Review: Escape From New York #10

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EFNY_10_A_MainPublisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Maxim Šimić
Colours: Marissa Louise
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire

Sebela and Šimić continue their take on John Carpenter’s dystopian classic this month with the series’ 10th issue, which sees Snake Plissken venture further into the grimy depths of the prison city, in search of a renegade president.

There’s a new Duke of New York in Escape From New York #10, and he’s got big ideas about the future of the city – but is he what he appears to be? Plissken’s attempt to assassinate him goes awry, and the one-eyed vigilante ends up with another bounty on his head and hordes of violent thugs in hot pursuit. There’s 60 blocks of hell between him and the Duke, but one way or another, Snake’s going to get his man.

Christopher Sebela really nails the gritty dialogue that made the original film so much fun, staying just the right side of self-parody to keep it believable. His Plissken is very much a continuation of Kurt Russell’s embittered and embattled ex-soldier, and he even takes the character to a slightly darker place, given that the objective of his self-imposed mission is simply an execution. The various Edenic descriptions of Central Park, the Duke’s utopian vision for New York and a Native American tribe’s plan to retake a lost city which once belonged to them are all great ideas which really flesh out the setting of Escape From New York #10, adding to the mythology of the franchise as well as enhancing the story.

It’s a shame then that Maxim Šimić‘s artwork isn’t a match for Sebela’s storytelling flair, and generally has the look of a rushed job. While there’s some good use of shadow to illustrate a city dominated by darkness, there’s also a sparseness to the issue’s panels which doesn’t enhance the comic’s atmosphere, but rather undermines it. The grimy details of a dystopian New York are what we want to see, and Šimić’s pared-down approach falls short.

Escape From New York #10 is a fun read for anyone who enjoyed the original film, and shows the series developing into an intriguing story in its own right. It’s not going to change the world, but there’s plenty of mileage yet in the continuing adventures of Snake Plissken, artwork notwithstanding.