Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

26 August 2008

Jinx

Collects: Jinx v. 1 #1-7, Jinx v. 2 #1-5, various one shots and specials (1996-8)

Released: February 2001 (Image)

Format: 480 pages / black and white / $24.95 / ISBN: 9781582401799

Once there was a time when the millennium was new and shining, when all foreign and domestic policies didn’t begin with “9” and end in “/11,” when Brian Michael Bendis didn’t dictate the direction of all Marvel’s titles. During that time, Bendis wrote and drew Jinx

Jinx cover Jinx is the story of the eponymous female bounty hunter, who runs into a pair of small-time con men named Goldfish (who Bendis also featured in Goldfish) and Columbia. Goldfish and Columbia themselves have stumbled into The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: while Columbia is savagely beating Goldfish for abandoning their life of crime and for being better than him, a severely injured criminal crashes his car nearby, then gives half the location of a $3 million to each before conveniently dying.

Hey, it happens.

Coumbia is paranoid after Goldfish hooks up with Jinx in a wholly unconvincing romance made up of violence, vocalized pauses, and sex. Their attempts to get the Confederate gold — no, wait, stolen cash — drives the “realistic dialogue” and flashbacks … er, plot.

Bendis’s art is surprisingly good for someone who’s never had much cause to use it with the Big Two. Not that I particularly enjoy looking at it; 50 percent of the art is filled with shadow, and 40 percent is word balloons. This makes it frequently difficult to tell what’s going on. It is interesting artwork, though. Bendis admits to using models, including himself (as Columbia). It’s a valid approach, and for the most part, Bendis avoids making his subjects look stiff or posed. However, when he adds photorealistic elements — what looks like photocopied $20 bills atop his art, for instance — it’s offputting, because it looks like badly photocopied $20 bills atop comic art.

Readers’ enjoyment of Jinx is largely going to depend on their evaluation of Bendis’s dialogue. If you find starts and stops, vocalized pauses, and occasional explosive profanities realistic and engrossing, you’ll love Jinx. It is Bendis’s trademark, and it sounds like no one else. This is earlier Bendis, without much restraint or refinement, though; if you don’t really appreciate Bendis’s style, you’ll likely find the dialogue tedious and the story padded. Myself, I don’t think it would have been so bad if Bendis had hired a copy editor; missing and misplaced punctuation and misspellings changed the tedious to aggravating.

Despite the killer hook — female bounty hunter — the story fails to grab. Jinx is too abrasive to be compelling. The romance doesn’t sizzle; rather, it lies there and slowly rises to room temperature. The plot, as I said, is derivative. And f*&k Bendis for taking Lauren Bacall’s name in vain.

As a side note, David Mack’s introduction is one of the worst pieces of text I’ve ever read.

Rating: Image symbol (1 of 5)

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