|'68 JUNGLE JIM No. 4, July 2013|
Having established such a demoralising tone to his work, the America writer then throws the reader into some graphically stomach-churning action as Private Brian Curliss confronts a squad of Viet Cong who are additionally fending off a large scale attack from the Walking Dead. Such a three-way struggle invariably leads to a bloodbath of a narrative as soldiers fall to the ground having had their heads or limbs chopped off by ‘Jungle Jim’ or their brains and eyes gouged out of their still squealing heads by the hungry cadavers. Indeed Kidwell appears at his innovative best in devising a plethora of different harrowing ways with which the guerrillas are slaughtered; be it machete, explosive, throwing knife or decaying fingers, page after page, panel after panel.
Even when the pulse-pounding battle is over, and the marine has finally sent smart-zombie Sergeant Jim Asher to a lasting restful peace, there is no room for celebration. For having succeeded in his personal mission and temporarily cast the mantle of ‘Jungle Jim’ to one side, the ‘killing-machine’ realises he can’t escape his bloody fate as a ‘splatterer of brain matter’ and must fatally dispatch the heroic but now undead female missionary of Salut Glen, whilst she’s hanging inside the chicken house. Despondent and war-weary, the tale depressingly ends with Curliss trudging back into the jungle’s undergrowth knowing that he’ll now never “forget some of the horror” and that he is no longer Brian, but the latest incarnation of (Jungle) Jim.
Presumably inspired by the depictions of bodily mutilation Kidwell’s script required, Jeff Zornow’s pen and ink work is irritatingly inconsistent, with his sketchings showing the more sedentary scenes of the story appearing hurriedly rough and ready. However, whenever the subject matter moves to the more grisly or horrific spectacles, such as Sergeant Asher’s attempt to ambush his former friend with a group of clutching cadavers, the artist produces some fearfully gruesome yet finely detailed illustrations.
|The regular cover art of "'68 JUNGLE JIM" No. 4 by Jeff Zornow and Jay Fotos|