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24: One Shot

Posted: Thursday, July 29, 2004
By: Michael Deeley



Writers: J. C. Vaughn & Mark L. Haynes
Artist: Renato Guedes

Publisher: IDW

This comic looks at Jack Bauer’s first day on the job with the Counter Terrorism Unit in Los Angeles. He’s assigned to protect an IRA terrorist who’s turned herself in. Her former comrades are, naturally, trying to kill her.

I bought this because I was curious how they’d adapt the show’s “real time” quality to a comic book. Turns out, they just stick the “current time” at he top of every other page and tell the story as normal. Every two pages shows events that happen over the course of an hour. That doesn’t mean every pair of ages begins with “10 AM”, “11 AM”, etc. It means the panels show what happens between 10 and 11. Then between 11 and 12, and so on.

I’m overanalyzing this because the time isn’t a factor in the story. X number of minutes pass between the panels, just like any other comic book. What I’d rather have seen is a presentation of simultaneous action; parallel rows and columns of panels depicting events. That is a quality of the show that can be easily adapted into a comic. It’s also a storytelling technique rarely used in comics. So it would make reading the comic as unique an experience as watching the show.

I should say at this point, I’m not a viewer of “24”. I’ve seen a couple of episodes, and I get the gist of what’s happened. How this story compares to an episode of the series, I cannot say.

I can say that the art of Renado Guedes is so realistic, it sometimes looks like photographs. Unfortunately, it’s about as exciting as looking at someone else’s photographs. The action comes across as stiff. The characters look dull. I mean, we have a helicopter chase, an exploding gas station, multiple bazooka shootings, and a daring escape from a burning house. And yet, there was no excitement. The coloring is nice, but the combined effect is work that your eyes just slide over. The feeling is further reinforced by the slick magazine pages.

I wonder if IDW might have tried to trick comic book readers into buying this. When I saw the names “Vaughn” and Haynes” on the cover, I immediately thought, “Brian K. Vaughn” and “Rob Haynes”. They would have turned in a better story.

In the end, I have to call this a mediocre work. This isn’t worth the 7 bucks they’re charging. I’d give this if it wasn’t a painted comic. The art is dull, but it does look good.



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