably the only good thing that the Epic line ever did.

Phantom Jack by Mike San Giacomo & Sean McArdle.The story is reasonably sound, however Giacomo being a reporter himself just like the main character, does not have a clue how to write comic books. A fact, that is best exemplified, by his horrible and messy scripts in the extras section. His notion of a script has a one sentence explanation of what goes on in each page and a slew of dialogue lines right underneath that. That may leave a lot of freedom for the artist but it is very clearly apparent that McArdle had trouble with dialogue placement and panel transition. Some of the panels have horrifying time issues and there are very difficult ways of reading the dialogue as it is placed in an irregular fashion and does not match the actions of the characters. This being Giacomo's first comic, shows what kind of an amateur he is in carrying over his talents to a different medium. He absolutely has no clue about what goes on in comic books and how they are made. It also does not help when your pacing is complimented by equally terrifying and stale dialogue which does not make you care about the characters at all. In his defense however, when this story was first published, the first issue origin was never revealed. That's all right though...we did not miss much.

If there is a positive about this book it's the fact that the art is superior in terms of the story. If anything it carries the book by itself...but that is not a lot to go on. It is not eye pleasing nor filled with tons of detail and a lot of the characters look slightly dysfunctional in terms of physical characteristics. But all in all, McArdle at least has a better grasp of visual story than Giacomo. The coloring adds a little flavor but all it eventually becomes is a day old vanilla coffee without the vanilla.

There are plenty of extras like the inclusion of the origin issue, scripts, and short stories. But unfortunately they do not make up for the nonsense and 18 dollar price tag that this book sports.

Pass it at all costs...or pick it up and wonder why your awesome idea never makes it to print...it's probably because of books like these that take your spot.

- Pawel Goj


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