Lord of the Jungle #1
Written by Arvid Nelson
Illustrated by Roberto Castro
Lettered by Simon Bowland
Colored by Alex Guimaraes
Covers by Alex Ross, Ryan Sook, Paul Renaud, and Lucio Parrillo
Release Date: January 18, 2012
Cover Price: $1.00
Just about everyone knows the basic premise behind the story of Tarzan. For some reason, that’s NOT the loincloth, he’s always been one of my favorite characters since I was a kid. That’s why, when I got the chance to review Lord of the Jungle #1, I jumped at it.
Writer Arvid Nelson had a pretty humongous task ahead of him. Since the 1940s pretty much any incarnation in any entertainment medium of the Tarzan character has been a bust. Thankfully, Nelson took what everyone knew about the character, chose the best parts, and wrote a comic.
This first issue is all origin, and that’s fine, what else would you expect from a first issue? What impressed me the most about this book was the mood that came across on the page. Yes, we all know that Tarzan’s parents are going to die, but when they do, the reader actually feels bad because in the few pages we’ve known them, Nelson gives huge amounts of character to Lord and Lady Greystoke. Also, the violence that happens in this book is REALLY violent and particularly brutal, but never exorbitant. Nelson makes great use of flashbacks and I’m excited to see if or how long they stay with this book.
The book would definitely not read as well without the art of Roberto Castro. I have to wonder just how time he spent researching photo references of the jungle, because the amount of detail that comes across is stunning. This is a book where the art is key. If you don’t buy that this is taking place somewhere in the jungles of Africa, it’s just not going to work. Castro does an incredible job on all aspects of storytelling here. Fantastic job!
By and large, this book is great! If you’re a fan of the Tarzan character, this is exactly what you want to read. If you’re new to the character, this is probably one of the coolest origin stories that you’ll ever see. There’s some surprises that come out of nowhere, and all the familiar story beats are there. Looks like Dynamite has hit yet another home run with this licensed property.