In Review: Lords of the Jungle #6

Sheena and Tarzan would be proud of this adventure.

The covers: Tarzan and Sheena make their way through the jungle, he with a bow and she with a spear. Accompanying them is a beautiful black panther on this cover by Felipe Massafera. Both characters look strong on this A cover, the jungle looks sensational, and the lighting coming through the trees is slick, with it falling across Tarzan’s chest and backlighting Sheena’s hair. Just beautiful. The B cover is by interior artist Roberto Castro with colors by Dinei Ribeiro. This is like a movie poster featuring all the key characters from this series: Tarzan is front and center, Sheena to his left, a giant Laine is behind the ape man, with two thugs, Jane, and two animals against a flaring orange portal that created this story. Nicely done, though I would have liked to have Sheena getting just as much space as Tarzan. The C cover, or the “B&W Incentive Cover,” features the art of the B cover, but without Ribeiro’s contributions. I love Castro’s art, and I like this, but I prefer it with Ribeiro’s colors. The final cover, the D, is the Rare “Virgin Art” Cover. This is the same image from the A cover, minus all the text. It’s a great cover and it really shines standing on its own. Overall grades: A A, B A-, C B+, and D A

The story: Tarzan was about to leap through the time portal at end of last issue, but this final installment has Sheena telling him to wait. She wants to destroy the portal. Tarzan’s home is safe, but the future may be damned no matter what they do. “Is it not better to preserve what we can, while we can?” He disagrees, saying it is not right for her future to be stolen. The ape man adds, “And I am not willing to let a power mad woman steal anyone’s future. We stop her now, whenever she is. And then we work to stop whatever created her madness.” I was absolutely enthralled that writer Corinna Bechko had the two leads arguing. Both are heroes, without question, but their motivations are very different, and this choice that’s before them should create some friction. The dialogue on Page 2 was outstanding, with the interruption by the individual that starts 3 outstanding; that’s the only way to stop the protagonists from arguing. How the situation is resolved is perfect, and how it motivates the pair to action outstanding. A new location is revealed on 6 and it was neat the see the leads completely out of their elements, but still using their jungle skills to assist them, as on 7 in the second and fifth panels. Naturally there are fisticuffs with the villain and her minions, but Bechko doesn’t make this a predictable fight, with its conclusion being something I’ve not encountered in a Edgar Rice Burroughs’s book or an Iger and Eisner story. She deserves much praise for having the characters end this conflict in a way that is absolutely true to their characters. The final six pages are a good coda to this saga, with one character having a charge to fulfill. This was an excellent ending that left me wanting so much more of both characters. Overall grade: A+

The art: Sumptuous visuals are to be found on every page from Roberto Castro. The first page shows both characters starting to become heated, starting with a sensational first panel of Sheena getting angered and ending with Tarzan really losing his cool as he considers the pain he will inflict on Laine. Things get really tense when the ape man grabs Sheena by the shoulders; even I knew that he just crossed a major line. As the two square off in the fifth panel at the bottom of Page 2, I thought this partnership was officially over, but the character that appears at the top of 3 silenced them; with his gestures being absolutely regal. The actions and reactions at the bottom of the page made me laugh in joy at the sudden action. The two page sequence that follows would make Burroughs and Iger and Eisner proud. The contrast between settings on 7 and 8 is dramatic and put the book into a conflict of possibilities that any reader could understand. The slow close up on Laine at the bottom of 9 shows how far off the rails she’s gone. When the villain has to defend herself against the two heroes the visuals really take off. I really liked that both heroes showed that they had the strength to take Laine down, with the montage on 13 being outstanding. The conclusion of the fight was a surprising visual, with the second panel on 14 being a terrific way to show three characters’ reactions. The final glimpse of a character at the bottom of 17 was a heartbreaker, but Castro has given that individual an awesome final appearance. 19 starts with one character’s triumphant return and it’s the perfect image of a hero. But Castro really outdoes himself with the final page which is full page splash that is a sensational send-off for this series. Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: Alex Guimaraes gives this book bold, dramatic colors which magnify every aspect of Castro’s visuals. Look at the sensational work that Guimaraes does with the leads’ skin tones on the opening pages. The portal that’s key to this series has a wonderful violet science fiction hue that makes it inviting and alien. Sheena’s hair continues to be an eye catcher with its orange highlights. The unexpected setting of 6 and 7 allows Guimaraes to show his skills with colors that haven’t been seen in this series and they wonderfully highlight the darkness of the location. The colors on these pages become even more magnified when the colors of 8 reveal themselves. Action sequences explode with yellows and oranges dominating the backgrounds, making the proceedings intense. As the book winds down, the jungle greens return and they are gorgeous. The light of the sun dominates the final page and the colors bring it to life perfectly. I’m looking forward to seeing what book Guimaraes turns to next. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, scene settings, sounds, Pete speak, yells, and the final word of the series are created by Simon Bowland. Pete’s dialogue is great, separating him a further visual step from humans, and the sounds are top notch, with the sound that ends 11 super. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Every issue of this series was a winner and I hope that all the contributors reunite for another project soon. Sheena and Tarzan would be proud of this adventure. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

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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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