Monday, May 09, 2005

ricketts' lazarus jack

Lazarus Jack was an acclaimed Houdini-like escape artist in the 1920s, but he’s now a bedridden nursing home inhabitant plagued by the memories of a black magic incident that cost him his family. When a mysterious stranger approaches Jack with an offer to give Jack his youth back, so that he may search for the members of his missing family, Jack accepts. Of course, Mr. Nemo’s offer comes with a price: Jack embarks on an adventure that sends him time-traveling and brings him into conflict with his family at different points in time. On this journey through fantastic worlds both seduced and devastated by black magic, Jack undergoes disturbing transformations, falls prey to an insane sorcerer, defies zero gravity, and ultimately confronts the demons from his past. Once Jack begins his quest, the action is non-stop and full of adventures that twist and turn. Illustrator Domingues’s panels resemble cartoon cels, with a slickly animated look, and the fresh coloring gives the art life. Ricketts attempts too much in one story – reuniting his hero with long-lost family members, exploring an alternate dimension, fighting treachery – without any one element having the resonance it should. Characters come and go without sufficient explanation or characterization. There are a lot of unexplained elements, but they don’t detract from the story. It doesn’t really seem important to know why there’s an alien lizard-dog that reverses Jack’s age. The suspension of disbelief happens easily enough, as one would expect when reading a tale of black magic and time-traveling. Readers looking for an entertaining action tale will find enough to satisfy them despite the flaws.


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