Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Comics Review: "THE JAGUAR No.1" - A War of Claws and Feathers


STORY: Keryl Brown Ahmed
ART: Tango
COLORS: Ellie Wright
LETTERS: Jack Morelli
EDITOR: Jamie Lee Rotante
EiC: Mike Pellerito
COVER: Maria Laura Sanapo with Ellie Wright
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (April 2024); on sale in comic book shops February 21, 2024

Rating: Teen+

Eternal high school student and teenage boy, Archie Andrews, and his friends made their debut in M.L.J. Magazines' Pep Comics #22 (cover dated: December 1941), and before long, Archie was the publisher's headliner character.  In 1946, the company changed its named to Archie Comic Publications, also known as “Archie Comics.”

Archie Comics has also published superhero comic books.  Adventures of the Jaguar #1 (cover dated: September 1961) introduced “The Jaguar,” who was created by writer Robert Bernstein and artist John Rosenberger.  The Jaguar was Ralph Hardy, a zoologist who found a magic belt in an ancient temple that gave him flight, strength, animal control, and the enhanced abilities of many animals.

Many years later, New Crusaders #1 (cover dated: October 2012) introduced a new version of The Jaguar.  She is Ivette Velez, and now, she is the star of a new one-shot comic book, The Jaguar, No. 1.  It is written by Keryl Brown Ahmed; drawn by Tango; colored by Ellie Wright; and lettered by the great Jack Morelli.

The Jaguar #1 opens on a passenger bus traveling through Northern Peru.  Something is killing the Pampas cats of the region, and a group of zoologists has come together to investigate these mysterious slayings.  They know the culprit is a bird of prey, but the method of killing is unlike any of the birds local to the region.

Enter Ivette Velez a.k.a. “The Jaguar.”  It’s going to take someone with apex predator abilities to find out what is causing these murders…someone like Ivette!  Can the predator, however, become the prey?  Who or what is “The Buzzard?”  Who or what is “Ai Apaec?”  And what does this all have to do with Ivette's tragic past?  Can she solve these mysteries and validate the faith her mentor, the original Jaguar, Ralph Hardy, had in her?

THE LOWDOWN:   I have been reading comic books, on and off, for decades.  I have sporadically read Archie Comics titles over that time.  For many years now, Archie's marketing department has been sending PDF copies of some of their titles for review.  The Jaguar, No. 1 is the latest.

I was vaguely familiar with The Jaguar, mainly through DC Comics' early 1990s imprint, Impact Comics, which published updated versions of Archie Comics superhero characters.  I have taken interest in Archie's recent one-shot revivals of its superhero characters, beginning with the recent The Darkling, No. 1 (cover dated: January 2024).

However, dear readers, you don't have to be familiar with either version of The Jaguar at all to enjoy the new one-shot comic book, The Jaguar, No. 1.  Writer Keryl Brown Ahmed crafts a 21-page story that offers concise origins or back stories for the two major players in this comic book.  Ahmed gives the readers everything they need to understand the Jaguar, to enjoy the story, and to be ready for any potential future stories.

The art by Tango recalls the late Darwyn Cooke, and is visually energetic.  However, the storytelling is muddled; the page design in chaotic; and the composition is more style than substance.  As usual, Ellie Wright's colors are dazzling, and letterer Jack Morelli's work is classic comics cool.  Both are an added benefit to Tango's storytelling.

The Jaguar, No. 1 is a surprise, and I enjoyed it in spite of its graphical storytelling flaws.  Fans of Archie Comics superheroes will like it, especially because it offers the appearance of another old character, The Buzzard, which first appeared in the 1983 version of The Mighty Crusaders, specifically issue #11 (cover dated: March 1985).

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Archie Comics' superhero titles will want to try The Jaguar, No. 1.

[This comic book includes a two-page section on the making of The Jaguar, No. 1.]


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

The text is copyright © 2024 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Amazon wants me to inform/remind you that any affiliate links found on this page are PAID ADS, but I technically only get paid (eventually) if you click on affiliate links like these, BOOKS PAGE, GRAPHIC NOVELS, or MANGA PAGE and BUY something(s).

No comments:

Post a Comment