Rattling the Cage Comic Book Review: Joe Palooka, Issue #2

Saturday, February 11th, 2012 by Tony Reid

After being so pumped after reading the first issue I find that, naturally, the second issue picks up right where the first one left off, with Nick Davis a.k.a Joe Palooka headed out to sea as a deckhand. The ship he is on is headed to the South Pacific Ocean and as “Joe” is deck handing, while he is mopping he is approached and bullied by Khan, the BMOS (Big Man on Ship). Khan and his crew of cronies leave after a short time of torture only to approach Davis again later that night at dinner. Khan tries to take Davis’s dinner and that’s where Davis draws the line. Davis puts his foot down and Khan gets pissed off and challenges Davis to fight him in the circle. “Joe” blows off the idea of fighting Khan but is told by his amateur handler/manager/professional scummy guy that its serious business and that he has to fight or else.

In the meantime Davis gets in touch with his lady friend Nina back home only to find out her professor is being a little overly involved in her life. At the same time Grimes, the guy hired to track Davis down by the cop back in Cali, comes across his file and gets the dirt on him, his mom, his sister and most importantly his girlfriend, who becomes his target.

By now nighttime has rolled around and the early fights are taking place in the circle. A few of the smaller, weaker guys are fighting over cigarettes and the like. Khan comes in and everyone scatters. He’s looking for Joe Palooka. When “Joe” is nowhere to be found Khan starts talking trash, mocking him, calling him names, etc. All of a sudden he appears. It’s on! Davis, er, Joe hits Khan with a headkick, a left, a right and a knee that, in totality, have Khan completely bloodied. He hits Khan with a legkick and then Khan turns it around and nails him with a body shot that sends “Joe” reeling. In mid fight the storyline cuts to Davis’s girlfriend Nina as it plainly shows she’s being followed and under surveillance of some kind. The fight goes to the ground as Khan mounts Davis but is quickly reversed as Davis secures an omaplata that severely injures Khan’s arm. This is most definitely the first appearance of such a move in the history of comic books and I love it! The fight has a few more back and forth moments and eventually Davis sinks in a choke to finish Khan. After the fight everyone is amazed by the performance and doors start to open for Davis. There is a special man named Mr. Chang that he is about to be introduced to by his handler.

A week later the ship is in Hong Kong and “Joe Palooka” is about to meet Mr. Chang. Khan and his dysfunctional family appear to have other plans for Joe. The story cuts back to the University of San Diego, where his girlfriend Nina is surprised by an armed gunman in the back seat as she enters her car. He’s looking for Nick Davis…

The second issue was as cool and impressive as the first. The storyline continues to develop nicely and the character development is coming along very nicely as well, with many different angles developing. The artwork continues to impress with the great characters and action sequences in the fight scenes… and speaking of the fight scenes, the techniques and action is as real as it gets. The Team Palooka’s MMA Technical Consultant Phil Ross deserves a great deal of credit here. Like I stated earlier in the review, some of the techniques displayed here are really cool to see in comic book form, probably for the first time ever. After enjoying the rebirth of Joe Palooka in 2011 I look forward to seeing the expansion of the brand into the Legion of Combat in 2012.