“Find out what sent Jack Bauer spiraling into his darkest days as an international fugitive in the several years following the events of the final season. ” — Publisher’s Description
Jack is back!
24: Underground is a look at what has become of out favorite CTU agent after he had been branded a terrorist by the US government and sent on the run as a fugitive after the last full televised season of Fox Network’s 24.
In this book, we find Jack Bauer living as “Borys Melnchuk” in the Ukraine where he is working as a dock worker under the supervision of Petro and living happily with his girlfriend (and Petro’s sister) Sofyia. All is well for Jack until in a whirlwind of events, Petro’s brother Roman runs afoul of the Russian Mafia, causing the gang members to seek out Petro to pay the debt.
Of course, Jack cannot let Petro deal with this all on his own and as a result jumps in to help on the promise that with one stolen shipment from the docks, the debt will be paid and all forgiven for Petro. Things never go as they seem and soon the CIA in the Ukraine is aware of Jack’s presence there, the mobsters kidnap Sofyia as bait for Jack, since they have a personal vendetta against him, and there is that infamous race against time to get everything sorted out before innocent lives are lost in the crossfire.
Sticking to the familiar 24 formula, this story sees Jack betrayed and double crossed at several turns, bringing back the famous line: “I thought we had a deal!” He’s also involved in several close firefights, gets himself a wound that needs tending to and has a hostage taken to being him out of hiding while running from two different groups after him for completely different reasons and without knowledge of each other. While a little predictable, this formula did work well on television, and it works well here. Sometimes it feels a little rushed, but the twists and turns you would be expecting and familiar with out of a 24 story are all present and very well executed.
The artwork in this graphic novel is phenomenal as well. It’s dark, very dark at times, but this adds wonderfully to the tone and feeling of the story. Granted, we have to remember that 24 always took place over that 24-hour time period so this is expected. Even more important in the art is the way that Gaydos has captured the edge of your seat quality of Brisson’s writing and story and shows that in the settings, and especially on Bauer’s face. You really can believe that Keifer Sutherland is there on the page with the familiar intense look and I swear, I was able to read all the lines in his voice and felt that intensity of tone as well. All of that said, this is definitely not a book for the kids. The brutality and graphic nature of the Russian thugs, as well as Bauer’s fighting style are vividly portrayed and may not be for the weak of heart.
Overall, this is a high quality, albeit short and a little rushed work. Easy and quick to read at a little over 100 pages, I would have been much happier with another 50-75 fleshing out some of the characters a little more and building up to the final action.
Four out of five stars.
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