Jook Joint #1 Review - Trigger Warning, These Ladies Don't F**K Around.
Updated: Jul 7
• Alitha E. Martinez & Shari Chankhamma (Cover Artists)
• Shari Chankhamma (Colorist) • Publisher (Image Comics)
Jook Joint is a shockingly brutal comic that has a great premise. if it tightens up in a couple of areas it may be one of the most memorable reading experiences of 2018-2019.
The story follows the happenings of a Louisiana Juke Joint. It's run by a group of women that seem to have a supernatural bent and prey on men that abuse women and violate the rules of the establishment.
The comic doesn't really spell out what's going on with the residents of the Jook Joint but I'm sure we'll learn more as the story develops. They share traits of Vampires but the lead character, Mahalia is able to travel during the day so that throws the Vampire idea into question.
During a wild and horrific night in the Joint, Mahalia takes interest in one of the patrons, Heloise. Heloise and her daughter are victims of domestic violence. After conducting a ritual to influence her, Heloise is drawn to Mahalia the next day. Heloise asks for help and is given a protection bag to put in her window. Mahalia continues to influence the woman by pushing her into the direction of killing her husband. The comic ends with Heloise following the directions of Mahalia and wondering if she's done the right thing.
Tee Franklin acknowledges the fact that she was the victim of domestic violence. This series comes out of her writings while she was going through therapy. Seeing that this story was inspired by such a dark experience, it's understandable that the comic is so brutal.
The women of Jook Joint are Alpha predators. The violence isn't pretty and a couple of scenes actually made me wince. The only issue I have with the script is that I think the comic should have been slightly longer. I suspect that there may a better cliffhanger a few pages away.
After reading the comic I handed it to my wife and she loved the strength of the lead character. We had an interesting chat about the comic. It was a great experience because I rarely share my hobby with her.
Alitha E. Martinez is the artist of Jook Joint. She's amazing and gets points for making all of the characters look distinct. I also appreciate that the Women of Jook Joint come in all shapes and sizes.
My only gripe with the art direction is with the colors and inks. Considering that the story is set in a Creole "Juke Joint", I would have expected the colors to be more distinct and vibrant. Instead, we're given a lot of drab brown or muted colors that tend to bleed together. I'm sure this is an artistic choice due to the horror elements,
There are a couple of scenes where it's hard to make out what's happening. One victim, for example, falls under the influence of a voodoo doll and is blinded. We aren't given any reason to how or why this is happening so it just comes off as brutal for the sake of. a few more lines of dialogue or slightly different artistic choices would have helped.
Aside from technical gripes Jook Joint is great and could easily translate to a television series or a movie. I'm interested in seeing where the story goes. The premise is interesting and if the revelations continue to be imaginative the series may develop into a classic.