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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Snake Plissken Chronicles: Burning Down the House The Snake Plissken Chronicles
"Burning Down the House"
Escape from New York #16
BOOM Studios
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Maxim Šimić
Colorist: Marissa Louise
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Cover A: Jason Copland
April 2016


Snake's ultimate showdown in Cleveland!


Story Summary


The mayor of Cleveland is sent in to negotiate with Snake over the fate of the historic documents from the National Archives. Snake takes the mayor hostage and uses his official armored SUV to make a getaway, wanting go out as a soldier in a blaze of glory. The USPF pursues but is afraid to damage or destroy the historic documents in his possession. Snake makes the decision for them, by lighting the documents on fire and tossing them into the polluted and flammable Cuyahoga River, where they go up in a burst of flame.


In the confusion, Snake makes a getaway in a stolen police vehicle, returning to his house, to find it already surrounded by police. He uses his detonator to set off the explosive charges he planted inside the house earlier (in "Get the Hell Off My Lawn"). When Sadie shows up on schedule, Snake gives her his dog and the location of a lockbox that contains his stash of cash. She will use it to continue the fight to push the feds out of Cleveland.


Snake then disappears for a while, but turns up as an arena gunfighter in New Vegas, where he lures the USPF into what is probably a trap.




Didja Know?


The issues of this series do not have published individual titles assigned to them. I assigned the title "Burning Down the House" as a play on Snake's use of fire in this issue.


Characters appearing in this issue


Snake Plissken


U.S. President (mentioned only)



Ella (mentioned only)

Mayor of Cleveland (unnamed)

Governor of Ohio (unnamed, mentioned only)

Fresno (dog)

Dirtbag Duggan

Rocky "Buckshot" Murphy


Didja Notice?


The cover of this issue depicts Snake standing in front of a police lineup board, looking to be about 70" tall, about 5'10". Those who've met actor Kurt Russell say he is probably between 5'8" and 5'9". In Escape from L.A., the recurring gag dialog that is said by people who meet Snake is "I thought you'd be taller."


On pages 12-13, Snake lights the Bill of Rights on fire and tosses the pages into the Cuyahoga River, which causes a huge burst of flame. As discussed in the study of "The Cleveland Revolution", the river has been known as "the river that caught fire," which has happened 13 known times in history due to the level of pollution in the water (though the last time it happened, as far as I can determine, was 1969; the pollution levels have improved since then).


On page 16, Snake blows up his house, using his remote detonator to set off the charges he placed inside in "Get the Hell Off My Lawn".


On page 19, Snake gives his dog, Fresno, to Sadie.


Page 20 provides a glimpse of the city of New Vegas.  Escape from L.A. reveals New Vegas to be located in Thailand, but the city seen here seems to be a virtual duplicate of Las Vegas, Nevada; the view of the street in panel 2 appears to be Las Vegas Blvd. looking north, with Planet Hollywood Center and Paris hotel and casino visible on the right and the Cosmopolitan resort and casino on the left.


On page 22, the referee announces Rocky "Buckshot" Murphy, saying he is a 3-time Reno gun fighting champion. Reno is a city in the northern portion of Nevada, also known for casino gambling.


Page 22 reveals that Snake has been spending his time since the Cleveland Revolution as an arena gunfighter in New Vegas, wearing a mask and calling himself the Shape. Here, at the very end of the story, he goes into the arena without the mask and going by Snake Plissken, seemingly to lure the USPF to another slaughter.


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