In Review: Lords of the Jungle #2

This is the type of series that keeps comic books alive. So fun! Highly recommended.

The covers: A foursome to encounter as you go on safari to your local comic book store. The A cover is by Felipe Massafera, who’s channeling his best Alex Ross. Shenna and Tarzan are running down a street in London, she dressed for battle, and he doing his a Superman reveal, ripping society’s shirt off. The figures look good, but the setting is incredibly lush. This is the type of architecture that one could get lost in. Even the civilians on the street look good, and I really love the touch of the headline on the newspaper in the lower left being readable. Interior artist Roberto Castro is responsible for the B cover, with Dinei Ribeiro providing the colors. This is set in the jungle, with the ape man lunging for a nearby vine, while the wide eyes of Sheena are in the background. Great way to combine both characters into an illustration. Tarzan looks fantastic — exactly as one would want to see him high above, and that image of Sheena is beautiful. The coloring is also strong, with her blue eyes shining like a beacon in the greens of the jungle. The C is the same as the B, sans color. This is also fantastic, but I do prefer it with Ribeiro’s colors. The D is the Rare “Virgin Art” cover. It’s the A cover minus all the text. If one is looking to see Massafera’s work in its pure form, this is it; and I do admit to this being the better of the two. Overall grades: A A, B A+, C A, and D A+

The story: Picking up from last issue, Sheena has been transported to another Earth, and is confronted by men in the jungle who have just mowed down several Leopard Men with a machine gun. Seeing her plight, loyal chimp Cheetah tosses a spear to the hero, who uses it to incapacitate the villains. One flees as she yells at him, “What do you know about that earthquake?! That doorway?!” The man turns and fires a pistol, with the bullet grazing her shoulder. He escapes, leaving the Queen of the Jungle woozy. Cheetah approaches and, seeing the blood, convinces her to follow him. Her frustration at her lack of answers is momentarily sated by the arrival of Pete, her parrot, who went through the portal with her. Corinna Bechko has exactly the right pacing to tell her story, weaving action and plot together flawlessly. Sheena meets a new ally and learns some more about her new world, and then the story turns to Earl of Greystoke, who’s in England on a mission to find his kidnapped wife. Having Tarzan make his way through an urban environment is the ultimate clash of worlds: it’s wonderful. This is an angry and focused Jungle Lord, who is incredible on Page 10 — this is the Tarzan I love! Major kudos to Bechko for involving him in this intrigue, with the following three pages being exciting. How Sheena gets herself transported to England is exceedingly clever and completely true to the nature of her character. Her commentary on those she encounters is fantastic and makes her incredibly strong. I love this! Overall grade: A+

The art: Roberto Castro is doing incredible work on this book. The first page brings the reader into the jungle fantastically: the opening panel has its first third devoted to the foliage before progressing to Sheena, standing defiantly with a knife, gazing at her foes. The next two panels are close ups of one of the villains and Sheena, instantly giving a visual clue to the reader whom they should be rooting for. When Sheena goes into the action, the pages transform from the standard rectangle and cube shapes to parallelograms, creating a jagged, intense environment for the action. When she’s grazed by the bullet, one can feel the projectile slicing through her — her face perfectly matching the pain. The new ally on Page 7 looks incredibly strong, and I’m hoping that he will return to this series before it ends. The scenes with Tarzan in London are stellar. A barefooted, long haired, suit wearing man propelling himself from building to building is breathtaking. Castro also adds in the rain, and it’s a visual feast. The intensity on the Jungle Lord’s face is magnificent at the bottom of 10. The large image on 16 is fantastic, showing one person confronting a magnificent creature. My favorite page of the book is 18, which is a collage of images showing Sheena’s voyage across the ocean. Everything that Castro is creating for this book is epic. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The greens of the jungle are beautiful from Alex Guimaraes. Even in the clearing shown in the opening, one cannot help but be swept up by the vivid colors. The dark greens provide a perfect background for Sheena, who stands out on every page because of her colors. When Sheena is hit, the background go to a stark orange to provide an increased pain to the proceedings. England is the exact opposite of the jungle, in dreary blues and greens, making the danger that Tarzan is confronting more ominous. However, Page 18 is, again, the best page in the book for the variety of colors, with that sunset absolutely amazing. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Dialogue, sounds, screams, Cheetah speech, Pete speech, signage, and scene settings come to life from Simon Bowland.  I’m so exceeding pleased to see that the two animals have dialogue balloon speech and not sounds that hover beside the characters; it makes them more like real characters — equal to their human friends, as opposed to inconsequential creatures. It’s a little thing, but I’m grateful. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This captures the spirit of both characters flawlessly in an incredible tale. The visuals are sumptuous, both in the city and the wilds. This is the type of series that keeps comic books alive. So fun! Highly 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.
    One Comment
  • Comic2read
    24 April 2016 at 1:46 am -

    I agree 100%. It’s a fun book and Felipe Massafera gets Sheena.

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