May 7, 2012

Zenescope Reviews: The Jungle Book #2

The Jungle Book #2
Publisher: Zenescope
Writer: Mark Miller
Artist: Carlos Granda (cover by Mike Debalfo)
Colors: Liezl Buenaventura

Mowglii has an attitude, and that not being considered, she seems to be flourishing into a great warrior. She’s being trained not only by her wolf pack, but also by Baloo. Oh, and he’s not some dopey funny man in this story, but a vicious bear that likes to kill. The jungle is under a truce agreement right now, but that will soon come to a bloody end. On the other side of the jungle, Bomani is being raised and trained by the tiger pack, and the evil Shere Khan! His training isn’t going as good as Mowglii’s, but he wants to prove himself in the worst way. As Mowglii trains with Baloo, the truce is about to be broken, and there will be blood spilled all across the jungle. Family will be lost, hearts will be broken, and Mowglii will never be the same.

I’d like to first mention that Raven Gregory, Joe Brusha, and Ralph Tedesco are given credit for this story along with Miller. How much collaborating there is may be up for debate, but one thing that isn’t is the quality of this book so far. It’s been amazing to follow this fantastic story with characters that are being shown in a different light. Mowglii may be a girl in this adaptation, but she’s one tough cookie! Her relationship with Baloo is pretty intense, especially during their sparring sessions. She has great skill, but usually lets her arrogance get in the way. She’s also been raised and trained by the wolf pack of the jungle, and that being said, she has a strong connection to them that hopefully will be explored further down the line. There hasn’t been much about the other animal packs yet, but that will hopefully be remedied down the road soon.

Carlos Granda is familiar to anybody who has seen his earlier work with Zenescope, and that’s a good thing. He has a pretty slick style that flows from panel to panel effortlessly. The animals are quite good, along with the humans, and the jungle itself. He does a superb job as well with the action scenes. That might not sound like much, but quite a few artists are either good at action and terrible at dialog scenes, or vice versa. Granda doesn’t skip a beat on both accounts. The colors by Buenaventura are solid, too, and certainly do the pencils justice. As usual, the covers are breathtaking. The “A” cover by Debalfo is great, and the “B” cover by Ale Garza (below) isn’t to be dismissed, either!

This series has been a gem so far, and a pleasure to read. One can only hope that things only get even better from here, because of the high standard that’s been set already. The creative team behind this book should be proud of their work, and move forward to do more great things! Rating 4/5

Billy Dunleavy



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