Written by: Mark L. Miller
Pencils by: Jorge Mercado
Colors by: Liezl Buenaventura
Letters by: Jim Campbell
Edited by: Matt Rogers
Time in the Sun Backup story:
Pencils by: Butch Mapa
Published by: Zenescope
Reviewed by: Kristian Horn
In comic shops today!
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m not really a fan of the Zenescope comics. A line of comics based solely on sexing up existing fairytale properties isn’t that much of a draw to me. I’ve spoken in a previous review for the original Jungle Book mini -series that I wrote for Ain’t It Cool News a while ago that I was a bit disheartened when Mark L. Miller had started writing for Zenescope. I’d really loved his Bluewater comic Nanny and Hank andI felt that he really had some serious potential after having read that series. I felt that he was wasting it a bit at Zenescope by possibly writing T & A comics for them.
Of course, I’d been wrong about that. In that same aforementioned review I ended up praising his work on Jungle Book and actually finding myself surprised that I enjoyed the comic as much as I did. It turned out that the cream really does rise to the top even if it’s hampered by ridiculously over sexed art that attempts to drag the material down into the muck.
With Jungle Book: Origin of the Species Miller proves that the first series wasn’t a fluke. Miller takes the story beyond the events of the original mini-series and into slightly new territory. A fragile peace now exists between the tribes of animals after the original Jungle Book. Borders have been restored and a détente of sorts hangs over the jungle and Miller takes this moment of relative calm to re-introduce the characters from the Jungle Book series. Much of the book has nice lighthearted feel that serves as a perfect re-entry into this already established Jungle Book universe. Miller balances bits of humor and laces them with a dash of foreboding to keep the story interesting. By the end of the book I found myself fully invested in these characters and their world once again. Jungle Book: Origin of the Species proves itself as a worthy successor to the original series. It’s fun, funny, and laced with action.
Origin of the Species also contains a nice little backup story co-written by Robert T. Patey III that provides a bit of backstory to one of this and the original Jungle Book’s central characters: Baloo. I sort of saw it as “Baloo: Year One”. It’s a nice little addendum to the main story that adds some depth to one of Mowglii’s greatest friends. Miller and Patey do a nice job of establishing characters as well as setting up a series of tragic events that are most likely to occur in successive chapters as the mini-series continues.
Both stories in Origin of the Species are beautiful to look at. The book still looks absolutely fantastic. The pencillers and colorists on this book really pull together to make Origin of the Species a comic that looks as good if not better than a lot of what’s out there on the stands.
So Zenescope has another great Jungle Book series on its hands. It makes me a bit sad though because, as I stated in my review for the original series, I think that this is a book that would be a great read for female readers but a lot of women probably won’t even look at the book just because of the over the top covers. It’s too bad because if there were some characters that might be able to get some younger female readers into comics it might be the ones in this Jungle Book series. I mean really, Zenescope, would it kill you to have at least one cover without scantily clad, overly inflated women on the cover? Especially when the ladies inside the book are tastefully rendered? You are doing your creators and your potential readers a real disservice with your marketing techniques. This book could be a real hit and you are limiting its reach by pandering to teenage boys or developmentally challenged males who can’t figure out how to use the internet to get porn. Jungle Book: Origin of the Species deserves better.