Taking some liberties with the story of Tarzan, “Lord of the Jungle” #2 brings some familiar faces to the supporting cast of the King of the Apes: Jane Porter, her father Professor Porter and their guide, Cecil Clayton. Tarzan himself even makes an appearance as things start to come together for Dynamite’s newest title.
Arvid Nelson’s story is a sliver of the tale of Lord Greystoke, especially as contained within the pages of this single issue, which is more of Cecil Clayton seeking to impress himself upon the Porters than it is anything regarding Tarzan as most readers know. Also of focus in this issue is the crew of miscreants who claim the Porters as their prisoners. There is dissention and mutiny in the crew’s ranks, leading to bloodshed in a scene that doesn’t serve much purpose except to show how vile those crewmen are and how tough Cecil Clayton can be.
This leads into a scene where we finally (sixteen pages into this issue) meet the titular character. Throughout the entire issue, Tarzan appears in nineteen panels. That’s not much, but the story does pace along quite nicely around it. The panels the Lord of the Jungle appears in are more briskly paced than the rest of the comic and the character makes an impression, piquing curiosity and exciting the other characters on the pages. Unfortunately, those other characters don’t do enough to merit the interest of the reader.
The art in this issue is technically sound. The characters have fluctuations in stature and build, but Roberto Castro displays enough talent to prove there is more to come in the pages of this series. In this issue, Castro makes some unfortunate storytelling choices like juxtaposing panels depicting scenes from different angles. This method is employed more than once, adding chaos to the story, but it isn’t the good kind. It’s artistically unfounded chaos, fitting images to the available space in the most jarring way rather than telling the story in a logical manner.
This series had a decent enough start, but this issue delivers a severe case of sophomore jinx. I’m hopeful that the series will soon find a decent enough balance, as “Lord of Jungle” needs to provide more focus on the jungle lord.