(Dynamite Entertainment, 2015)
Written by Paul Tobin
Art by Sandy Jarrell
Letters by Marshall Dillon
Hey everyone! This week I took a look at Dynamite’s re-launch of Jungle Jim! And I have to say I rather enjoyed it. Not having read Jungle Jim before, the comic and all its characters are completely new to me. Therefore I am not going to write this review as a comparison of the two stories, but as a new comic that has never been seen before.
As much as I enjoyed this comic, I found it a little cheesy too. Now I know all comics can be a bit cheesy in nature, but I really would have liked to see this comic take a bit darker spin – and while they did hit at darker things to come, they didn’t have enough in this first comic. The comic takes place in the Jungles of Arboria – a made up place, but on what planet – made up or real – we do not know. What we do know is that on this world, an evil tyrant has taken over, and he is enslaving natives and doing experiments on them. Dark stuff. And then we find out that there are rumors of a being that can control the jungle animals and the jungle itself, and is using this ability to fight back the tyrants soldiers and freeing the natives. Yes, that can seem really cheesy, but let’s think for a moment. Our setting is a jungle, so those abilities will definitely come in handy – you could send animals to maul the soldiers and the plants to grab them and rip them apart. We do get hints of this, but the story always changes perspective before any of the gory things happen. Now as a writer – one who has studied comic scripting as well as written comic scripts – I know the importance of letting the reader’s imagination play a part. I know that a reader’s imagination will always make a death more horrific then anything the writer can put on the page. However, I don’t feel that the set up for this was hit just right. The closest the comic ever came to setting up something that the reader could conclude a gory death from was at the very beginning. The soldiers were getting attacked, and bugs attack one of them. Now lots of people can’t stand bugs – me included – so doing a bug attack death was a very smart move. And we do see the bugs go into the man’s mouth and eyes – but we don’t see any blood trickling out. I’m not saying we needed a gory mess – far from it (I personally hate gore), but just a bit of blood trickling down from the eye sockets would have set the readers imagination off ten-fold.
And Jungle Jim’s powers aren’t the only thing I think should have been a bit darker. Our main characters, Lille, Thun, and Kugor all have a dark past, and they all seem way to cheer for it. Our three protagonists come together to help Lille find Jungle Jim so she can enlist his help to save her brother from the tyrant before he can be killed. Pretty heavy stuff right there alone. And then we find out that all three of them have been captured by the tyrant and have escaped – but not without their scars. Now we don’t know Lille’s yet – and I’m glad we don’t. You can’t revile everything in issue number one. But we do know she has to drink in order to work as a functioning member of society – but even with all that you think we would see a little more oddness from her then just needing a drink to function. As for Thun and Kugor, they have been experimented on and now are a both animal-humans. Thun looks like a lion and Thun a rhino. Despite this though, the two come across as you’re typical happy-go-lucky trackers – and to me that just doesn’t add up. Sure you find out they aren’t completely like the stereotypical trackers you see in these kind of stories, Thun is quite and always frowning – maybe some anger issues there? And Kugor is in a loving committed relationship with his boyfriend, but these aren’t the differences I’m looking for. I’m looking for that rising anger over what happened to them – nightmare when they fall asleep by the camp fire – not funny story telling. And Jungle Jim, well he’s a whole other happy mess I was not expecting. I guess I figured if all these other charters were going to be happy all the time, then Jungle Jim would be dark and angry. But he certainly didn’t come across that way when we meet him. Now maybe things will get darker, I know how unhappy people like to pretend they are happy when they are hurting inside. But I still would have like to have seen some more signs of the darker days to come for these characters.
Ultimately, I really did like this comic; I think it puts a fresh twist on a dystopian storyline. And I have high hopes that this comic will truly bring its reader into a world of a darker life style and the struggle to not only fight for your loved ones, but to stand up against a tyrant, and make a difference for your world. I guess we will just have to wait and see what Issue #2 brings.
Until next time!
Ali is a creative writer with an emphasis on Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Comic Books. She first fell in love with superheroes when they were used to teach her to read. When not practicing at her dojo or out seeing the latest superhero movie with her friends, Ali can be found curled up on the couch with her dog and a good book.