Where we finally take a look at the book that broke the internet. We decided that we really love her despite her flaws. And we came to the final conclusion that Ya’ Boi Zak really loves GI Joe and the ’90s action flicks.
running with the devil
No one reading this website needs to re-hash how important Jawbreakers – Lost Souls are, nor do we really need to dive into any of the internet hurricanes that led to its release. If you don’t know the details, feel free to go here, here, or here, or simply have a look at Richard C.Meyer’s YouTube channel And you can read all about the long and sordid history behind this graphic novel. The details of how Jawbreakers – Lost Souls look are important, but not relevant to this review.
I can see for miles
Jawbreakers – Lost Souls is a visually stunning package. The cover by lead artist Ethan Van Sciver is one of his best, and I was a little sad that Myers couldn’t afford his page prices to do the entire comic, but only until I opened it. Artist John Malin brought his A game to this project and the result is lush and expansive landscapes, an inverted square law violating the giant ape that rules every page he resides on and plenty of great wall-to-wall works. Malin’s art is generally reminiscent of the best action-comedies of the ’90s. It’s amazing, and Malin’s art alone makes this graphic novel worth the price of admission.
Brett R. Smith’s colors are striking in their accuracy. He is a skilled professional and perhaps one of the best workers in the field. Smith’s work here is subtle and reduced to enhance the artwork. You don’t really notice how good the coloring is until about the third reading when you realize everything is so fine that you can tell what frikkin’ time of the day it is just by how to color each page.
The story is a lot of fun, but it’s kind of a Frankenstein monster. The plot starts out a bit weird, but in the end it doesn’t get bogged down in a lot of weird details. A monkey passes through a mystical portal, loses his soul, grows to an impossible size, and begins terrorizing the countryside. He starts trampling everyone’s biggies and eating all their treasures because…why not. Oh yeah, and there’s a cool looking cyborg warlord after the ape and the original IT guy who shows up to help explain how to beat the giant ape…kind of. Jawbreakers is an international team of mercenaries with supernatural powers hired by original warrior Xaxi to bring the giant ape to heels.
Team dynamics is where Mayer really shines. The characters have more depth than a little and you’ll get hints that there’s more backstory to each of these guys coming later. Banter between men is perfect military talk, whether they are making a situation report or drinking each other. Jawbreakers work well together as a finely polished military unit should. Even their support team is more than competent. Mayer writes the interaction between his various fellow Jawbreakers with ease. He draws great inspiration from GI Joe from Larry Hama and Mike Baron on The Punisher. Meyer keeps the plot moving like an out-of-control freight train blazing with an adrenaline junkie.
The story is so fast paced that Meyer seems to forget that we don’t know who these characters are or what their powers are doing. In fact, I found it amusing that the first scene with the Jawbreakers would have really benefited from Scott Pilgrim’s freeze frame montage with a few clever nods detailing the character and powers. Mayer sketches out the necessary in-between layout that would give the overall story a sense of internal logic. The relationship between the Kuffs and Xaxi, and the upbringing of the giant ape really suffers from the need for further camera exploration.
This is ultimately a small fist though. I understand why the story is so rushed. Meyer had no reason to expect that Jawbreakers – Lost Souls would sell as well as they did, and he cut the page count dramatically by including remastered copies of Jawbreakers’ first two floppy disks. He packed everything he could into the main plot of Lost Souls with the expectation that it might be the only shot he got. In hindsight, I think it would have been better to disassemble the relevant background bits from the first two Jawbreakers stories and weave them into the main narrative of Lost Souls.
The most important thing about Jawbreakers – Lost Souls and the thing that makes it better than anything currently coming out of Marvel and DC is that it’s done with moxie and a lot of heart. You can really tell that everyone who worked on this project actually cares about it. Meyer obviously loves these characters as much as he loves the comics, and I’m pretty sure there will be more Jawbreakers in the future. Meanwhile, Jawbreakers – Lost Souls is a great graphic novel package that’s like a double shot of Johnny Walker’s Black Label with ’70s classic rock playing the jukebox in the back. It will warm you up to your toes and make you smile.
Graphic Novel Review: Jawbreakers – Lost Souls
- cool art
- Exciting story
- so much fun
- Transfers are very fast
- Needs more backstory
- Hard to get a copy if you missed it