The Jam: Urban Adventure

   review of issues #1-11

This Jammer sure gets around. He started at Slave Labor. Then Tundra reprinted (and colorised) those first five issues. From there he moved to Dark Horse for a few issues. Now he’s at Caliber (a company which is rapidly moving toward the top my most-respected-publishers list). I hope he stays there a while, because it’ll help him to get the attention he deserves.

The Jammer is really Gordon Kirby, a likeable guy who just happens to enjoy roaming the rooftops in his pajamas*. Is he a superhero? Well, he did stop a mugging once. He’s done other Good Deeds, because they seemed like the right thing to do at the time, or because he was hired to. But he’s really just an ordinary fella, one who happens to have gone up against deluded terrorists, a mercenary psychiatrist, and minions of the Devil himself. Often without the costume.

*Actually, it’s a Sears jogging suit, with a hood added by his sister.

Comparisons with Mike Allred’s Madman are apt, especially since Mireault collaborated with Allred on the story in Caliber’s one-shot Creatures of the Id, which introduced the prototypical Frank Einstein (aka “Madman”) back in 1990. Both Frank and Gordie are innocents, who face the less-than-perfect world around them with humour and charm. Gordie’s mission? “To dominate the world with peace, love, and free beer.” He’s off to a good start.

So this is no grim-n-gritty dissection of the superhero genre, a la Alan Moore or Rick Veitch. It’s off-the-wall, quirky fun. (How can you fail to smile listening to the Flarks - a throng of religious fanatics in matching goggles - chanting, “2-4-6-8! Who do we assassinate?”) It’s also a thoughtful look at humanity and our relationships. (Gordie nags his girlfriend Janet about leaving the milk on the counter to spoil. She nags back about him leaving the toilet seat up. Meanwhile, Gord’s faithful pooch Harvey saves them from the tiny demons who just poked holes in their condoms. Y’know, typical slice-of-life stuff.)

Back issues have been a bit tricky to find. But don’t worry about mixing and matching the original Slave Labor and Tundra printings of the first five; aside from the color (or lack thereof), they’re the same story. And don’t be confused by the “_ of 5″ designation on the Tundra printings; Dark Horse’s #6 picks up where they left off, with a new story arc called, “…Said the Madman” (no connection to Frank Einstein).

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