Written by William O’Neill
Pencils by Tone Rodriguez
Inks by Digital Chameleon
Colors by Chris Blythe
Lettered by Dreamer Design and Robin Spehar
Published by CrossGen/Hurricane Entertainment
My Verdict: Fans of either Escape film should own it.
Issue #1 of the Snake Plissken Chronicles joins our one-eyed hero “early the next day” (presumably following one of the films, and given his locale (outside Atlantic City), I’m assuming after the first film). As is perhaps typical for everybody’s favorite anti-hero, he can’t manage a brief whiz on the side of the road without attracting the attention of some knife-wielding freak. After terrifying his would-be assailant, Snake proceeds on his way, only to be accosted by a gang of bike-riding thugs who lay claim to the freeway outside Atlantic City.
[ad#longpost]In typical Plissken fashion, the villains are dispatched quickly, and Snake gets into Atlantic City to meet up with his contact Marrs to discuss plans to steal the Presidential Cadillac in which JFK was shot that fateful day in Dallas. For this feat of daring, Snake and his co-conspirators will receive $30 million. That is, of course, until said co-conspirators decide they don’t need Snake, and he finds himself double-crossed and thrown to the bottom of the sea.
The story here is essential Plissken. Crooked men doing crooked deeds, with Snake trying to maneuver his way through it without getting killed and maintaining some notion of honor among thieves. O’Neill plainly has a solid grasp on the character, and his cast of secondary characters feel right at home in Plissken’s universe. Rodriguez’ pencils likewise are solid, and the likeness to Russell’s Plissken is undeniable. Aside from Snake, most of the characters are pretty interchangeable, with only piercings or headgear to differentiate them, and they all look like refugees from a post-apocalyptic issue of Ennis’ Preacher. Nothing wrong with that, mind you.
My biggest complaint is that the issue is a whopping twenty-two pages long, by virtue of having a four-page preview of some book called The Diplomats in the back. While I appreciate that advertising is a necessary evil of the comic book world, I find ten pages of advertising per thirty-two page book a bit tedious and excessive. If this is the answer to keep prices down, hike the damn things to $3.25 and be done with it. Or cut the books to twenty pages, ditch the ad fluff and save on twelve pages of printing costs. When half your book (almost) is advertising, you’re spending as much to print the damned ads as you’re likely to see from them in revenue.
Content thinness aside, the book’s a great read, and I hope to see more of the same from O’Neill and his art team. If you find the advert page-padding as irritating as I do, wait for the TPB.