Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Comic Review: Lord of the Jungle #1


The week's second comic book review takes us from Mongo to the wilds of Africa and the retelling of a classic story...

After a violent mutiny, Lord John Clayton and his pregnant wife Alice are left on the African coast to fend for themselves with the promise of the mutineers they will tell someone of their location. As time passes, John sets up shelter and fights off attacking wildlife while Alice gives birth to their son. But illness claims her and leaves John fighting for both his and their son's survival. But when a group of apes attack their makeshift home, John is killed but the infant is saved by a grieving female ape who takes the baby to raise as her own...

At this point if you read that you know the story is Tarzan of the Apes (which due to copyright isn't being used as the title for this series) and it's pretty close to Edgar Rice Burroughs's original novel. In fact this first issue spends all of it's time with the Claytons, establishing their lives and the birth of their son, something most adaptations skip over in order to get to Tarzan as an adult. Writer Arvid Nelson-whose work on Warlord of Mars also showed a faithfulness to Burroughs' work-sets up the story well. The only offbeat addition is a sequence where a group of tribesmen are attacked by a strange group of ape-man creatures who immediately start eating them. I don't remember that in the original novel-or any of the latter ones-so I don't know where that's going or how much it will pay off later.

For this series, the artwork is being done by Roberto Castro (who also did Warlord of Mars-Fall of Barsoom) and he does a good job capturing the characters of John and Alice and setting up the jungle setting. Admittedly this issue doesn't have much action to show off until the apes show up at the end but he keeps the art steady and with a good color palette. I can't way to see how he draws Tarzan.

So is this issue worth a dollar? If you're a fan of Tarzan I would suggest giving it a chance. It may not be the best Tarzan comic book ever but if this first issue is any indication, fans of the ape man might enjoy the series. Until next time...

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