New Feature! Comics You Should Be Reading highlights the Image series Who is Jake Ellis?
Comics You Should Be Reading is a new feature here on the Outhouse, featuring a rotating panel of Outhouse writers highlighting some of the best, underheralded books out today.
Who is Jake Ellis? written by Nathan Edmonson and illustrated by Tonci Zonjic
Synopsis of the book: Jon Moore your typical con artist/spy on the run from the CIA. He keeps a low profile, gets into the occasional scuffle with his pursuers and has an omniscient helper named Jake Ellis who no one else can see or hear but has the ability to help him out of any jam. Okay, maybe he's not that typical after all.
The plot in Who is Jake Ellis? involves exactly why Jon Moore is on the run from the CIA and exactly how he came to be entangled with Jake Ellis, whose true identity is slowly being revealed. Jake is literally a human shadow who follows Jon around and may simply be a part of Moore's psyche. There's a little bit of friction between the two, much like any pair of people who are constantly around each other for every moment of the day. However, Ellis also acts as a guardian angel of sorts, with a seeming foreknowledge of places and events and a gift for knowing what the next step is in any situation.
The book was originally slated to be a miniseries, but the strong sales (for an Image title) and critical acclaim (pages of Who is Jake Ellis? appeared in USA Today) gave Image the green light to upgrade the book to an ongoing series.
Reasons why it's awesome: Who is Jake Ellis? is a great spy series. Unlike other spy comics like Secret Warriors or Secret Avengers, there's a level of reality present in the book despite the fact that one of its principal characters is a shadowy being who may or may not be a figment of Jon Moore's psyche. There's a gritty, unpolished feel to Jon Moore's actions, which becomes even clearer when the reader discovers his backstory. His behavior is that of a man not entirely sure how or why he's in the situation he's in.
Nathan Edmonson and Tonci Zonjic should be commended for bringing a smart, exciting spy comic that doesn't involve supergadgets, unaffiliated evil organizations and a man in an eyepatch who knows EVERYTHING.
If you like _________, then you'll like this book: The best comparison I can make is to the Bourne movies. Both Bourne and Jake Ellis have an extraordinary set of skills but with little clue as to how they got them. Both have shadowy government organizations chasing after them and an unresolved connection to said organization. Sure, Jake might not be real but he's pretty badass for a shadowy bald guy.
Don't take my word for it: Nathan Edmonson, the writer of Who is Jake Ellis?, thinks you should read the book to! When asked why people should pick up his book, here's what he had to say:
"I don't expect folks to need a reason beyond Tonci Zonjic's art, but if you're on the fence, I say give this title a try for the chemistry between artist and writer. Two storytellers with one mind for execution--it's a fabulous thing. And as for the story, if you're not captivated by the idea of an invisible man telling you what to do and how to do it--and from whom you can never escape; if you're not into international espionage and military secrets, high-stakes action and cunning con-artistry, then this book isn't for you. But if those strike your chord? Don't hesitate. Pick it up--and tell us what you think!"
Best pick-up point: The series is only three issues old and copies should still be available at your local LCS. If not, here's a link where you can order the first issue online.
Final Thoughts: This is a series that has gotten a little bit of hype but really appeals to a wide audience. If you like a good action story with spy shenanigans and intrigue, than this book is for you!
Written or Contributed by: Christian Hoffer