Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Jumper: Jumpscars #1

Jumper: Jumpscars #1, January 2008, Oni Press
writers: Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir
artist: Brian Hurtt
colorist: Jared M. Jones
letterer: Douglas E. Sherwood
editor: James Lucas Jones

Blogger's note: Entry for Sunday, February 16, 2008.

“Anywhere is possible.”

This is what the number one movie in America, Jumper, would have us believe. This tagline-turned-mantra has appeared on countless movie posters, Internet ads, and television promotions over the past few months, and, while it hasn’t inspired me to go see the film, it has rung true in one aspect of its shameless self-endorsements: its comic book. I found this free issue of Jumper: Jumpscars at a Gamestop in Buena Park, California, and I confess I prefer this strategic marketing technique over a pop-up of the film’s lead character obscuring two-thirds of my TV screen while I’m trying to watch Prison Break. If you’re going to kick off a science fiction franchise and feel compelled to initiate a back story, what better way than to publish a free comic distributed at video game stores? Talk about a target audience.

Unfortunately, Jumper: Jumpscars #1 didn’t blow me away. This prologue doesn’t feature a jumper but a paladin, a jumper-hunter with the solemn task of killing these superhumans before they realize their full potential. Did I mention that her target, a fifteen-year-old, is apparently older than most jumpers? So, her job is to kill confused children, a detail carelessly overlooked as we explore her past via a flashback in which she goes undercover and sympathizes with a young jumper/petty thief. When a store clerk gets caught in the jumper’s wake, materializes in the middle of the street and gets his by a car, I presume the cold look in the kid’s eyes is enough to elicit our hatred of all jumpers. This issue ends too abruptly for us to feel anything different. The guy gets run over and our paladin and her mentor bound after him, then . . . the end? The back cover ad dubs Jumpscars a graphic novel, so I presume that this issue is just a teaser for the larger product, but this explanation is an inference at best. Therefore, this freebie didn’t hook me so much as it just poked me. Made an impression, not enough to stick.

(Plus, "jumpscars" isn't really a word. Was "scars" just not enough? How 'bout "Hopbooboos?")

Frankly, when I saw the movie trailer for Jumper, I wasn’t that impressed in the first place. I thought, “Huh. Somebody must have liked the first few minutes of X-Men 2 and decided to make it a whole movie. Nightcrawler as a Laguna Beach reject with a conspiracy at his heels.” Some reviews have elevated Jumper to a greater degree, likening its developing mythology to The Matrix. I wonder if every superhero flick unconnected to a previously established comic book franchise is destined to this designation, so that a “mainstream audience” has a reference it can understand. I can appreciate its mimicry of The Matrix’s utilization of comics and animation to capture an audience, that’s for sure. Alas, when courting an audience as critical as the average fanboy lot, the only jump I perceive here -- is a leap of faith.

Anywhere is possible. Is that their assertion, or their hope?

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