Last month, the prequel comic to the current 24 miniseries on Fox saw Jack Bauer trying to live a normal life while being hunted by the American and Russian governments… which of course means the best thing to do is hide out in Ukraine!
As you might have guessed, his new girlfriend and her family get into some trouble, bringing Jack back into the business of international ass kicking. This issue sees him continue to try and protect his new loved ones against the Russian mob… and maybe more. Is it good?
24: Underground #2 (IDW Publishing)
By the power of a cruel and contrived coincidence, the Russian mobster trying to kill the brother of Jack’s girlfriend knows him. It also turns out that Mr. Bauer killed this man’s brother, leading to a nice bit of malicious symmetry with which he now has to contend.
After Jack tries talking his way out of a standoff (which never works), he starts firing bullets and fists while simultaneously attempting to convince his almost brother-in-law, Petro, that he’s not really a former CIA agent.
This is how real men negotiate, nancy boy!
They run back to Petro’s house, where Jack gets to kill a few more mobsters in a pretty cool scene before hustling them out the door to escape.
Meanwhile, the United States government has decided that Jack is running meth (which would explain him TRYING TO HIDE IN UKRAINE FROM THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT). They begin a pursuit of Bauer from a completely different angle, but with even more tenacity than the mobsters still hot on his tail have demonstrated.
“Are we sure it’s not cocaine? That stuff’s a helluva drug.”
The issue ends with Jack telling Petro that they need to go get his girlfriend/Petro’s sister. Unfortunately for them, she has already in the process of being turned from a character into a plot device.
Is It Good?
In my review of this series’ first issue, I fanboyed pretty hard over the return of Jack Bauer. I admitted that the story was derivative, but it was classic 24 and worth a read. I even cribbed his classic ‘Trust Me’ plea while attempting to convince the reader that this series was worth your time.
I’m afraid that I may have broken that trust.
It should be noted that none of this is necessarily Paul Brisson’s (writer) or Michael Gaydos’ (artist) fault. The pencils are fantastic, the action flows, and the dialogue is all there… but wow, this issue just didn’t do it for me.
Brisson is hampered by a plot that must resolve itself leading into a television miniseries that has the benefit of Jack’s supporting cast. Meanwhile, Brisson has to make sure nothing he does is too drastic so that it would change what happens/happened on screen.
He’s doing pretty well with all of that taken into consideration, but the tale still feels so by the numbers that it’s maddening.
- Jack tries to be happy and free of his old life, Jack gets pulled back in.
- Jack tries to love someone, that person ends up getting hurt.
- We’ve seen it all before…and since this is a prequel, we know pretty much exactly how it’s going to end.