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Adventures of Jack Burton
Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138-at-popapostle-dot-com
Adventures of Jack Burton: Fool's Errand Adventures of Jack Burton
"Fool's Errand"
Big Trouble in Little China #2 (BOOM! Studios)
Story by John Carpenter and Eric Powell
Writer: Eric Powell
Artist: Brian Churilla
Colorist: Michael Garland
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Cover A: Eric Powell
July 2014

 

Jack, Egg, and Pete travel down the Midnight Road to fulfill the challenge of Qiang Wu.

 

Story Summary

 

Jack accepts Qiang Wu's challenge to retrieve the three jars holding the souls of the Three Storms and he, Egg, and Pete head deeper into Chinatown in the Pork-Chop Express. Egg directs Jack to turn down a dead end alley. On the wall at the end of the alley, Egg uses a piece of chalk to draw numerous symbols, which quickly transform into a large tunnel entrance. They drive through it, onto the Midnight Road.

 

After 150 miles of driving, they stop at a grotesque tower which Egg enters to get directions. Outside, Jack and Pete meet an elderly storyteller riding a gigantic tortoise. The old man tells them of a Chinese myth of the creation of the world and Jack tells him about his third wife. When Egg emerges from the tower, chased by ape-like dwarves who are angry that he stole all their pickled eggs, the old man disappears. Jack and Egg fight off the dwarves long enough to escape in the truck, while Pete starts gobbling down pickled eggs.

 

They come across an old crone lashed to a tree and Egg asks her how to find the house of the Seven-Faced Widow. She says it is a fool's errand to seek the house, so a fool must choose. Egg immediately realizes that Jack must choose which direction to travel. Jack chooses (not without grumbling about his role) and the trio soon drive up upon a gigantic statue of the Seven-Faced Widow.

 

CONTINTUED IN BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #3

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue

 

Jack Burton

Qiang Wu

Wang Chi

Miao Yin

Egg Shen

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (mentioned only)

Pete

Thunder (mentioned only, deceased)

Rain (mentioned only, deceased)

Lightning (mentioned only, deceased)

P'an Ku (old storyteller, name revealed in "No Exit")

Mrs. Burton #3 (unnamed, in flashback only)

the crone (unnamed)

Seven-Faced Widow (mentioned only)

 

Didja Know?

 

The issues of this series did not have individual titles. I chose the title "Fool's Errand" from dialog in the issue about Jack's role in the quest along the Midnight Road.

 

Didja Notice?

 

The warrior sorcerer character of Qiang Wu is probably named as a play on the term for the five Chinese elements, Wu Xing. Notice that "Qiang Wu" is (more-or-less) "Wu Xing" reversed. Wu Xing, the five elements, are traditionally Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water; wood is occasionally replaced with wind. Notice that Qiang Wu claims (on page 2) to have seen the emperors of steel, earth, wind, water, and flame.

 

The drawing of only partial background figures in art is long established, but it seems to me that artist Brian Churilla overdoes it a bit in this issue (for example, page 2, panels 2 and 4). Overall though, I enjoy his art in this series.

 

On page 3, Egg refers to Qiang Wu as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a retired NBA basketball player. Egg is using his name for Qiang Wu because of Qiang's height (said to be 8-foot; Abdul-Jabbar is 7'2").

 

On page 4, Jack asks Egg if he's going to pick up his six demon bag. Egg used what he referred to as a "six demon bag" in Big Trouble in Little China.

 

On page 6, Egg refers to Jack as "honky", a semi-derogatory term for a white person.

 

On page 8, a peasant farmer on the Midnight Road tells Jack "Khabar dar, bhaieon, shaitan ata!" This is an African tribal language (I've been unable to identify which) for "Beware, brothers, the devil is coming!"

 

On page 12, the old storyteller tells Jack of how the dueling powers of light and dark, in order to bring balance to the universe, created P'an Ku to chisel out the world. This is part of Chinese mythology. In "No Exit", the storyteller is revealed to be P'an Ku himself.

 

In this issue, Jack tells the story of his third wife, a stripper. He describes her as being worried about losing her looks as she gets older and final leaving him for a crowd of Goth friends. The artwork of his flashback story suggests that she had actually become a vampire and he didn't notice.


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