By various (Titan Books)
ISBN: 1-84576-220-7

Whether or not you’re a fan of a particular property, doesn’t really impact on the production of comic spin-offs these days – if indeed it ever did. I’ve read some very palatable comics and Graphic Novels that often outshone their TV or Movie antecedents and of course some of my favourite viewing has been forever soured by an inauspicious franchising deal.

The attempt to translate the multi-award winning television adventures of insomniac super-spy Jack Bauer falls somewhere between the two. As it would be next to impossible to duplicate the one hour equals one episode “real-time” format (1 comic page per hour?) the various creators have had to rely on action, dastardly evil-doers and the frankly limited characterisations of the TV cast.

That being the case, the three tales presented here are not that bad. ‘One Shot’ written by J. C. Vaughn and Mark L. Haynes with art by Renato Guedes, and set before the first series was broadcast, is a competent little thriller concerning an IRA terrorist turned supergrass and the Counter Terrorist Unit’s attempt to protect her from her very unhappy former associates. A powerful bonus for fans is the savvy use of characters we already know will soon be dead or exposed as shmucks or traitors.

‘Midnight Sun’ from the same creative team, and set during the first term of President Palmer, has our principal team sent to Alaska following the suspicious deaths of oil pipeline executives, possibly at the hands of Eco-terrorists, in another well-drawn if unchallenging thriller.

Manny Clark illustrates the last tale, ‘Stories’ which occurs during the time Agent Bauer was infiltrating the Salazar Drug Cartel (that’s between Seasons 2 and 3, if you’re counting). When Chechen terrorists interrupt a nefarious deal in a luxury hotel Jack has to do his thing without blowing his cover. Sadly the art, which looks like bad painting on hastily downloaded photographs, makes a dog’s dinner of a pretty good script, which pretty much kiboshes this better than average package.

Buy it if you’re a fan or can tolerate disappointment, but be warned, it all ends badly.

™ & © 2005 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.