Monday, July 31, 2023

Comics Review: "LORD OF THE JUNGLE Volume 3 #6" is a Grand Finale


STORY: Dan Jurgens
ART: Benito Gallego
COLORS: Francesco Segala with Agnes Pozza
LETTERS: Carlos M. Mangual
EDITOR: Matt Idelson
COVER: Philip Tan
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (July 2023)

Rated Teen+

“The Tortured Few”

Tarzan is one of the most famous fictional characters in the world.  Tarzan was an orphan and the archetypal “feral child,” and in this instance, he was raised in the African jungle by great apes.  Tarzan was born a noble, John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, but he rejected civilization and lived in the wilds of Africa as a heroic adventurer.  Tarzan was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs and first appeared in the novel, Tarzan of the Apes, which began serialization in All-Story Magazines in 1912, before it was published in book form in 1914.  Tarzan would go onto to be a multimedia star, appearing in films, on television, and in comic books.

The latest Tarzan comic book is Dynamite Entertainment's Lord of the Jungle Volume 3. It is written by Dan Jurgens; drawn by Benito Gallego; colored by Francesco Segala; and lettered by Carlos M. Mangual.  Tarzan's friend, an African local named Bouanga, recounts an event that occurs in the early years of Tarzan's adventures.  Now, the Lord of the Jungle has returned to right a past wrong no matter what manner of beast or obstacle stands in his way.

Lord of the Jungle Volume 3 #6 (“The Tortured Few”) opens in Africa, in the 1950s.  Tarzan has returned to the Valley of Mists to keep his promise to return the "Diamonds of the Triad," the jewels that were once treasures from the valley.

Bouanga, the narrator, also returns to the past to tell the story of Tarzan's final confrontation with Carson, a white hunter from England who first encountered Tarzan decades earlier.  Will Tarzan defeat Carson? Can he save Bouanga in the 1950s?  And from when and where is this story told?  And what does the future hold for Tarzan?

THE LOWDOWN:  Since July 2021, Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department has been providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is Lord of the Jungle Volume 3 #6, which is only the sixth issue of a solo Dynamite Tarzan comic book that I have read.

Dan Jurgens has written one of the best Tarzan comic books that I have read in decades.  It is a hugely satisfying mix of redemption, revenge, and reunion, which are among the hallmarks of romantic adventure fiction.  It's safe to say that Lord of the Jungle Volume 3 is a high-point in modern adventure fiction, as well as being one of the best of Jurgen's recent works.

Artist Benito Gallego transforms Jurgen's script into high-adventure storytelling, and Gallego's work remained consistently good throughout this series.  It is some of the most beautifully drawn comic book art being published today.  It is a good thing that Gallego's drawing style resembles that of the late comic book legend, Joe Kubert.  Kubert had a four-year stint (1972-76) as writer-artist and later as writer-only of DC Comics' Tarzan comic book series, considered by some to be among his best work.

Colorist Francesco Segala's lovely colors capture the varied moods of this series finale, both in the three time periods and three locales of this closing chapter.  Letterer Carlos M. Mangual brings a sense of high drama with his stylish, emotive fonts, making sure this story ends with power.

Lord of the Jungle Volume 3 #6, like previous issues, strongly delivers on the potential the first issue promised.  I rarely read Tarzan comic books, but I read this series' entire run with gusto  I highly recommend it to you, dear readers, as a series and as a trade paperback collection.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Tarzan comic books will want to read Lord of the Jungle Volume 3.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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