Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Review: JOOK JOINT #1

IMAGE COMICS – @ImageComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Tee Franklin
ART: Alitha E. Martinez
COLORS: Shari Chankhamma
LETTERS: Taylor Esposito
EDITOR: Brenda Wright
COVER: Alitha E. Martinez with Shari Chankhamma.
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Mike Hawthorne with Jordie Bellaire
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (October 2018)

Rated M/Mature

Jook Joint is a new comic book series from writer Tee Franklin (Bingo Love) and artist Alitha E. Martinez (Black Panther: World of Wakanda).  The series focuses on a voodoo priestess who is the proprietor of a strange music and social club that resides somewhere outside New Orleans.

Jook Joint #1 opens in the 1950s.  Everyone knows that the hottest spot in all of New Orleans is the Jook Joint, where the jazz is always popping and people keep on a-bobbing.  The women who work in the club are to die for... and men literally die if they don't follow the Jook Joint's only rule:  “Keep your hands to yourself.”  Of course, some men don't believe that rules apply to them, and that is when the Jook Joint's owner, Mahalia, and her coven get to enjoy themselves delivering punishment.

Joint Joint #1 is a timely publication in these times when women are pushing forward and coming out of the dark to tell the truth about the abuse, degradation, and violence that they have faced and continue to face at the hands of (mostly) men.  In an afterword at the end of this first issue, writer Tee Franklin talks about how Jook Joint emerged from her recovery and healing from the years of hurt and pain she experienced in numerous abusive relationships.  Text pieces in Jook Joint #1 offer three phone numbers and two website addresses where abused women and men can seek help after they experience domestic and sexual violence or if they are considering suicide.

Jook Joint #1 does not offer a story so much as it presents an introduction to the world of Mahalia and her Jook Joint.  It is an introduction that glorifies in revenge against and punishment of men who plot domestic and sexual violence against women and of men whose sense of entitlement will lead them to commit wanton acts of sexual violence.  I think the second issue of Jook Joint is where the story will really begin.

Artist Alitha E. Martinez, who was brilliant in Black Panther: World of Wakanda, offers powerful illustrations and graphics in service of this taste of honeyed revenge.  Colorist Shari Chankhamma's old-school, earthy hues recall classic horror comic book coloring, like that found in the Joe Orlando-edited DC Comics titles.

I'm not sure how to describe Taylor Esposito's lettering.  It is like a musical accompaniment, conveying the threats of abusive men while capturing the sly sultriness of the warnings given to those men.  Then, Esposito's lettering blasts out the avante-garde sounds of bloody punishment.

When I was a kid, a “jook joint” was a trashy club owned or frequented by Black folks, where a jukebox filled the club with music that was intermittently interrupted by gunfire.  Jook Joint the comic book ain't trashy, but there will be blood.

9 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2018 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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