In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales presents The Jungle Book: Fall of the Wild #3

This is one of the most enjoyable mini-series I've encountered in a while.

The covers: There are a feral five covers to add to your tribe this month. Carlos Granda and Ivan Nunes do a very lush A cover of the interior of the Log of the Bandar, with King Louie about to marry Akili. This is the most realistic version I’ve seen of the apes of Kipling Isle and they look great. Tons of fine detail in the wood are in this location, and the looks on Akili and Louie’s son are terrific. Also really good coloring on this from Nunes. I love the shine on Louie’s face. And how could anyone not like seeing a chimp officiating? The B cover is the one used for this review and it’s by Alfredo Reyes and Ylenia Di Napoli. Mowglii is riding atop a stampeding heard of gnus. She looks sensational and the animals are equally well done. She looks wonderful powerful! Akili and Mowglii are in the worst possible position–the open maw of the monsterous Kaa–on the C cover. They’re using spears to keep the reptile’s mouth from crashing down on them, but it doesn’t look they’ll last long. This cover was created by Paolo Pantalena and Ula Mos and it, too, is great. This is a great idea for a cover and they pull it off well. The D comes courtesy of Tina Valentino and Leonardo Paciarotti. This shows Mowglii and Shere Bomani knee deep in a stream, trying to keep a pride of tigers at bay. I like the layout and the coloring, but, based on what I can see of this on the inside front cover, the art looks a little muddy. There’s also an infamous “Secret Retailer Incentive Cover” by Paolo Pantalena and Ula Mos, but I couldn’t find a picture of it, so good luck tracking that one down. Overall grades: A A, B A+, C A, and d B-

The story: Shere Khan shares a moment with adopted son Shere Bomani as they make their way to the Log of Bandar. Inside that location, King Louie and his followers rejoice at his impending nuptials with kidnapped Akili. Her arms are tied to ropes that are stretched to either side of the derelict ship. Several gruesome reminders remain of the previous queens of the Bandar. Outside the structure, Mowglii, Bagheera, and Tobaqui have arrived to rescue the unwilling bride. The two animals argue about how quietly they must enter the ship, but Mowglii decides that louder would be better, and she enlists the unintentional aid of the dim witted Grass-Dancers. I had an inkling of what writer Mark L. Miller was going to do with Mowglii, but it evolved into something much larger and much more graphic. The arrival of a super carnivore on Pages 8 and 9 turns the humor of the ape wedding into a deadly serious scene. Another person needs to be saved on those same pages, and receives help from an unexpected source. Page 13 teases a possible relationship, but the moment evaporates with a scream. Pages 15 and 16 have a major death that was awesome in every possible way, which is followed by one character asserting themselves as the alpha. I really liked how Miller had the action fairly well wrapped up on 16, but on 18 things are once again intense by a new character being in distress. The fate of this character is left unresolved until next month, while the volcano continues to spew death. This was a fun ride of an issue. Overall grade: A

The art: The character work on this book by Michele Bandini is exceptional. The animals look like animals, with Louie being a little more personified than the others, but I was really taken with how well he’s created his creatures. Exceptional animals occur on pages 2, the bottom of 5, 8 and 9, 12, and 14 – 16. One large creature is actually breathtaking to behold, and it’s rendered in the first panel on Page 11–its arrival is a thing of absolute horror. I really liked the humans in this book as well. Often an artist will be better on humans than animals, but Bandini is equally skilled. Shere Bomani is a buff Tarzan-like character, complete with Disney dreadlocks. His strong appearance makes his tender words later in the story all the more impressive. Akili is the damsel in distress in this issue. She’s grimacing, yelling, and biting at her captors, making it easy for readers to realize she’s no push over. Mowglii is cute, but not an over-the-top bombshell: she’s a strong looking fighter who’s more than capable of holding her own against any creature. Louie’s adopted son has been comic relief for the previous issues in this series, but he does something dramatic to make himself appear in a new light, and it’s gory coolness! The settings are also good, though the Log Bandar is sometimes created more with colors than linework. The new location introduced in the last three pages is well done, with the final page having some very different, but very cool, texture work done. I’m liking what Bandini is doing. Overall grade: A

The colors: Grostieta really compliments Bandini’s artwork well. The first page shows how colors add an extra layer of depth to the artwork, most noticeably when the foliage of the jungle is shown. I really like burning yellow for the distant sky in the first panel and the coloring on Shere Khan to show the light source is good. The partial double-page splash of Pages 2 and 3 relies on Grostieta’s skills to fill in where some of the artwork is empty. Again, there’s a really nice use of bright colors to denote the source of light. The best job is done on the character that appears on 8 and 9. The coloring on this individual is suberb. I have nothing to say to Grostieta but “Well done!” Overall grade: A+

The letters: I continue to be really impressed with all the fonts that Matt Krotzer has contributed to this book. Each animal has its own unique font, altering watchful readers to who’s speaking even if they don’t appear in the panel. The dialogue by Shere Khan looks sinister, Bagherra’s strong, the individual on 8 and 9 terrifying, and the character on 19 insane. It’s rare to encounter any comic where each race gets its own specific font and this book is all the richer for it. I can’t help but wonder how to get Krotzer onto a book with lots of aliens…Overall grade: A+

The final line: Exciting, beautiful, funny, and frightening. This is one of the most enjoyable mini-series I’ve encountered in a while. Whenever I finish an issue of this series I just feel so happy. Thank you, Zenescope, for creating a book like this. 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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