Review: King: Jungle Jim #1

KingJim01-Cov-A-CookeColTo know of Jungle Jim in the modern age is to be truly a fan of comics, not only of every genre but from every era.  With his introduction way back in 1934, the character maintained a following for a number of years.  He was first linked with Flash Gordon, appearing as a topper in their original introduction, but the character while popular did not manage to find the same following, even though attempts to publish him continued up until Charlton last tried in the late 1960s.  While tied to Flash Gordon in a creative and editorial sense, the characters could not have been further apart in the settings for their stories, Flash Gordon in a futuristic outer space and Jungle Jim as the Allan Quatermain of India.

The reintroduction of the character by Dynamite does something which has never been done before with the character, nor with any other jungle character buried deep in the past.  Instead of an homage by way of republishing old issues, the character is instead rebooted, but not in the original setting but rather into space and alongside Flash Gordon himself.  The character maintains some ties to the past , namely in his inspiration, but the story is different.  The denizens of a jungle planet have long heard the legends of Jungle Jim, a man capable of feats, one that can engage an army and walk away unscathed with the help of the jungle behind him.  His help is sought to aid the resistance against the Merciless Ming, and a search party goes to the wilderness to find him, hopefully before Ming’s men find either.

While this is an interesting concept it is the execution that fails.  Too much is introduced at once for the reader.  Instead of a gradual revelation of who is who, and what their motivations are, the story piles a lot of information about characters that are brand new, except for the titular character, who is retooled beyond recognition, even for those that might recognize him.  The end result is a bit of a misfire, though inspired at times.  It deserves credit for trying something really new with something really old, but is failed in the end by its basic storytelling.

Story: Paul Tobin Art: Sandy Jarrell
Story: 6.5 Art: 6.5 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass