REVIEW: ‘Jack of Spades’ #1

(Sourcepoint Press, 2014)

Written by Trico Lutkins
Art by Joshua Werner

I love social media, from a comic book and reviewer standpoint, because of the ability it gives me to get into contact with people actually working in the industry. To know that the writer of a book read my review and enjoyed it, or that I caught the subtlety in a piece of art that the artist hoped the reader would get, it makes it all worth it.

That being said, the comic book industry is a vastly busy place, even at my lowly reviewer level. It starts on Thursday, the day after new books have been released, when the lull begins to die amidst the confusion of new preview books being early released for reviews. It ramps up as we go into the weekend, and usually by Monday morning I’ve got seven books picked out to review before Wednesday, NEW COMIC BOOK DAY, and then it all starts over again.

The disadvantage of this constant barrage of new books is that the small ones may often get looked over amidst the confusion. I like to review indie books. Very often I see something on the verge, and it’s exciting to be there “near the beginning”.

Sourcepoint Press is a small publisher that I’ve recently become aware of, founded in 2012, they focus on novels, anthologies, graphic novels, and…obvious drum roll…comics.

Jack of Spades #1 is one of those comics. In it there is a blend of everything that is popular in the genre. It’s a blend of Kurt Busiek and Frank Miller. In the city of Nuevas Vegas, people with powers are a common occurrence. So much so that there is legislature in the works to install a “nullorum” (a device that will nullify their powers) in all state buildings, towards the goal that all people will be on equal footing. Of course the “parahumans” (powered ones) are not very happy with this idea.

Toss into the mix John, a casino dealer who spends his off time as the vigilante-for-hire Jack of Spades. Jack is available to the highest bidder, a contractor who specializes in taking out parahumans. His most recent job involves the kidnapped parahuman son of a rich man, and Jack takes the job because the payoff is so high. Little does he know that he is but a pawn in a much larger game, one that will come to light more clearly in issue two.

I like this book for a couple of reasons. First of all, any time a couple of guys get together over an idea and have the tenacity and fortitude to push through all of the mumbo-jumbo and get something made, someone should take notice. Secondly, when that product is well written and drawn, you have the feeling that you were there when something was at its’ opening stages, before it got popular. Jack of Spades has that potential.

Trico Lutkins writes this like it’s a noir film. You can see the influences of Frank Miller here, as well as in Joshua Werner’s art. There are beautiful dames and sinister businessmen. You get the feeling that no one is trustworthy, least of all the narrator, who remains a mystery still. I like the design of the character. Jack of Spades has a Green Hornet feel to the design, with the domino mask and fedora, and we get a little Nightwing feel with Dice, the Spade’s sidekick. It’s a black and white book, and that works perfectly for the tone.

If you like superheroes and noir, great art and great writing, and supporting a small book with huge potential, then look no further, pick up Jack of Spades and get in at the beginning of something special.

Jack of Spades is available for purchase here.

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Brad-profilepicBrad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.

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