“Who Is Jake Ellis?” is spy fiction with a supernatural twist. That makes this comic something you haven’t seen before. It’s nice to cast your eyes over a book that feels so truly original. It also helps that this is a very good comic and that this issue brings plenty of action as well as character development.
The mystery of Jake Ellis is not going to be something taken lightly; It’s the question of the series, so you can’t expect the answer in the first two issues. What we are served are slight slivers of the truth, hints of flavor to delight, a soupcon of origin story. The balance is difficult to attain but Edmondson is doing well enough that he makes the reader want — need — to know more. This issue might not have many breadcrumbs, but at least now you know there’s a trail to follow.
There’s a delicious tension at play as Jon isn’t sure if Jake represents his subconscious or not. If he does, then that means certain actions show Jon might just want to get himself caught, possibly even killed. The internal issues this man faces, and the fact we really don’t know what is going on, is refreshing. So many tales these days rely on dramatic irony that it is refreshing to be so completely in the cold.
There’s a frenetic, and yet slow motion, pace to the rain and the action that make this comic feel like a new generation of hyper-noir. Yet, it is still completely informed by what has come before it in every twisted genre of crime and pulp. This has a European vibe resonating off the pages mixed with the action sensibilities of the best parts of the best Bourne flicks.
The fact this comic hooks completely purely on the conversation between a man and his imaginary friend is a testament to the writing going on here. There are elliptical moments of logic and fear that put you right into Jon’s sweaty hot seat. He doesn’t want to die, or worse, but for how long can he really put his faith in an imaginary man who will only save him at the last minute?
Zonjic is putting out crime art that is on par with any of the other fine pulpy comics nominated for Eisners and gaining rave reviews. He doesn’t overplay any scenes or characters, and yet the emotion and draining lethargy of the chase ooze off the page. Jon looks like a man on the edge and Jake Ellis is equal parts creepy and intriguing. He’s a visual that probably works best on the comics page, and he might just be my favorite creation of this year.
“Who Is Jake Ellis?” is a top notch crime comic that delivers a little more than you might expect. You need to buy this comic, make no mistake. A raging internal thriller with lots of mystery and just as much action. The further you go the more you’ll know, and the more you’ll love this book.