Comic Picks By The Glick

Citizen Jack vol. 1

August 20, 2016

Stop me if this sounds familiar to you:  A blowhard businessman decides to run for president and wins the hearts of millions with his straight talk while offending even more with his rhetoric and poor temperament.  That’s the setup for “Citizen Jack,” but its protagonist, Jack Northworthy, has one thing in his corner that Trump doesn’t.  At least, I don’t think that Trump has a demon egging him on and manipulating those around him.  Even if that were true, I don’t think that kind of revelation could make this current race any crazier.  That happens to be this title’s biggest problem.

While “Citizen Jack” wants to be an outrageous satire that one-ups reality in an even more outrageous fashion, writer Sam Humphries’ ambitions fall short here.  That’s because for all of his supposed “outrageousness” Jack never comes across as more crazy or unhinged than his real-life counterpart.  Even when he starts to self-sabotage his campaign and declares a “War on Children” to round them up and put them in camps it still feels like a weak grab for satire.  The fact that he has a demon, Marlinspike, backing him also turns out to be a fairly underwhelming plot twist.  Granted, the revelation that his relative uselessness is actually somewhat intentional is a halfway clever conceit.  That’s about as good as this series gets, however.

“Citizen Jack” does start off with some strong art from Tommy Patterson who invests the early days of Jack’s campaign with an impressive level of detail.  He’s not able to keep that up as the issues go on, and by the final issue he’s clearly straining against the deadlines.  Humphries also packs the final issue with a ton of plot developments to let you know that he has some definite ideas about where this series will go in its second arc.  If they turn out to be worthwhile, you’ll have to let me know.  “Citizen Jack” was aiming to be an of-the-moment skewering of our political process.  Regrettably, it wound up being skewered by real life instead.

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