Friday, July 8, 2016

CBR John Carpenter's Snake Plissken Chronicles

Having escaped from New York, but before ever getting to escape from Chicago and Los Angeles, Snake Plissken was now trying to Escape from Atlantic City!!

These are Snake Plissken's Chronicles!

Eyz takes a look at John Carpenter's impressive filmography in the following reviews:
John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China
Vol. 1: The Hell of the Midnight Road & The Ghosts of Storms
John Carpenter's Escape from New YorkJohn Carpenter's Escape from L.A.
The Adventures of Snake Plissken
Halloween series - Halloween (2007) - HII (2009)
Halloween (Chaos! Comics)
One Good Scare - NightDance - 30 Years of TerrorThe First Death of Laurie Strode
Christian Nyby's The Thing from Another World"Who Goes There?" and other scifi classics
John Carpenter's The Thing
The Thing from Another World (Dark Horse Comics)Climate of Fear
John Carpenter's Prince of DarknessJohn Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness
"They Live" and other scifi horror talesJohn Carpenter's They Live
John Carpenter's Village of the Damned / John Carpenter's The Ward

Comic title: John Carpenter's Snake Plissken Chronicles
Written by William O'Neill
Drawn by Tone Rodriguez

Published by CrossGen/Hurricane Entertainment
From January 2003
Lineup John Carpenter's Escape From series
Format: Limited mini-series John Carpenter's Snake Plissken Chronicles #1-4.

Sometimes a character can become a pop culture icon on his own right and leave a bigger mark than the piece of work he or she originally came from.

Specially when it comes from an obscure 1980s action film in a decade that gave us dozen of iconic action film classics. Strangely out of all of John Carpenter classics (Halloween aside):The Thing, They Live or Big Trouble in Little China ; only Escape from New York somehow received a proper direct sequel!

Escape from New York follows pretty closely your typical old west formula. In fact you could say its hero Snake Plissken is an archetypal western protagonist. That's why this character portrayed by Kurt Russell works so great on screen, he basically acts like Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name from Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy. He's a man of few words. He gets stuck in this situation, saves the day and basically tries to leave at the end to move on something else.

The 1981 film would received its long-overdue sequel just short of 15 years later - 1996's Escape from L.A.!

Following these two films several tie-in products were released after the two films over the decades, from novelizations to games, as well as several comic books and even an anime project at one point!

The first The Adventures of Snake Plissken was published by Marvel Comics in January 1997. Taking some place sometime in between both films, but before his famous "Escape from Cleveland" mentioned in the second film. A half-decade later Snake returned to the medium thanks to CrossGen. They wanted to continue the actual further adventures of Snake Plissken and began with the publication of a 4-part miniseries in 2003, John Carpenter's Snake Plissken Chronicles.

This comic was meant to be part of a multimedia project to bring the franchise back under the push of John Carpenter himself, which would have all been under the title of Snake Plissken Chronicles, but sadly only this first mini-series would actually be released to the public.

These Snake Plissken Chronicles are set immediately the next morning after the events seen in the movie Escape from New York. This first and only story-arc could as well have been titled "Escape From Atlantic City"!

We catch up with Snake, who is seen driving a military humvee, which he obtained when we last saw him after receiving his presidential pardon. Snake makes his way back to Atlantic City to finish a heist he had been working on when he was captured during the story of the first film.

The job? Stealing the car JFK was in back when he was assassinated! It's now stored in a collection in a casino. To deliver it to some rich buyer on a yacht in the gulf. Snake first meets with his partner-in-crime, a man named Marrs. But you see, Marrs got sick of waiting and he's about to do the job all by himself. Marrs double-crosses Snake and leaves him for dead in a sinking cage in the middle of the ocean!

Snake escapes, again, and he's saved by some fisherman named Captain Ron (hilariously named after the 1992 comedy a similar one-eed Kurt Russell starred in alongside Martin Short). At first Snake wants to kill the guy to steal his boat, but after saving Captain Ron from some Russian mobs after him the guy changes his mind and wants to help Snake!

The boat puts Snake right below the casino. He somehow arrives at the same time as Marrs. This all ends up in a gigantic car chase for most of the rest of the issues. With Snake taking in an involuntary actress from the casino portraying Jackie Kennedy as well! The casino owners as well as the returning Russian mob and Marrs all chase our unlikely trio of heroes.

Finally aboard the buyer's yacht Snake can finally sell the car for million of dollars, well most of what's left of the car anyhow. And it all ends up in one epic final confrontation with Marrs on the yacht on fire! Will Snake be able to finally make his escape with most of the cash...!?

Snake Plissken Chronicles is a fun series in the spirit of the two films. Definitively closer to the first film compared to the second one's extravaganza.

The series was well written by William O'Neill, perfectly written with the same type of tongue-in-cheek approach. With Snake's lines limited and brooding.

The art was penciled by Tone Rodriguez who does a great job with the likeness and the new characters. It's kind of what you'd expect from those early 2000s comics, but it fits the character.

The comics was meant to be an introduction, the first chapter of new ongoing adventures (and the answers to the fan letters certainly say that), but it does work as a sole first self-contained adventure.

CrossGen being CrossGen, they put out several alternate covers despite this only being a short 4-issue miniseries. The main covers were done by the artist Tone Rodriguez, while others did variants such as John Van Fleet, Travis Smith and Michael Golden. All pretty badass, mostly playing off the imagery from the original Escape films. But I didn't feel like missing out for not getting those, the last issue contains them all in a cover art gallery, like a trade paperback would!

Overall, John Carpenter's Snake Plissken Chronicles don't necessary feel like the next missing chapter we never got from an eventual 3rd film, but it's a fun miniseries fans would probably enjoy spending some time with.

Check it Out if you're a fan of the films, otherwise you might not really get much out of these comics.

This comic was originally meant to be the start of something much bigger, not only more comics were planned but at the same time John Carpenter was trying to launch several multimedia projects around the license to finally get the third film going. This Snake Plissken Chronicles multimedia project would also be covered by an unreleased video game developed at Namcom as well as an anime film produced by Production I.G possibly based on Carpenter and Kurt Russell's "Escape From Earth" concept. Sadly this whole venture was scrapped and all we got was Escape From Mars recycled into the Ghosts of Mars film...

But on the comic side, this wouldn't be the last we would see of Snake Plissken, he would finally return once more in 2014 through a new comic book series courtesy from BOOM! Studios. But that will remain for another time...

I give it:
2 / 3 Snoopies!

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