Hook Jaw #1

In the troubled waters off Somalia, a rag-tag group of marine scientists studying a pack of female great white sharks find themselves caught in a conflict between pirates and the might of the US Navy. But why is the CIA so interested in the work of the scientists? And just how will they face up to the shadowy terror of the legendary great white – HOOK JAW?!

Hook Jaw is a surprising little gem of a comic.

Generally “beast-sploitation” comics run the way of all B-movies: a formulaic excuse to watch toothsome creatures rip apart partially-clothed partiers. There’s a bungled government experiment; then a conveniently-located party; then Raar, Aiee, Rip-rip there go the teenagers. Eventually the poor misbegotten critter gets blown up. Nerd gets girl. Roll credits.

But Hook Jaw goes an entirely different route: we start with (relatively) realistic scientists conducting realistic research into great white sharks, even tossing in a few actual scientific facts. The sharks come off not as movie monsters, but as wild animals. When the Featured Creature shows up – at the end of a slow, gradual buildup – it is horrifying because it defies all their expectations. This shouldn’t be as big of a twist as it is, but in the context of the B-movie formula, it was a revelation.

It helps that the writing in this comic is just a step below bloody brilliant. It’s quirky, darkly goofy, and brings the characters fully into life. The art isn’t beautiful, but it certainly serves the story well. I thought the appearance of Hook Jaw itself was one of the best in any monster comic: not overblown, but just doomy enough to justify the shock of the characters witnessing its arrival.

I’m excited to see what bloody mayhem Hook Jaw will be serving up next. Count me as a fan.

Final Verdict: 4 out of 5.

Hook Jaw #1 can be found at Titan Comics

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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