“Jon Sable Freelance” used to be a critically acclaimed title that pushed boundaries and was frequently right up there with “Uncanny X-Men,” “Swamp Thing,” and the “New Teen Titans.” That was over twenty years ago; the publisher “Jon Sable Freelance” originally ran with has disappeared, but the character has endured as a fan favorite.
Created by Mike Grell, Sable is one of those characters that people find a way to like, especially if Grell is connected to the printed product. Rest assured, Sable fans, Grell’s here. This story isn’t Grell’s best work, but it is far from his worst. It’s a re-introduction to a character many already know. Unfortunately, it presumes a great deal of its readership and tries to hard to find a path to tread. With equal parts morality play, adventure tale, and pulp action, this story threatens to bore the reader, but manages to evade pure boredom.
Too much is presumed and not cleaned up in this issue, making it feel rushed, sloppy, or incomplete. That’s a real shame when it comes to Sable, as I know Grell and his editor, Mike Gold, are quite passionate about this character. Granted, this is the first issue in a five-issue tale, but this issue is that critical “first-impression.” There are readers picking this up who may not have been born the first time Sable was published. Sable’s origins, for example, are hinted at, but undefined. B.B. Flemm makes an appearance, but doesn’t receive justification or explanation.
I want to be enamored with Sable again, I do. I have fond memories of this character, but, unfortunately, I don’t think this issue will be remembered with that set of memories. Hopefully the rest of this series boosts up the product as a whole.