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Adventures of Jack Burton

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138-at-popapostle-dot-com
Adventures of Jack Burton: The Jack is Wild Adventures of Jack Burton
"The Jack is Wild"
Big Trouble in Little China #18 (BOOM! Studios)
Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Dan McDaid
Colors by Gonzalo Duarte
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Cover by Joe Eisma
November 2015

 

Jack plays a high stakes game of poker for the souls of himself and his friends.

 

Story Summary

 

While Jack takes on a number of sorcerers in a poker game for the souls of himself and his friends, Winona is reunited with her sister, Wang is reunited with his ex-wife Miao Yin and is invited to dinner with her and her husband, and another familiar face lurks in the background.

 

CONTINTUED IN BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #19

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue

 

Koschei

Eddie Lee

Jack Burton

Yu Shi

Wang Chi

Winona Chi

Miao Yin

Gracie Law

Margo Litzenberger

Whitney Chi

Thunder

Rain

Lightning

Egg Shen 

 

Didja Know?

 

Most of the issues of this series did not have individual titles. I used the title "The Jack is Wild" given in the next issue blurb of the previous issue. The phrase is borrowed from a poker term used by the dealer when declaring that a certain card or suit will be considered a wild card for the current hand.

 

Didja Notice?

 

On page 1, Winona remarks on her father's attitude with the comment, "Boy, these happy-happy, joy-joy pills really work..." The pills she is referring to are the Xanax her father stole from the pharmacy next to his restaurant. The "happy-happy, joy-joy" phrase comes from The Ren & Stimpy Show cartoon series of 1991-1995.

 

On page 2, Jack points out that Koschei has a coke spoon hanging around his neck!

 

Jack reassures Gracie that he's Dysart's Truck Stop Texas hold 'em champ three years running. There is an actual Dysart's Truck Stop in Bangor, Maine, so maybe that's the place he's referring to! Texas hold 'em is a variation of poker. Jack's championship was previously mentioned in Big Trouble in Mother Russia.

 

On page 4, Koschei refers to Jack as "mullet boy". He is referring to the infamous mullet haircut Jack wears, short to the front and sides and long in the back.

 

On page 5, the giant tortoise seen behind Whitney may the same one ridden by P'an Ku, first seen in "Fool's Errand". To the right of Whitney a large, green being in torn clothing sitting in the background may the Hulk from the Marvel Comics universe.

 

On page 6, panel 3, the person seen from behind on the far left appears to be Gambit from the Marvel Comics universe.

 

On page 7, Whitney gives Winona a pack of Coughing Dragon cigarettes. This is a fictitious Chinese brand.

 

Also on page 7, a flashback to the sisters' childhood has Whitney saying that Joe Backy makes smoking look cool. Joe Backy is the fictitious tobacco mascot cartoon character introduced in "The Samurai of Wall Street". The cartoon character seen on the TV in the background is Joe Backy (again, first seen in "The Samurai of Wall Street"). Joe Backy is a play on the Joe Camel (or Old Joe) advertising mascot of Camel cigarettes, believed by many to have been aimed at priming children for a future of smoking Camel cigarettes.

 

The figure with the flaming skull for a head at the bottom of page 7 may be Ghost Rider from the Marvel Comics universe. The figure next to him may be fellow Marvel Comics character Wolverine in his alias as Patch, known to hang around the Orient.

 

During Jack's first poker game in this issue, the "Harry Potter" character previously glimpsed in "Big Trouble in Little Heaven" is one of the players. Here, he seems to have a star symbol on his forehead instead of the lightning bolt shaped one. The man in the stovepipe hat kind of seems like a cross between the rock performers Slash and Rob Zombie. The girl with the twisted head may be Regan MacNeil, the 12-year old victim of possession by the demon Pazuzu in the 1973 film The Exorcist.

 

Looking at his poker opponents in the first round, Jack pegs one woman as a tree-hugger and figures he can finesse her with the story of how he drove for the underground whale-road to get orcas away from theme parks. "Underground whale-road" seems to be a largely made-up, playful term for the efforts by some people to return captive orcas (killer whales) to the wild. But this effort has mostly only existed since the 1990s and up, so it would be unlikely Jack would have participated in the 1980s and has not been back in the world of the living for more than a few days since his revival in 2015 in "Encino Man" (and busy with other things the entire time).

 

The Three Storms (Thunder, Rain, and Lightning) explain the rules of Texas hold 'em to the players. This is the first appearance of the Storms since Jack woke up in 2015. They were last seen in 1986 in "The Legendary San Francisco Mystic Kung Fu Showdown and Knife Fight". The betting structure, small blind and big blind designations, and other rules explained by the Storms are legitimate rules of some variations of the game (though the art panels for the descriptions of the flop, the turn, and the river don't match the current hand stated for each description!).

 

On page 16, panel 2, the person with a skull-like face in the background may be Skeletor from the Masters of the Universe franchise of toys, animated series, and comics.

 

On page 17, the stovepipe hat guy tells Jack he is a Woodooist. "Woodoo" is another term for Voodoo or Voodou. He mentions the loa and les invisibles; these are both terms for the spiritual beings who are go-betweens between humanity and God and who may grant power or favors to those to who pray to or serve them.

 

The black woman at Jack's poker table tells him she is a bluid. This does not seem to be a recognized type of sorcery by name, but is likely a play on "druid" considering that Jack earlier pegged her as a tree-hugger.

 

On page 19, "Regan" grows impatient with the amount of time Jack is spending on deciding his next move in the game and she says, "The demon lord Haggasoth demands satisfaction!!" Haggasoth appears to be a fictitious demon (as opposed to a real one).

 

After being excoriated by "Regan", Jack tells her to keep her pea soup down. In The Exorcist, pea soup was used by the effects crew of the film as the projectile vomit Regan hurls at Father Karras during a well-known scene in the film. On page 20, "Regan" does puke up a green substance in her outrage at having been outplayed by Jack.


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