Sunday, December 2, 2012

Comic Review: The Once And Future Tarzan


As usual I can't come up with an opening so let's just hit the basics and go from there.

After having faced numerous foes-both human and animal-John Clayton now faces the future. In this case a future England that has survived the apocalypse leaving scattered survivors. When Clayton is attacked by a group of female warriors, they learn he is the one they are looking for, someone who is "man and ape and more..." Agreeing to go with them to their leader, the wise Mu Kalan, Clayton and the warriors find a wounded but fierce Tantor, spider-like creatures with human heads called atterzarfs and the revelation that he is John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, better known as Tarzan of the Apes. He's also 300 years old. Eventually Tarzan has to lead the group into battle against a military outfit known as the Cabal and has to use his wits and his centuries of jungle knowledge to survive.

Originally published as a three part serial in Dark Horse Presents, this one shot is, well the word would be interesting. The idea of sending Tarzan into a post-apocalyptic world and having him become a savior it an unique concept, one that writer Alan Gordon exploits to his best efforts. I guess where I have some problems with it is the fact that the reader is dropped into the story without much setup on how the Earth reached this state or what the Cabal really is beyond looking and acting like escapees from a Rambo film. There is some nice touches here and there and welcome cameos from Jad-Bal-Ja and Jane Clayton herself riding an elephant into battle that helps the story along but I still felt it could have used more space to fill in the blanks.

The one reason to get this issue though is the artwork, done by long time Tarzan fan and artist Thomas Yeates. Yeates brings a nice subdued look to the characters and backgrounds, with the color work by Yeates and Lore Almeida having a nice water color look to them. I did like Tarzan resembling Johnny Weissmuller, helping the issue pay tribute to both the book and film Tarzan as well as the handling of Jane and the female warriors, Jad and the animals and the look of a destroyed London.

To wrap up I'm giving a thumbs up for The Once and Future Tarzan. While I had some qualms over the story its still an interesting approach to a Tarzan tale, one that I hope might be expanded upon in a future series. Throw in Yeates' great artwork and its a no-brainer. Pick this up if you love Tarzan or just great art period.

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