Review: Escape From New York #2

I can tell you the exact panel of this comic in which I knew I was done reading this series: page nine, panel two. That’s right, Snake wakes up on a prison submarine and after the mandatory (and I do mean mandatory), “it’s not him, he’s too short” joke; Snake asks for a smoke and a comical amount of hands and cigarette packs surround him. Here’s the thing about this panel… it’s not physically possible for so many people to reach the same distance and height around his face, then when you take in to account they’re on a close-courters submarine… well it’s a joke stinks and that breaks the serious nature of the world. In thinking about it, I’m wrong… there is no serious nature to the story. It’s all been one big joke and annoying pandering. With every line and callback joke, writer Chris Sebela is elbowing the reader and asking, “Remember that part from the movie? Well do you?” How could we forget when you go to the “who’s got a smoke” joke not once, not twice, not three times but four fucking times. The thing about the source material is that it’s very serious in tone, but this comic is the exact opposite. By the end I wanted someone to kill Snake.

Wait… I’m wrong again. This isn’t Snake. There are no mannerisms of the character, the dialogue isn’t even remotely close to capturing the legendary film character Snake Plissken. Point in case is why the hell would Snake do anything that he’s doing? Why go to Florida if he’s just going to piss on their system and not help anyone? There’s even a line of dialogue in the comic that states as much which only made me question the character’s motivation even more. When your character asks what they’re doing there that only encourages the reader to do the same.

Escape-from-New-York-#2-1.7What’s super disappointing about the story is that it’s attempting nothing new. Now I don’t mean in terms of the comic to the movie, though it does apply to that as well, but rather just from issue one to two. It’s like the same issue practically with its pacing and action beats. Snake leaves a situation and rather than be calm he pisses on everything and ends up stuck in another situation with some people he doesn’t want to be stuck with and he must… escape… the situation. I know that “Escape” is in the title, but he’s in fucking Florida so let’s go easy on taking the title as a roadmap for the story.

Also these redundant and excessive story beats seem to be Sebela’s version of character development since he can’t change Snake. Instead we’re left with hollow supporting characters that all sound like a wind up doll with phrases like:

“Hey you’re Snake Plissken.”

“Where ya going Snake?”

“Take me with you Snake.”

“I thought you’d be taller…”

And some version of “you’re famous, help us please.”

I have major beef with the famous and help me aspect of the story. For one, what the fuck is he famous for? The thing about the movie is that things are alluded to, but never said. In the comic we’re given small, teeny tiny nuggets of his past via terrible exposition, but it’s not a lot. The problem is that everyone knows this mother fucker so at some point you need to lay off the famous shtick or show your cards. Though nothing will live up to expectations at this point. As for the “help me”, it doesn’t make any sense. Everyone knows Snake and seems to get what he’s all about, but then they’re like “go against your nature and help us.” It doesn’t make any sense for the world and characters to act this way and they all fucking act this way.

This issue and this series is comically bad.

Sebela can do better, but it’s like he can’t contain his excitement and it’s oozing on to the page in the worst of ways. It makes the issue more fan-fiction than professionally published work.

The art is meh. It’s not bad, but it’s not good and it sure isn’t consistent. There’s a lot of solid colored backgrounds which make the action fall flat. Snake never looks the same way twice and really I think I liked it better when they were trying to avoid showing his face at all… that was terrible as well, but it might have been slightly better.

I can’t recommend this book, hell I could barely finish reading it myself.

Score: 1/5

Writer: Chris Sebela Artist: Diego Barreto Publisher: BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/7/15 Format: Print/Digital