Finally, the finale of “Who is Jake Ellis?” has arrived. The fourth issue of the supernatural thriller came out back in April, making the ensuing six months a long wait for the series-ending fifth issue where the truth behind the relationship between Jon and his ghostly guide Jake is revealed. The series has been high octane and briskly paced to this point and the final issue deviates somewhat. The tension isn’t decreased, but the pacing slows down considerably.
The answer to the book’s eponymous title is a tough one to find satisfying completely. A story that’s built on a mystery premise like this, though, rarely has a solution that’s satisfying, because anything too logical has been guessed and is unsurprising, while anything surprising is illogical or comes out of nowhere. Basically, Nathan Edmondson and Tonci Zonjic put themselves in a position where no ending would be a home run. Thankfully, the duo go for an ending that makes sense rather than something crazy in the hopes of surprising us.
What we get is a solution that allows for Jon to really show off why he’s the sort of guy we were right in rooting for the entire series. A bond has been forged between Jon and Jake and, when it calls for an act of determined friendship, Jon comes through. Putting the character in that position allows for an emotionally satisfying ending; and isn’t that better than a twist that surprises?
Zonjic’s art definitely makes the wait worth it. His work on the series has been nothing short of phenomenal, and this final issue is no exception. He has a soft, cartoony style that relies on lots of blacks and not a lot of intricate detail without seeming like anything is missing. What really impresses in this issue is the color work. In the first few pages, he goes through a number of different lighting approaches, all moody and dark, and that’s to build to a bright, regular light that dominates the expository scene. When you turn the page and find them bright, it affects our eyes like it does Jon’s: we’re overwhelmed and its hurts a little.
His storytelling approach is remarkably simple and direct. It’s like he gives a step-by-step visual process of what happens and it’s compelling and visually exciting. His art is deceptively simple, but he does a lot of the little things right like Jon’s reflection in the side of a car that no one would miss if it weren’t there, or the thin, faded lines he uses after the bright lights are turned on, eventually settling into darker, more solid lines.
As the end to a high-energy thriller, “Who is Jake Ellis?” #5 succeeds. The answer to the title’s question isn’t one that will blow you away; it makes sense and facilitates character work, which is exactly what you want. If you didn’t buy the series, give the trade a look.