|'68 JUNGLE JIM No. 2, May 2013|
As a horror genre comic book Issue Two of “‘68 Jungle Jim” has an awful lot of monsters crammed within its twenty two pages. But not all of them are the living dead, as Mark Kidwell’s writing focusses upon some of the less savory human warriors of the Vietnam War… as well as the native Cambodian wildlife. Indeed “Hellhole: If We Happen To Be Left Half-Alive” introduces a number of new characters to those following Private Brian Curliss’ “epic quest to find the rotting, undead remains of Sergeant Jim Asher”, and the majority of them have dishonorable or at the very least questionable motivations.
Whether they be a pair of reckless United States Air Force pilots thoughtlessly dumping a consignment of napalm ordnance upon a hapless group of Vietnamese refugees, or a vile sadistic Viet Cong officer leading a murderous band of soldiers and threatening to abduct the orphaned children at the holy Salut Glen Mission. These people really have little empathy for the plight of their fellow ‘Man’ despite the constant threat of them all ‘surviving’ together during a zombie apocalypse.
What this issue does contain however is plenty of gory graphically-depicted action. Straight from the opening there’s a double-splash of a decaying corpse molesting a scantily clad nubile young woman. A troubling start to a scene which concludes with the living corpse having half his face burnt away and ear shot off. However this is simply the tip of an especially disturbing iceberg as Private Curliss wades deeper into the jungle and gets himself surrounded by a decaying hungry horde of zombies. Splattered brains, feasting maggots, bodily fluids and pink entrails all frenziedly follow as the Marine, later accompanied by a tiger, graphically gorge themselves on their undead foe. None of this propensity for violence should come as a surprise though considering the script has been penned by the creator of extreme horror title “BUMP” by “Fangoria Comics”.
The book’s language is equally as colourful and repulsive. Although admittedly on occasions seems entirely appropriate for the predicament the soldier finds himself in. Indeed there are actually a few ‘laugh out loud’ moments as Curliss berates himself for dropping his defences and becoming outnumbered by clawing cadavers, on account of him giving a little girl a ‘jolly fun’ piggyback through the undergrowth. Though the man’s funniest reaction has be when he comes face to face with an incredibly angry Panthera Tigris, having seemingly scampered up a tall tree and reached safety.
Disappointingly the pen and ink work of Jeff Zornow is not especially impressive, and at times is unsettlingly substandard. His figures are animated enough, and it is clear that the artist’s ‘enthusiasm for the Kaiju and horror genre’ has given him a great eye for detail when it comes to drawing zombies. But there are several panels where his line work is indistinct and poor, especially when depicting the faces of his characters.
|The regular cover art of "'68 JUNGLE JIM" No. 2 by Jeff Zornow|