REVIEW: Lord of the Jungle #1

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Once again, it’s time to take a classic work and adapt it into a comic book for fans to read. The biggest difference between Wheel of Time, Game of Thrones, Warlord of Mars, or other books Dynamite Entertainment has adapted and Tarzan is the character is more well known than others. There have been countless movies, books, and television shows featuring the Lord of the Jungle, so how did Dynamite handle this adaptation?

LORD OF THE JUNGLE #1
Writer: Arvid Nelson
Illustrator: Roberto Castro
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Colorist: Alex Guimaraes
Cover Artist: Alex Ross, Ryan Sook, Paul Renaud, Lucio Parrillo
Based on the stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $1.00

ORIGIN STORIES RETOLD

If you haven’t read the origin of Tarzan, then you missing out on a great tale of a man raised from a baby by a tribe of gorillas to become the lord of the jungle. Dynamite Entertainment takes the origin story and adapts it quite well in this first installment, by showing Lord and Lady Greystoke being stranded in the Belgian Congo, and having to build a home for themselves, and their soon to be born son. Problems arise when an ape attacks Lord Greystoke outside the home, only to be saved by his wife and a rifle. That stress causes Alice to go into labor, and soon their son is born.

It takes an entire year for the apes to get riled up and attack the Greystokes at home, killing Lord and Lady. Tarzan is adopted by Kala (name not mentioned in this issue), who is grieving over losing her own child who was killed by Kerchak (name also not mentioned in this issue), king of the ape tribe.

There are a few problems with how the story is presented in this issue. The biggest has to do with how the apes discovered that Lord Greystoke killed one of their own. There are no witnesses to the primate killing, so the attack on the home seems unjustified, unless one marks it up to humans invading their territory. The other is simply a matter of time, as over the course of a year, Lord Greystoke appears to wither to a twig, possibly because he is too busy taking care of his ailing wife and newborn son.

It’s been far too long since I’ve read the original source material, but racism was always a criticism of the novels. Not knowing exactly what Arvid Nelson has in store for us, one moment in the issue certainly shifts that focus by introducing a group of half man/half ape creatures.

RENDERING THE JUNGLE ENVIRONMENT

Roberto Castro does a very good job of bringing the narrative to life in this issue. From the lush jungle environment, to the detailed luxury of treetop living, Castro’s art is well thought out. The landscapes alone are worth the cover price (and then some), as Castro’s pencils and Alex Guimaraes’ colors add depth to the page, something that can be very difficult to do in a jungle environment as other artists I’ve seen simply render the canopy directly behind the character, and shade the rest in dark greens and black.  My only criticism of the art, is that Castro tends to draw faces as though they are stuck to the head in a skewed way; the head may be turned to a three-quarter view, but the facial features are looking right at you.

BOTTOM LINE: WORTH A DOLLAR FOR SURE

Dynamite Entertainment has become the adaptation publisher, and they do it incredibly well. Lord of the Jungle #1 continues Dynamite’s adaptation success, and for a dollar, there’s no reason you shouldn’t pick this issue up. Lord of the Jungle #1 is well written, and the art is very good, and earns 4 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆