King/Dynamite Entertainment 2015
Written by Paul Tobin
Illustrated by Sandy Jarrell
Coloured by Luigi Anderson
I have no idea what makes this so special but Paul’s depiction of Jungle Jim certainly helps make this one of the most fun and exciting new offerings of the year for me. I’m no stranger to Paul’s work and I’ve always enjoyed the series he’s worked on, Spider-Girl most noticeably, but for whatever reason this character seems to have found a niche with him. Jim’s drinking and ever rambling on with silly words and phrases belies the fact that he’s more than a formidable opponent. His effervescent personality is infectious to say the least and more often than not seeing him on the page just makes you smile.
Lillie’s quest to free her brother and her own seeming alcohol addiction are something that is addressed this issue in something of a shocking turn of events giving us a brand new reason to appreciate the girl’s grit and determination. While the people they arm and train cry out Daris Devrille, Lillie’s brother’s name, they are effectively taking the planet back from Ming’s forces. Unable to fight against the forces of the Jungle and and ever growing army Ming’s forces now find themselves besieged at every turn.
This doesn’t go unnoticed by Ming whose rage grows to the point where he’s now going to the Planet itself to execute Daris in front of the population to send a message that resistance is futile. There’s a trap in store as well one being planned from both sides and the writing and characterization here is surprisingly intelligent as both Ming and Jim talk about the same thing at the same time both painfully aware of what’s about to happen and both hoping to have the upper hand in this upcoming trap.
I’m incredibly impressed with the story itself and the humor really does mask some of the seriousness of what’s happening here but it also works to alleviate some of the more dramatic moments. Jim’s and Lillie’s conversation about their drinking is a perfect example of this it’s a huge revelation on her part and he’s surprising supportive and understanding and it’s a great moment and then he leaves pops his head back in and adds his own brand of humor that makes her smile, a rare occurrence. Paul has taken this character from an unknown oddity, for me anyway, and made him completely riveting.
Sandy and Luigi’s work on the interiors here also has a great mixture of detail and this old school feel. Not quite pulp and not quite modern but it definitely is wonderful stuff. A little on the simple side but then sometimes less is more and for this world, these characters it works incredibly well. Plus anytime we can see the romance between a winged man and a rhino man well that’s just a bonus and it makes you wonder how after his transformation the two can make love.
Dynamite is the place where characters come to get revived and made relevant once again. They hire the right people for each project and support these projects the best way they can and in return we get to know characters that would otherwise be lost to the annuls of history.