In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales presents The Jungle Book: Fall of the Wild #5

Everyone involved with this series is to be congratulated for creating a fantastic adventure.

The covers: The A cover is by Ted Hammond with Mowglii raising up her fist that now bears the claws of the Shere that were lost with the death of Bomani last issue. These claws will be a major symbol for the other animals at war with each other, but will she be in time to use them to stop the bloodshed? Nice cover that sums up the hopes of Mowglii. The coloring is a little too splotchy on her skin and top, but the background and the trees look good. The B is by Emilio Laiso and it’s a sweet shot of Mowglii battling Baloo. She looks strong, he looks fierce, and the coloring is very strong. Laiso has captured the motion of the fight well. Standing in a sexy pose is Mowglii on the C cover by Cris Delara. She looks a lot older than how I’ve seen her look before, but she’s still very attractive looking in this illustration. The coloring is well done, with the backlighting behind her creating a god-like glow that stands out among all the green. There’s also an Atlantic City Boardwalk Con Exclusive by Michael Dooney with colors by Ula Mos, with one version limited to 500 copies and another limited to 100. I couldn’t find a copy of this online, so good luck tracking it down! Overall grades: A B-, B A, and C A-

The story: The volcano is still erupting on the island known as Kipling, and the survivors from the pirate ship are making their way back to shore, only to encounter the Shere, they Payari, and the Seeonee attacking each other on the beach. The three tribes cease their fighting when Kahn lets loose a roar. The groups see Mowglii holding the claw of Kahn high above her. They don’t know what to do, being startled by this vision. She tries to tell the tribes to stop fighting as man–the pirate ship–is approaching and they need to work together to repel the invaders. That’s when the ship is close enough to release its first volley of cannonballs. This is a battle of survival with animal versus humans in the rain, while a volcano continues to spew its molten death. Writer Mark L. Miller is pushing all the right buttons in this closing chapter. There’s plenty of action, dramatic speeches, and an incredibly shocking moment when two characters have to do battle. I’ve only been following the adventures of this Jungle Book with this series, but based on how this has made me feel, I’ve got to track down the previous two volumes. The final four pages are a beautifully written coda, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Miller returns soon. Overall grade: A

The art: The visual chores are split between Michele Bandini (Pages 1 – 11) and Luca Claretti (12 – 22). I have become a huge fan of Bandini’s work based on this series and will eagerly search out other books he does. His work is impressive with being able to capture the ferocity of the animals and their personalities. The animals looks amazing, and if they didn’t the book would fall apart. His humans are equally impressive, be they the heroes or villains. When the pirates land ashore it made me wish that the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie looked as good as the motley crew that Bandini has created. Because the battle that occurs is on a massive scale, Bandini uses small panels at the tops and bottoms of pages to show the conflicts occurring outside the scope of the larger panels. This is a sensational way to show the scope of the battle and made the action seem huge. Claretti’s portion of the book falls upon an unexpected conflict between Mowglii and someone else. When the artists change it’s pretty obvious, but the illustrations are still strong. The battle is fierce and its ending stunning. The final panel on Page 13 is wonderfully brutal and sad. I can’t imagine it being done any better. Even with two artists, this book remains strong. Overall grade: A 

The colors: Beautiful work by Grostierta on this book. The first page has terrific lighting effects on the characters as they near the volcano’s wrath. Look at the tremendous work on Khan, Mowglii, and the water. When the chaos on the beach is shown, the elephants’ coloring is great. I also really like the soft colors used for the distant cliffs in the background of the second panel on page 4. The pirate battle is glorious, with crimson being a stark reminder of the stakes of this skirmish. The sunrise on the final double-page spread is a wonderful dramatic moment. I love Grostierta’s work on this book. Overall grade: A

The letters: I’ve been continually amazed on this series by Matt Krotezer’s contributions of so many different fonts for all the different species. I’ve never seen so many done with such a unique look in any other book before. This series deserves a looksee just for Krotezer’s contributions. He is absolutely aces on this and made the reading experience all the more wild. I love the speech of the leader of the Bada Dar! Overall grade: A+

The final line: A sensational closing for a super series. Everyone involved with this series is to be congratulated for creating a fantastic adventure. I hope it’s not long before Kipling is revisited. 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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