In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales presents The Jungle Book: Fall of the Wild #2

This is a fantastic adventure that would make Kipling proud! Funny, thrilling, startling, and wonderful. Recommended!

The covers: Four covers you can’t escape wanting. The A cover is by Mike Krome and Ula Mos. Mowglii and Bagheera are running from the volcano that began to erupt last issue. The image is great and the coloring is stunning. Fantastic oranges and superior lighting effects from the magma that’s chasing them. The B cover will have readers hearing John Williams’s music. Aping the classic Jaws movie poster, a crocodile is about surface just as Akili is swimming by. Excellent image, both funny and cool, from Carlos Granda and Ross Campbell and, again, has outstanding coloring. Giuseppe Cafaro, Simone di Meo, and Alessia Nocera do the C cover and it’s the image I’m using in this review. Yeah, it does catch the eye. I’m thinking this is Akili, since her hair is lighter than Mowglii’s within this series. She’s on her back, floating on a pond. It’s pin-up art at it’s finest, and I would have bought this one if my shop had had it. The Retailer Incentive is a wraparound cover by Jamie Tyndall and Ula Mos. It’s only available at Zenescope.com. There’s not a picture of it on the inside cover, and I couldn’t find an image of it online. I like Tyndall’s art and would love to see what it looks like. Overall grades: A A-, B A-, and C A+

The story: Last issue was the set up and now the action kicks into overdrive. The Tavi tribe is huddling underground, frightened by the constant shaking, which is coming from a volcano they’re unaware of. Hoping to distract the tribe from their current worries, Rikki-Tikki tells the origin of Kaa, the snake they defeated. I taught the story “Rikki-Tikki Tavi” to my students for twenty years and it’s one of my favorite stories by Kipling. I was so pleased to see how writer Mark L. Miller had Rikki tell this tale and I could that mongoose’s passion as he told it. The tribe’s reaction to his story mirrored my own and had me chuckling. This funny opening transitioned back to Mowglii and Bagheera before the sloths as the volcano begins to spew lava. I was expecting the sloths to say something rote, but Miller has Mowglii voice concerns the reader has and their story becomes quite condensed. Page 8 was a ghastly scene that keeps this book at a mature level, and things only escalate. The story returns to two tribes that were fighting in a double-paged spread in the previous issue and the conclusion of that battle is shown. It’s a Wow battle. I’ve never seen animals do this in a comic before. It’s incredible. Page 14 smacked me across the face. Just as it seems the solution to this crisis for the island dwellers is possible, a complication occurs on 18. This seems as if the story will go back to being humorous, and it does for a panel or two, but the ending/cliffhanger is pretty creepy. I couldn’t stop turning the pages on this. Overall grade: A+

The art: New artist Luca Claretti takes over the visual chores of this book and this artist has got major skills! Every character, human and animal, looks amazing. Akili is gorgeous, Rikki is gorgeous, the two tribes battling are gorgeous. This is a gorgeous looking book. I was really impressed with the animals. It’s not often that comic book artists can make their animals look as good as their humans, but Claretti can. Kaa is beautiful and the most deadly at the bottom of Page 3, and monstrously terrifying at the top of 4. Claretti can also pull off comedy with the second panel on the same page. I love that Lil’ Boo is using Akili’s hair to cover his face. The confidence of the sloths is assuring and frightening when things take a turn. The show piece of the issue is the battle between the two tribes on Pages 10 – 14. This ain’t your Daddy’s Jungle Book! Wow! Those last two panels on Page 14 are stunners. Claretti also does motion exceptionally. I love the progression through the scenes on Pages 15 and 18. Very, very cool. Page 21 is spectacularly grotesque, being jointly funny and perverse. Luca Claretti, you’ve made a new fan in only 22 pages. Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: Making the art really shine are the colors by Grostieta. The dimed colors of the opening hollow become a beautiful (I can’t use that word enough for this book) violet colored night that contrasts with the emerald of Kaa. The colors on the giant serpent on Page 3 make him photorealistic. These cool, calming colors explode with the volcano’s eruption in spectacular yellows and oranges. When the magma touches certain things their flare ups will make a reader’s heart skip. The final panel on Page 14 is spectacular for it’s night sky. Grostieta is doing cinematic work with this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Most comics have one font for any character that speaks. Matt Krotzer does amazing work on this book by giving each species of animal its own font–and there are a lot of animals in this book! Krotzer didn’t have to do this, but by doing it he makes the characters seem all the more unique. Only sloths and humans have the same font. What does that say about humanity? Mr. Krotzer, my hat’s off to you for doing at least 10 specific animal speech fonts, as well as human dialogue and sounds. You need to do a lot more comics! Overall grade: A+

The final line: A change in artists has brought this book up considerably in its appeal. This is a fantastic adventure that would make Kipling proud! Funny, thrilling, startling, and wonderful. Recommended! Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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