cover image Hook Jaw, Vol. 1

Hook Jaw, Vol. 1

Si Spurrier and Conor Boyle. Titan, $16.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-78276-805-0

There’s a lot of narrative complexity in this tale, which is a surprise, since it’s about a vengeful shark with a harpoon sticking out of its maw. In fact, the eponymous shark­­—who originally starred in action/horror comics in the 1970s—often feels like an afterthought, with most of the drama and menace centered around Somali pirates, rogue Navy SEALs, and shady U.S. government operatives. Hook Jaw really only comes into play as a threat when someone sits a little too close to the water. The story opens with researchers studying sharks in Somali waters. They are captured by pirates and then rescued by Navy SEALs, who soon become antagonists as well. That setup opens a sprawling narrative featuring an unwieldy cast of characters. Writer Spurrier (The Shadow, Judge Dredd) requires readers to keep track of everyone’s ulterior motives and conspiracies—threads that would work in an espionage thriller but only distract in a survival story about a human-hunting shark. Artist Boyle (Futurequake) handles the details of blood-soaked water well, but his human figures are a bit more shaky. (Aug.)