In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales presents The Jungle Book: Fall of the Wild #4

This is simply amazing. Highest possible recommendation.

The covers: A strong foursome to track down and add to your pen. The A is by Alfredo Reyes and Sean Ellery featuring Mowglii and Bagheera doing their best imitation of The Life of Pi. She has her spear and knife ready as she stands out on the front of the boat looking at something in the distance, while that black cat is warning readers to stay away. Nice image and good colors that blend seamlessly with the photographic background. Ted Hammond has Mowglii acting out a scene from Peter Pan as she’s about to take the final step walking the plank as a group of pirates look on. Excellent detail in the ship and its crew with the colors being really bright on her to make her stand out. I wish I had been able to get a copy of the C cover but my local comic book store didn’t get any. It’s drawn by Paul Green and it’s a super shot of Mowglii aboard the pirate ship with a knife in each hand. She’s drawn in a cute “good girl” style and it’s gorgeous. Must find! There’s also an Emerald City Comic Con exclusive cover limited to 500 copies with art by Cris Delara. It’s the inside of a garage featuring a woman looked at from behind, wearing a half top and ripped shorts holding a guitar. She’s looking over her shoulder catching the reader’s attention. It has nothing to do with this issue, but it’s a pretty drawing. Reminds me of Tanya Roberts. Overall grades: A A-, B A, C A+, and Emerald City Comic Con B+

The story: Mowglii has been kidnapped by the God of Fear and Fire (a middle aged, slim, red headed man) and he’s taking her somewhere on his raft. She’s spitting venom at the man from stealing her from her friends, but he just wants her to shut up. She’s worth something, so he has to keep her alive. He hopes some vessel will find them after spotting the smoke coming out Kipling’s volcano. Unknown to either is that swimming in pursuit is Bomani, who hopes to rescue his female friend. In fact, he catches up to the tiny raft and pulls himself up, swinging his tiger clawed fists at the man. Unfortunately, the old man is more nimble than he appears. Something comes up on the water and the tale goes swinging in a new direction. This installment written by Mark L. Miller is just as enjoyable as the previous three. The action is quick, the pace is fast, the characters are fun, and the jokes are great. Of particular joy are the animals’ voices. Each creature has its own unique way of speaking and they sound like fully fledged characters, even if they only appear for a few panels. It has me despairing what’s happening on Kipling. The funniest line in the book happens in the third panel on Page 9 and it’s spoken by Tobaqui. It’s a throwback to events seen in the first issue, and it is going to be the most quoted joke from this book. There’s an entirely new group of characters introduced on 13 and they mean business. It was inevitable that this group would appear and how they interact with the book’s cast is terrific. There’s an incident on Page 18 that is a stunner. It was unexpected and brought an entirely new mood to this series. I can only wonder how our heroes can escape the doom that’s coming at them from all corners next issue. I can’t wait to see! Overall grade: A+

The art: Have you ever read a comic book and wished it was a movie? If you haven’t, you will after reading this book. The artwork by Michele Bandini is beautiful. His ability to create motion, not just in showing the raft as it’s making its way across the ocean, but look at how the waves are rocking this tiny craft on the first page. And look at how Mowglii is shown growling at her captor. Page 4 is a magnificent shot of Bomani getting on the raft and is the quintessential hero shot. At the bottom of the page is a close up of as his teeth as he begins to growl at the old man. I was thinking, ‘Hell, yeah!” The arrival of the object on Page 6 is great. It’s a fully rendered drawing, but enough is being kept hidden by Bandini so that when it appears up close on Page 13 it’s all the more impressive. Not all the action takes place on the high seas; there’s a situation–several of them–happening on Kipling. Five of the book’s heroes are doing all they can to rescue Mowglii, but a missing tribe appears to make the situation tense. I love the middle two panels on Page 8, which is a sensational wild show down. Page 9’s jumbo sized panel is funny and frightening. The spread that crosses Pages 16 and 17 is amazing. I can’t imagine the visuals on the book getting more heroic, and then 18 happens and things take a turn. The look on the character in that second panel is unforgettable. Every page has wonder after wonder. Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: The artwork is beautiful and the colors by Grostieta are gorgeous. Look at the splendid use of blues for those scenes on the ocean, the wondrous lumination of the moon, and the stunning reds in the growls from Bomani. The grays and oranges that arrive on 9 are terrific. On Page 11 there’s a sensational use of yellow and red, with one sound effect going ginormous, but remaining transparent so that the visual underneath it can still be seen. I also love the green on Akili’s face. And the glows radiating from two key settings on the final page are cinematic quality. Just wonderful. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Let’s all just admit right now that Matt Krotzer is a lettering god. This book smartly has every species have its own unique font and Krotzer goes wild with the opportunity, adding to the characters’ traits with the way they speak. There’s “normal” human dialogue, but when the animals talk it’s beautiful to look at. I can’t think of any other book I’ve ever read where the font for dialogue is rendered so perfectly and with such a wide variety. There are also super sound effects on this book, but the dialogue is the real winner. I just want to look at characters talk. What a gift and joy to read. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This is one of the best books out and should be read by everyone. It perfectly captures the wild in action and has me turning pages anxiously to see what species will next appear. Action packed, beautiful, funny, sad, awesome, and spectacular. This is simply amazing. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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