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Adventures of Jack Burton

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Adventures of Jack Burton: All-In Adventures of Jack Burton
Big Trouble in Little China #20 (BOOM! Studios)
Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Dan McDaid
Colors by Gonzalo Duarte
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Cover by Joe Eisma
January 2016


Our heroes' showdown with Koschei!


Story Summary


Jack has made it to the immortals level of the poker tournament in his bid to keep his and his friends' souls out of the hands of Koschei and free Margo in the bargain. But he ill-advisedly punches out one of the contestants, which brings his automatic forfeiture in the game. Koschei is ecstatic at his free victory.


Elsewhere on the immortal level of the casino, Winona and Whitney have found the green oak tree under which Koschei's death is buried, but they are intercepted by a spiritual entity called Mahākāla who tries to stop them. Luckily, Whitney has a giant handgun in her purse with which she takes down the being. During the twins' discussion that follows, Winona realizes that she was the bad twin all along, not Whitney, and is shocked at her own revelation. The two sisters dig up Koschei's chest and kill the rabbit within, freeing the silver needle that can bring Koschei's death.


The girls bring the needle to Egg and Jack; Koschei is not amused. Koschei casts a death spell towards Jack and Egg counters it with a teleportation spell to get Jack out of harm's way, but the spell catches Winona, too, casting them both far from the scene. In the confusion, the silver needle goes flying and is caught inside the Russian nesting doll Koschei had turned a young woman into earlier during the sorcerers convention. The doll jumps out the upper floor window and Koschei jumps after her, both seemingly killed in the fall.


The spell that had held Miao Yin the love slave of Yu Shi is broken with Koschei's death and she returns to Wang's arms.


Meanwhile, Jack and Winona fall out of the sky not only in a different place, but a different time...1906 Chinatown. Their landing on top of the leader of the Hip Yee tong kills him and they are in the middle of a very angry bunch of tong members.




Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue


Jack Burton

Yu Shi


Egg Shen


"Harry" (mentioned only)

Margo Litzenberger

Winona Chi

Whitney Chi

Miao Yin

Wang Chi

Eddie Lee

Wo Lee Hem (dies in this issue)


Didja Know?


Most of the issues of this series did not have individual titles. I used the title "All-In" from the poker term which means to wager one's entire stake.


Didja Notice?


The Nameless one here is a play on the character of Voldemort from the Harry Potter books. Jack punches him out due to the promise he made to "Harry" in "Death to the Deathless" (though there Jack had promised to give Nameless "a swift kick in the bangers-and-mash", not a punch in the face).


On page 3, Jack describes "Harry" as wearing John Lennon glasses and a Dr. Who scarf. John Lennon (1940-1980) was a singer/songwriter/musician known for his round-lens eyeglasses. Dr. Who is a British sci-fi TV series featuring a character called only the Doctor; the fourth incarnation of the Doctor, played by Tom Baker, usually wore a multi-colored scarf.


This issue reveals that, of the twin sisters, Winona was the bad one, not Whitney as implied previously in the story since "Big Trouble in Little Heaven".


Page 7, panel 4 is a flashback to a scene in "Death to the Deathless", where Wang is carrying a bottle of wine. Here, the bottle's label reads "WINE? I GUESS?", but in that previous issue, the wine label read "WINE! (SPARKLING)". Just the artist having a little fun!


On page 13, Koschei rages at Jack that he had a cushy arrangement in Macao until Jack dropped "a great big Cleveland steamer on it!" The colloquialism "Cleveland steamer" is the act of a person defecating on another's chest.


On page 19, Wang is on his smartphone using the United app to try to change his return flight to San Francisco to a sooner time. United is a major American airline, including flights to and from China.


On page 20, Miao Yin explains how Yu Shi discovered the chime to control a Mahākāla demon. Mahākāla is a deity in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism and not really a demon.


After Egg Shen's teleportation spell sends the two back in time, Jack and Winona's sudden drop onto Wo Lee Hem, leader of the Hip Yee tong, seemingly kills him. The Hip Yee was a real tong (gang) in the San Francisco Chinatown of about 1850-1925 (later issues refer to it as the fictitious Hip Wee tong instead). Wo Lee Hem appears to be a fictitious figure; he is also referred to as "Metal-Shirt Wo" in "Old Trouble in Little China".


On page 22, Winona recognizes the street she and Jack have landed on as Waverly Street in Chinatown. Waverly Street (actually Waverly Place) is a one-way alley in Chinatown.


In panel 3 of page 22, Winona sees that her smartphone isn't receiving a Wi-Fi signal in the middle of Chinatown and realizes that Egg Shen sent her and Jack back in time. Notice the screen of her smartphone shows the date as Sunday, April 17, 1906. But if the phone is not receiving an outside signal, it would have no way of knowing what the date is! It should still display it's last known date of some time in 2015. Sidenote: In the real world, April 17, 1906 was a Tuesday, not a Sunday.

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