With so many big names and big events plastered across the shelves of your LCS, sometimes great comics get left behind – buried in longboxes until someone comes along to find these Hidden Gems.
Who is Jake Ellis?
Written by Nathan Edmondson
Art by Tonci Zonjic
Published by Image Comics
Mysteries are always in style. Whether it’s the prose cases of Sherlock Holmes, the unanswered questions of The X-Files or the brain-bending events of Lost, audiences love to be challenged. Comics are no exception, with titles like Morning Glories enjoying both critical and commercial success. Undoubtedly one of the best miniseries to come out of 2011 was the gripping noir-tinged mystery Who is Jake Ellis? by Nathan Edmondson and Tonci Zonjic. The collaboration between the two bring to mind the works by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, and that’s a pretty damn impressive feat.
Our protagonist is Jon Moore, a mercenary spy who’s always on the move, going from job to job. He seems to be able to quickly escape from any dangerous situation, somehow knowing exactly where to run and even who’s behind closed doors. All thanks to his secret weapon, the mysterious Jake Ellis. Jake, you see, can only be heard and seen by Jon, telling him where to run and who’s behind the closed door and around the next corner. At first Jake is treated like any other character, without much thought given to his abilities and past. All we know is he’s been protecting Jon like this for four years, helping him stay one step ahead from whoever is currently out to get him. This raises lots of questions for the reader. What is Jake? A figment of Jon’s imagination? No, that wouldn’t explain why he knows what’s in the pocket of the businessman walking by. A ghost, possibly? He’s not omniscient, as he can’t answer all of Jon’s questions. Why is he helping Jon? Why are they both scared that some Americans are after them? Just who is Jake Ellis? As the story continues hints are dropped and the bond between Jake & Jon is explored. After some major league globe hopping, the two return to America for answers, though they may not like what they find…
I’m not going to spoil the answer here. You’ll have to read it yourself to find out. All I’m going to say is that it’s definitely worth it. Plus, like any good mystery, answers to one question inevitably lead to even more questions. Thankfully, Edmondson has said from the start he has other stories in mind, and the recent announcement of Where is Jake Ellis? is a welcome sign. His writing is tight and focused, steering the reader in exactly the directions he intends all while keeping them entertained. Zonjic’s art is reminiscent of that of Sean Phillips, and perfectly fits the story. As of right now, the artist of the follow-up has yet to be announced, but I sincerely hope Zonjic will be returning, as he and Edmondson crafted an incredible story together. Who is Jake Ellis? gets 4.5 out of 5 exploding bottles.