Written by Si Spurrier | Art by Conor Boyle | Published by Titan Comics
Up to issue 3, and I’m still marveling that a book such as this is even being published in this day and age. To say it is a little different is just a slight understatement. Si Spurrier has done a good job of trying to find a hook, pun intended, to draw in the more worldly, cynical readers of today. Hook Jaw was a fairly easy sell back in the 70′s, on the back of Jaws, but not really now, outside of a fairly small nostalgia market. So Spurrier has taken the core concept of a super-intelligent shark, added a dash of gung-ho American navy divers and topical Somali pirates, with a twist of a ship of marine biologists, and mixed it all together.
Although a lot has gone on in the last two issues, it can be easily summarised as follows. Scientists are studying great white sharks near Somalia, and are attacked by Somali pirates. The U.S Navy arrive, with CIA in tow, searching for a mysterious container on the seabed, but can’t get to it because of the shark infested waters. The scientists agree to help the CIA with that, if they help rescue the kidnapped scientist held by the pirates. Oh, and the huge, super intelligent Hook Jaw is actually female. So there.
After a lot of hand wringing and soul searching over the death of a shark last issue, the scientists get down to the business of reluctantly helping the American military get to that container on the seabed. Turns out the container is missing, apparently stolen. As the team return to the surface all hell breaks loose as Hook Jaw arrives, and launches into the divers. Disaster is narrowly averted as Hook Jaw is scared off, for the time being, with just one kill. CIA operative Dow is not happy though, as Jasper, one of the scientists, has alerted eco-groups to the clandestine activity, and every eco-activist in a 50 mile radius has pitched up. Even worse, so have all the journalists too. Even even worse, so have all the shark hunters and fishermen.
Agent Dow does the only thing a peace-upholding agent of a democratic government can do. She rounds up the scientists, sticks them on land, and arranges for them to ‘disappear’. Just as things look very grim indeed, scientist Mag points out that the Somali pirates must have stolen their container and the pirates will deal with the scientists but not the military or CIA. Good save. While that offer is being debated, Mag notices the land they are on has an awful lot of bones. Not sea creatures as you would expect, but those of pigs. Not very usual, especially as Somalia is a Muslim country. Turns out someone has been feeding the great whites…
Another fun dose of schlocky humour and action, with Spurrier excelling at the humorous aside and the over the top characters and dialogue. Hook Jaw is the star of this book in name only, as she is the single focus that draws all the threads of the different characters together. The pirates worship Hook Jaw, the scientists want to study her, and the military just want her out the way. Three different groups, drawn together. Conor Boyle’s artwork is nicely done, nicely mixed up pacing wise between large panels and quick cut smaller panels. The sharks look nice and menacing too, and I like the detail in the underwater scenes. Nice graphics are obviously essential to such a visual story.
It’s not Shakespeare admittedly, but it is a slice of over the top fun that works very well. Think of it as a comic book version of a SyFy Channel original film and you won’t go far wrong.
Hook Jaw #3 is out now from Titan Comics.