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Adventures of Jack Burton

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138-at-popapostle-dot-com
Adventures of Jack Burton: The Luck of the Righteous Fool Adventures of Jack Burton
"The Luck of the Righteous Fool"
Big Trouble in Little China #12 (BOOM! Studios)
Story by John Carpenter and Eric Powell
Writer: Eric Powell
Artist: Brian Churilla
Colorist: Gonzalo Duarte
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Cover A: Brian Churilla
July 2015

 

Jack confronts Lo Pan over the Black Serpent's Tongue.

 

Story Summary

 

P'an Kun casts a spell over Jack's dead body to preserve it until the time when/if his soul escapes from Hell. But P'an Kun warns Egg and Shen that it may be a long wait, as time in the realm of spirits does not move the same as in the world of men.

 

Meanwhile, Jack and Slinky enter the Hell of Ice and Sorrow and eventually come across a hole issuing green steam and light melted into the side of an ice mountain. They enter it and follow the tunnel down to the end, where Lo Pan is uses the Breath of the Green Flame to melt his way to where the Black Serpent's Tongue is frozen in the ice. Confronting the two, Lo Pan using the Green Flame to turn Slinky into a pile of bones and leave Jack with his lower body encased in ice, unable to escape. The evil sorcerer promises to leave Jack in agonizing torment before returning to the mortal world. Having dispatched his foes thus, Lo Pan resumes his work melting the ice and soon comes upon the gigantic sword he seeks. But, just as he's about to touch the sword, a comparatively-sized fist smashes through the ice on the other side of it and grasps it. The gigantic god Yama bursts through the ice with the sword now in hand.

 

The shattering of ice frees Jack from his entrapment. Yama sees Lo Pan and Jack and states that he's been trapped within the frozen walls for countless eons and is ready to return to his brethren beyond the stars. Yama tells the pair before him that he will grant the blade and command of all kingdoms of Hell to the one who is the most worthy, asking, "What great deeds have given fear and honor to your name?" Jack responds with a tale of driving a load of hogs from Kansas City to Tallahassee with no sleep, going on a 48-hour bender of beer and poker, and having a spitting contest with Mabel before passing out. Lo Pan relates his accomplishments as a warrior-sorcerer who has won countless battles, enslaved nations, drank the blood of his enemies, commands the Three Storms, and has now freed Yama himself.

 

Pondering for a few moments, Yama finally decides he'd rather give the sword to the idiot and hands it to Jack. As soon as Jack touches the sword, a cosmic boom rattles the ice cave and Yama vanishes, replaced with a now-gigantic Jack. Jack uses the sword to carve a gash in the ice floor, from which grasping red hands seize Lo Pan and drag him to face the dark gods to whom he made promises of 10,000 souls from the mortal world. Jack then uses the sword's power to reanimate Slinky. He gives Slinky the sword and rulership over Hell. The ecstatic Slinky declares his first decree will be the establishment of Taco Tuesday.

 

19 years later, Jack's preserved body is on display as the Amazing Ossified '80s Man at a truck stop in Arizona. The body suddenly comes to life, scaring all but one of the tourists away. Jack asks what's going on and where he is. Learning he is in 2015, Jack laments, "Maybe I should have stayed in Hell?!"

 

CONTINTUED IN BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #13

 

Notes from the Jack Burton chronology

 

The end of this issue jumps Jack 19 years forward in time to the year 2015. The issues after this take place in 2015, approximately concurrent with the time of publication.

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue

 

Wang Chi

Egg Shen

P'an Ku

Tai Sui

Jack Burton

Slinky

Lo Pan

Miao Yin (mentioned only)

Yama

Mabel (mentioned only)

Thunder (mentioned only)

Rain (mentioned only)

Lightning (mentioned only)

 

Didja Know?

 

The issues of this series did not have individual titles. I chose the title "The Luck of the Righteous Fool" based on a line of dialog in this issue about Jack's propensity to survive the unlikeliest scenarios.

 

Didja Notice?

 

On page 2, Tai Sui remarks that Egg and Wang were supposed to bring back beer. He told them to bring back beer in "No Exit".

 

The artwork of the form and costume of Yama seen in this issue is reminiscent of the art of comic book superstar Jack Kirby (1917-1994).

 

Asked to declare what great deeds of his have given fear and honor to his name, Jack tells Yama that he once hauled a load of hogs from Kansas City to Tallahassee on no sleep.

 

Jack also tells Yama that he had a spitting contest with a 300 lb. short order cook named Mabel. This may be the same "bartender" called Mable (different spelling) previously seen in "So Long, Chinatown" and "The Extraterrestrial Highway".

 

Lo Pan tells Yama that he is the master of the Burning Blade. The Burning Blade was used in the marriage ceremony of Lo Pan to Miao Yin and Gracie Law in Big Trouble in Little China.

 

When Jack hands the Black Serpent's Tongue to Slinky, making him the new ruler of Hell, Slinky says, "Boy, they better expect changes around here! I think I'll start with a Taco Tuesday!" Taco Tuesday is something of a tradition at many restaurants in the United States of offering special deals on tacos during limited hours on Tuesday nights.

 

Jack's preserved body is found to be on display at Prospector Pete's Truck Stop and Quickie Annulments in Arizona in 2015. The exhibit is known as the Amazing Ossified '80s Man. Prospector Pete's Truck Stop and Quickie Annulments is obviously a satirical business for the story. "Ossified" means to have hardened like bone, so I guess the spell P'an Kun placed on Jack's body to preserve it must have also hardened it. 

 

Unanswered Questions

 

How did Jack's body wind up as the Amazing Ossified '80s Man at Prospector Pete's Truck Stop in Arizona? Shouldn't Wang have been keeping a better eye on his friend? 


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