Monday, March 17, 2014
Retro Comics: Tarzan #211
With no new Barsoom comics this week, I'll be posting some "retro" comic reviews in their place. First up Tarzan in the "Land of the Giants!"
Deciding he needs to cool off after laying around in a tree, Tarzan takes a swim. But a combination of gimlas and rapids leads him down into a mysterious valley inhabited by natives under the apparent rule of the diminutive Martius Kalban. Kalban is trying to find the secret of the tribe's great strength and size. Before too long Tarzan discovers the secret, as does Kalban, who then grows into a mindless giant and demands Tarzan dead. Well the ape man isn't going for that idea and ends up fighting for his life, along with Kalban's pretty assistant Olga.
While there will be debates among ERB fans which artist captures Tarzan best, this issue shows why Joe Kubert is considered among the best. From his defined character designs to the bold action sequences to the nice linear line and artwork, Kubert brings a good visual edge to this tale which helps overcome a somewhat predictable plot of obsessive hunter, tribe with a hidden secret and Tarzan fighting for his life.
That said for a stand alone issue it moves like a firecracker and doesn't waste time on needless subplots or exposition. Kubert manages to keep the reader moving at a good clip, never slowing down or letting the story wander off. The stand alone feel also means it doesn't waste time setting up events to be paid off later, making this a quick story with no dangling cliffhangers. I like it!
For fans of Tarzan you probably already have this somewhere in your comic collections and if you haven't seek it out along with the rest of Kubert's Tarzan work. I'll be back later with another Tarzan tale from another brilliant artist.