Skaar: King of the Savage Land #2

Story by
Art by
Brian Ching, Rick Ketcham
Colors by
Letters by
Dave Sharpe
Cover by
Marvel Comics

The Marvel Universe leftover surprise that is "Skaar: King of the Savage Land" plows on through this issue, with outsiders being beaten, murdered, and chased out of the Savage Land left and right. The "Designer" (as s/he is calling her/himself) has taken control of Shanna and wants all non-native life out of the Savage Land. That includes the United Nations contingent and Ka-Zar, but Skaar initially avoids notice.

The U.N. contingent that flees in helicopters and airplanes are drawn a little too small on the panel to have dramatic effect. The coloring, placement, and size of the aircraft threatens to camouflage some of them right off the page, but the dialog immediately following helps set things straight.

Brian Ching's art is painfully uneven in this book. There are moments of pure brilliance, where Ching rivals only the Kubert clan for their mastery of jungle reconstruction. But, then, there are moments where it seems as though Ching is drawing from Andy Kubert drawings, and other moments where Ching seems to be trying to draw by forgetting anything and everything about Kubert's drawings. Ching needs to bring the quality of work that he puts into the money shots to the rest of the issue.

There's good, great, and not-so-good art in this book. The coloring by Guru eFX ties the issue together nicely and adds in some effects when backgrounds are scarce.

Williams is having fun getting the toys out of the toybox in this issue. I'm not completely sold on "The Designer" as a concept or a threat, but there are still three issues left to round the rest of the story into shape. What Williams has shown in the first two issues - characterization, exciting action sequences, and some brief humor - makes this story worthwhile. It's definitely a hodgepodge of concepts and characters, but Williams is blending it all into an enjoyable story.

In the end, it just feels like nothing of substance beyond what was established last issue happened in this issue, save an appearance by Devil Dinosaur and Moonboy. Still, there are pieces on the board here and the story is set in motion. I like Ka-Zar, I enjoy the Savage Land setting, and I really dig comics with dinosaurs, so I'll be back for the next issue. I just hope there's some solid advancement and a reason for me to care about Skaar.

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