It is rare that I pick up a comic completely blind. Usually a comic comes with some sort of recommendation from a friend or my LCS owner (Jason at Floating World). Sometimes I am familiar with one or more of the creators, or there is a concept behind the story that sounds intriguing. I must confess that there was none of this that precipitated my reading Who is Jake Ellis. In fact, I don’t even remember ordering the book. But, there it was on my front door step.
So I read it.
HOLY COW! What I wild ride!!!!
The first few pages are a jumble of action and dialogue that don’t seem to quite sync up. But then we are treated to a “rewind” that explains the previous few pages and gives us a complete picture of what is going on. And that’s when I was hooked!
Jon Moore is a mercenary cast from the Jason Bourne mould. He is quick, precise, and seems to have the uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time. However, it isn’t that Jon is lucky, or even that skilled. Jon has a secret weapon: Jake Ellis. Jake is a ghostly figure who only Jon can see and hear. Jake seems to see and know all…except for who he is, or how he ended up matched with Jon.
It is the supernatural/sci-fi element that lifts this graphic novel above other spy-on-the-run stories. While Marvel is trying desperately to make us care about “Who is Marcus Johnson?”, the creative team behind Jake Ellis have given me more reason to care in four pages than Marvel has managed to do over several issues. Jake Ellis is anything but boring. It is fast-paced, well-timed, and has a subtle twist in the third act that rewards a second read.
I am not at all familiar with writer Nathan Edmondson or artist Tonci Zonic. While they both have some other comic credits to their names, they are definitely not superstars. This works to their advantage. There are no preconceived notions about how this story should unfold or how it should look. Unlike and established creator who has to work at “branding” themselves, these two are free to strike out in any direction they choose. This creates a sense of urgency and unpredictability in the art and writing that is perfect for a spy story.
If I have any complaint about Jake Ellis it is that it ends too soon. The 5th issue seems rushed and a bit forced. I wish it had been given a few more pages to breathe. The mini-series was supposed to be done after 5 issues, and this would have made a fairly satisfying, if rushed ending. Now that I hear it has been expanded to at least 10 issues, I feel like it may get some space to offer a more fulfilling conclusion that ties up the loose ends.
Suffice it to say, I am with Jake Ellis to the end. Be it five more issues, or more, I can’t wait to see where this mystery goes! If you have not yet joined the mystery, pick up your copy of Who is Jake Ellis vol. 1 right now!