A Heist With Math, Bullets, And Universal Powers

Our Story Thus Far features a comic series that hasn’t completed its current story-arc, but we couldn’t wait to write about it because it’s so good.


jackpot-4-coverJackpot #4

Written By: Ray Fawkes
Art By: Georges Duarte
Published: November 16, 2016 by Aftershock Comics

When this book first came out I was floored. I hadn’t ever read a book wherein there’s a hustle going on, a bunch of thieves are running different games, all leading to the biggest hustle wherein everything turns out far different than we thought. I mean, I’ve seen that in movies hundreds of times, but Jackpot was the first comic I’ve read with that premise. I was excited because it was a great first issue, and then issue two hit. Suddenly there was a development wherein everything sort of changed, and with the addition of that change I had no clue just how good things could get.

With this latest issue of Jackpot we’ve come nearly full circle with our story. It looks like everything is going to wrap up in the next issue, or at the very least, this story-arc will find its ending. That being said, in such a short amount of time, so much has happened and so many surprises have been delivered that what I thought was a great book, well, it got better.

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Now, I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible, but in order to do this current issue justice, I’m going to have to talk about one main plot point openly. If you don’t want anything spoiled then allow me to say, this book is great, maybe one of Aftershock’s best books being published at the moment, and my recommendation to everyone is to check it out. Now that I’ve said that…SPOILERS INCOMING.

What starts out as a heist story quickly turns into a sci-fi/fantasy style story. Not in terms of the time period, everything stays modern day, but one of the characters suddenly controls time and space. In the book we learn that this “superpower” is coming from her ability to understand something called “The Calculus.” It’s sort of a universal code, like the base programming language of the entire universe. It’s highly complicated, obviously, and no one person seems to be able to understand all of it.

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We learn that there’s only a handful of people that understand any of it, and each of them only understand a section that the others does not. Thus each of these people are capable of doing wildly crazy things. One can traverse time, another can manipulate matter…so and so forth. Then we’re confronted with the problem. Our girl, Dominique, the one that understands The Calculus, is faced with a rather precarious problem. Her ability to decipher, and extrapolate The Calculus has landed her smack in the middle of this ultra powerful group. They want her ability to extrapolate more code, but obviously they don’t want her getting any stronger.

All of this is happening while her thieving, hustling, friends are in the midst of a caper wherein Dominique was supposed to be helping. Things have gone…well…they’ve gone to crap and escape isn’t even looking hopeful. They’re hurt, attempting to get away while being chased by multiple cars full of people ready to kill. Bullets are flying everywhere, and about a third of the way through the book, their car goes spinning into the air like a frisbee after being run off the road. Yeah, things aren’t looking too good for Dominique’s friends, and her own situation looks rather bleak as well.

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I’ll stop with the story spoilers here, because the twists and turns that take place, once all of that’s setup, left me speechless with a smile from ear to ear. If there’s one thing that grabs me in a story, if there’s one aspect of storytelling that I love, it’s cleverness. I love when a creator manages to put an impossible situation in front of their characters, and through sheer imagination and thought, they produce a wildly interesting way for things to resolve. Also, please don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying things resolve in Jackpot #4, but I am saying that Fawkes has set things up so beautifully that cleverness and surprise are just oozing out of this story.

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Then, if that isn’t enough, we have a new artist on this book. I’m not sure what happened to Marco Failla, as I thought his work was wonderful on this book. However, what Georges Duarte has brought to the table is absolutely wonderful. His style is extremely expressive, movement driven, the character have feeling and emotion, and his storytelling and pacing is spot on.

I know the last issue of this book was last published back in July, which for those of us that were loving the ride was a rough wait. Yet, this book is back and better than ever. Things are moving at killer speeds, characters are getting down and dirty with the plot. Conflict is at a high point, and this book has returned with a fury. I can’t wait for the next issue, and my hope is there are many more issues of this series to come.

You can read this on ComiXology, and read it you should.

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