In Review: Lords of the Jungle #3

This book will make readers take to the trees to join in the adventures of Sheena and Tarzan.

The covers: Sheena and Tarzan truly look like Lords of the Jungle on the A cover by Felipe Massafera. Sheena and Tarzan are back to back, she with a spear and he with a knife. They are surrounded by several hulking Leopard Men. It doesn’t matter how many of this group this are, they have little chance in defeating this pair. Every character on the page is extremely muscular and their muscles have all the shine and glare that one would expect to find on a classic Bob Larkin piece. I would have liked to have seen some other colors than flesh and white on this, since characters seem to meld into one another. The B cover is by interior artist Roberto Castro. It’s a spectacular action shot of the two title characters leaping/falling off a cliff after being pursued by a dinosaur. Both characters look fantastic, as does the dinosaur above them. Dynamite has rightly moved the book’s title down a bit to allow all of the killer reptile to be shown. The colors by Dinei Ribeiro are also outstanding, with the green background being the perfect color to allow the characters and the monster jump off the page. The C cover is the “B&W Incentive” featuring the artwork from the B cover. It’s also terrific and is a great way to see what Ribeiro brought to this piece when compared with the colored version. The final cover, the D, is the “Rare ‘Virgin Art'” cover. It’s the same artwork from the A cover with all the text taken from it. If one is a fan of that cover, this is a must get item. Overall grades: A B, B A+, C A, and D B

The story: Jane Greystoke is ordered by some thugs to sign a paper that turns over all the couple’s holdings in Africa. She refuses, because she knows her husband Tarzan is not dead. Lord Worland enters the office saying, “Leave her with the pen and the form for a while to think it over. After all, there might have been some new developments by the time we get back…” On Page 2 Sheena is introduced to the crowd under the big top. She performs several feats of acrobatics while riding the elephant she’s sworn to protect. Even Cheetah is there with her. As they exit the tent, they pass a huge banner showing Sheena and the simian, with their names emblazoned above it. Later that night, Sheena tends to the elephants and wonders if she’s made the right decision staying with the circus. She doesn’t feel right that she and her animal companions are “laughed and pointed at.” As she begins to feed the elephant, Cheetah bolts off. She doesn’t know where the ape is going, but fans will recognize that only one person’s proximity can make the chimpanzee so happy. Writer Corinna Bechko has introduced the book’s main conflict, identified what one character has been doing, and has the two title characters finally meet. That’s a lot to do in five pages and she makes it seem effortless. So far it’s been inferred that the men who’ve kidnapped Jane are the book’s baddies, but someone saunters into the book on Page 7 and instantly makes these men quiver. She’s an extremely formidable looking opponent and something that appears at the bottom of 8 will have readers gasping. After meeting with Sheena, Tarzan recounts what’s happened to him since falling off the bridge. A quite moment in the book as the two characters trade stories is broken by the arrival of an individual who’s oblivious to Tarzan’s identity. This spurs the Ape Man and Sheena to track down Jane and things get intense in the final six pages. Lots of action and lots of drama equals lots of fun. This is the jungle action you’re looking for! Overall grade: A+

The art: The visuals on this book by Roberto Castro are amazing. The full page splash on Page 2 is a dramatic piece as Sheena rides into the big top on the elephant. As she goes through her routine she looks amazing. Castro is able to have the Jungle Queen emote wonderfully on Pages 4 and 5 simply by the way she stands or sits; her body mirrors the woe of her dialogue. Castro is also able to have Cheetah emote, and it’s impossible not to know whom the ape senses at the bottom of 5. It’s also impossible not to smile at the fourth panel on Page 6. The entrance of the villain on 7 is fantastic; the design of the character is excellent, looking as though she could have walked out of a strip by Milton Caniff. It’s only when her arm is revealed does her deadly nature truly appear. The scene in the bar is very well rendered, especially with all the bottles in the background: Castro could have skimped on these items, as the characters are really earning the focus, but he doesn’t ignore the setting once. That’s the sign of a professional. When Tarzan enters a room in a menacing nature, Castro illustrates him silhouette and the ape man is an aboslute terror. The final page has a slick entrance from an entirely different character combined with some wicked looking technology. I can’t wait to see what those items do to the Jungle Lords. Every page is a visual feast for the reader. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The coloring by Alex Guimaraes is really good. I love the way Jane doesn’t just have a blanket yellow color for her hair but includes brown steaks and darker yellows to give it depth. The coloring on the elephant is amazing with all the different nooks and crannies of the beast colored in realistic grays. Pages 4 – 6 have some excellent colors to give the impression of night without making the images dull. The coloring of the villain of this book is outstanding; especially with the sensational work done around that individual’s eyes. Tarzan’s flashbacks are given specific hues, assisting the reader in recognizing that he or she is looking upon a time in the past. The final two locations of the book have two specific colors, blue and green, assigned to them to make them very foreign. If one is paying attention, one can see how civilization is given unnatural, unhealthy hues. A very smart and subtle way to have the reader long for a return to the bright colors of the jungle, just as Sheena and Tarzan do. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, yells, banner text, Cheetah exclamations, scene settings, punctuation used for a nonverbal utterance, and sounds are brought to life by Simon Bowland. The Cheetah vocalizations bring a smile to my face and the sounds put just the right punch into the visuals. I also love when punctuation is used for character’s responses and Page 5 has got a super one. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This book will make readers take to the trees to join in the adventures of Sheena and Tarzan. Flawless storytelling with superior visuals. A tale worthy of these characters. Overall grade: A+

To learn of other books featuring Tarzan and Sheena and their Jungle adventures go to http://dynamite.com

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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