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Adventures of Jack Burton

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138-at-popapostle-dot-com
Adventures of Jack Burton: The Company You Keep Adventures of Jack Burton
"The Company You Keep"
Big Trouble in Little China #22 (BOOM! Studios)
Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Victor Santos
Colors by Gonzalo Duarte
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Cover by Jeffrey "Chamba" Cruz
March 2016

 

While Winona continues to try to find a way back to their own time, Jack gives up and heads for a bar.

 

Story Summary

 

While Winona and Zhou do research to try to find a way to send Winona and Jack back to their own time, Jack gives up and heads for a bar. Unknowingly, Jack has made an enemy of racist millionaire Whist, who sends the lowlife Shanghai Kelly to get rid of him. Kelly captures Jack's killer doppelganger instead and sends him off to enforced servitude aboard a ship headed for Shanghai.

 

Meanwhile, Zhou tries a new spell and winds up summoning the Storms.

 

CONTINTUED IN BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #23

 

Notes from the Jack Burton chronology

 

Though the events of this issue take place in 1906, the chronology of the characters follows the 2015 events of "All-In".

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue

 

Jack's doppelganger

Zhou (David Lo Pan)

Winona Chi

Egg Shen (mentioned only)

Jack Burton

Damien Whist

Ming Sek

Iron-Shirt Wo (deceased, mentioned only)

Fancypants Dan (deceased, mentioned only)

Shanghai Kelly

Gypsy Sue

The Three Storms (Thunder, Rain, and Lightning)

 

Didja Know?

 

Most of the issues of this series did not have individual titles. I used the title "The Company You Keep" based on a line of dialog from Jack in this issue.

 

Didja Notice?

 

Winona remarks that the clothing provided for her by Zhou is "a little Mulan for my tastes." Mulan is a 1998 animated film by Disney Pictures about the Chinese legend of a female warrior named Hua Mulan.

 

On page 2, Winona jokingly suggests that Zhou may use her smartphone to resurrect Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs (1955-2011) was the co-founder and CEO of Apple, maker of the smartphone called iPhone.

 

On page 3, Jack and Winona are walking away from an old church with clock tower and plaque reading, "Son, Observe the Time and Fly from Evil ECC. IV 23". This plaque and church design identify it as Old Saint Mary's Cathedral, an historic landmark in San Francisco. The quote on the plaque is from Ecclesiasticus, an ancient book considered protocanonical by many Christian sects.

 

On page 4, Jack tells Winona that if she believes that Lo Pan is not "that bad", "I got a trailer full of New Coke to sell you!" New Coke was a brand of cola soft drink sold by the Coca-Cola Company from 1985-2002; it did not perform well in the United States and is widely considered a dismal failure. Given that Jack is a truck driver by profession, it's possible he somehow actually does have a trailer full of it somewhere that was a rejected delivery that he for some reason didn't or couldn't return to the distributor!

 

On page 5, Winona makes a wisecrack about paparazzi following Kim Kardashian. Kim Kardashian is a socialite television personality who essentially encourages the paparazzi to follow her around in public settings.

 

On page 6, Zhou tells Winona about the forces of American establishments who seek to deport and pass laws against Chinese labor. He shows her some posters and bills about the Chinese Exclusion Bill and the Workingsmen Party of California. The Workingmen's Party of California was an actual political party from 1877-1882 and was partly responsible for the success in passing the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 by the U.S. federal government, designed to prevent the immigration of people of Chinese ethnicity into the country (it was not repealed until 1943).

 

    The character of Whist in this issue is clearly a satire of Donald Trump who, at the time this issue was written, was a candidate for U.S. president in the Republican Party primaries. Trump's platform included sealing the U.S.-Mexico border against illegal immigration by Mexicans and deporting those who were already in the country, calling them rapists and drug dealers, just as Whist does towards the Chinese here. In addition, "whist" is the name of a trick-taking card game, just as "trump" is a card suit that outranks other suits in a trick-taking card game.

    Whist's first name is revealed as "Damien" in "Bad Weather Comin'". 

 

On pages 8-9, Whist discusses his plans to build Whist Casino and Whist Tower, a play on the Trump Casinos and Trump Tower in New York.

 

On page 10, Ming Sek says that Fancypants Dan was from the Tenderloin. This refers to the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, a high crime neighborhood.

 

On page 11, Whist, as the villain, is squeaking his mustache in lieu of twirling it.

 

Whist is seen to employ a henchman called Shanghai Kelly. There was a real Shanghai Kelly (James Kelly) in 19th Century San Francisco, a criminal known for abducting men and forcing them to work on ships bound for international waters ("shanghaiing") in the 1870s. Considering this storyline allegedly takes place in 1906, the young man seen here must be a different person with the same nickname, possibly a son or grandson.

 

Jack heads to a bar inside the hulk of a grounded ship, the Arkansas. As pointed out in "Old Trouble in Little China", the Old Ship Saloon is the bar housed inside the remains of the Arkansas, but it was then part of a building...they should not exist separately!

 

On page 13, when Jack asks for a beer at the bar, the bartender rudely asks, "What are you, drinking with the Kaiser?" "Kaiser" is the German word for "emperor". The title was used by the rulers of the Austrian Empire from 1804-1918. I'm not sure why the bartender and patrons react so negatively to Jack's request for a beer and insistence that "...in America we drink whiskey!" Beer was a popular drink in America even then and, in fact, the major brewery in the American west was in San Francisco at this time.

 

The "flying mantis kick" martial arts move Winona performs to take down Gypsy Sue is a move from the Double Dragon series of martial arts video games.


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