|'68 JUNGLE JIM No. 1, April 2013|
Indeed the periodical actually starts with a wonderfully vivid double-splash depiction by Jeff Zornow, of an elephant not only having his head blown clean off by a bazooka warhead, but his entire belly cage spectacularly exploding outwards as well… and the gruesomely disembowelled Vietcong pachyderm rider, his legs disintegrating as a result of the blast, hasn’t even been mentioned yet; “Sorry Dumbo…” indeed.
Any bookworm managing to stomach such a violent extreme should be able to ‘soldier on’ but this comic genuinely does not get any less sickening as the so-called ‘hero of the hour’ Private Brian Curliss, merrily despatches his foes, both living and undead, by murderously chopping heads, eyes and noses off with a huge serrated blade or filling the panels with splattered brains, teeth and intestines as he guns them down with his semi-automatic pistol.
Struggling to survive amidst this unrelenting and exorbitant bloodbath is Mark Kidwell’s story, a simple tale which is actually quite well told should a reader not be so squeamish as to already have both their eyes tightly shut. It is quite clear that the United States marine is mentally damaged, as he constantly talks to a non-existent Sergeant. But Curliss is also a good guy, first rescuing a group of prisoners of war and then leading them in a firefight against their former captors. In addition the man is not simply nor lazily depicted as some sort of ‘killing machine’, though at times he does a good impersonation, but is actually shown clearly struggling to cope with the horrors of the Vietnam War by “pukin’ [his] guts out after a firefight.”
However “Hellhole: Meet The New Boss…” is not just about the Private’s fight with the Northern Vietnamese. It is also about mankind’s struggle with the Asian zombie infestation and as a result the title’s creator additionally has the gas-masked combatant up to his literal neck in clawing, gnawing and biting undead; affording artist Zornow yet another opportunity to produce a stomach-churning double-page splash of brain matter, flying eyeballs, severed limbs and dismembered corpses.
|The regular cover art of "'68 JUNGLE JIM" No. 1 by Jeff Zornow|