|'68 JUNGLE JIM: GUTS 'N GLORY ONE-SHOT, March 2015|
“Once again helmed by the… creator of chaos, Mark Kidwell” this blood-soaked return to Vietnam and the exploits of Private Brian Curliss lives up to all its author’s pre-publication hype by depicting some horrifically gratuitous “gore and over-the-top action” right from the ‘get-go’ as a desperately bound, teary-eyed female US Peace Corps volunteer has her throat slashed wide open despite her pitiful pleas for mercy. Disconcertingly however, any ‘faint-hearted’ bibliophiles hoping that such a “hard to look at” sequence would be as repugnant as this twenty-four-page periodical could get would very quickly have any such allusion dispelled courtesy of the bamboo armoured titular character abruptly stepping out of the jungle’s undergrowth and directly decapitating “the sadistic guerrillas” responsible for the girl’s death with a double-sweep of his long knives…
Indeed barely a scene goes by within this one-shot’s narrative where “the master horror writer” doesn’t have some grotesque blood-curdling atrocity occur. For whether it be a party of “always hungry” “pus-bags” having their decaying limbs severed by the gas-mask wearing soldier’s razor-sharp blades, or a hapless member of the Kampuchea communist party being literally torn apart by a well-thrown hand-grenade as he’s cooking soup, exploding eyeballs, bodiless heads and pinkish-hued brain matter seemingly forever dominant the proceedings; “Jimmy’s got a snack for ya!”
Kidwell also manages to make good on his ‘marketing’ promise of “upping the ante with zombie kills” by having the book’s central “familiar friend” face “the biggest… ugliest thing I’ve ever seen” in the shape of a (un)dead G.I. Already battered and bruised from almost being a ravenous cadaver’s “pork-chop”, the fatigued Curliss has little choice but to dive for cover as his formidable blue-hued opposition rakes the surrounding foliage with light machinegun fire. But it isn’t long before the two combatants get up ‘close and personal’ and both ears and other decaying body parts start to once again spatter the panels with gore.
Much of this comic’s repulsiveness though is actually down to the “pen and inks” of Jeff Zornow, whose drawings of dismemberment and human mutilation are genuinely disturbing at times. In fact the “Godzilla: Rulers Of Earth” artist seems to take particular pleasure in depicting Brian’s foes being dispatched in as macabre a way as possible, and it therefore comes as something of a shock to the reader when mid-way through this grim book the horror genre enthusiast utilises four entire pages depicting “Jim” simply conversing with the blonde-haired Glory and eating chow.
|The regular cover art of "'68 JUNGLE JIM: GUTS 'N GLORY ONE-SHOT" by Nat Jones and Jay Fotos|