Arvid Nelson

Lord of the Jungle 6 (July 2012)

2013 02 20 872746Once, not listening to the black lady leads to disaster. Even if it’s realistic, Nelson’s playing the passive racism card a little too often. Not for the dumb white characters, but for the black lady. At least half her scenes are just her saying something smart and being ignored.

This issue’s a complete downer. It’s another fast read, with Jane in Wisconsin about to be married off (maybe her father’s unlikable because he’s more her pimp–Nelson’s inability to reconcile this situation is probably Jungle’s greatest failing)–and Tarzan showing up to save the day.

But the reuniting doesn’t go particularly well and Tarzan’s left alone. I guess the U.S. setting makes more sense now. Nelson’s going for an adventure comic, but a “reintroduction to British royalty” comic.

It’s particularly impressive how sympathetic Nelson makes Tarzan in just a single issue of him talking.

It’s a good issue.

CREDITS

The Height of Civilization; writer, Arvid Nelson; artist, Roberto Castro; colorist, Alex Guimaraes; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Lord of the Jungle 5 (June 2012)

2013 02 20 884314Making Jane American seems like a weak move, but Nelson makes up for it with Tarzan learning French. There’s something awesome about the scene with Tarzan speaking French at the end of the issue. It just seems so contradictory yet perfect–like Tarzan is the French idea of noble savage, not the British one.

The issue is fairly predictable, down to the Western viciousness in killing off the female ape monsters and their young, even after the sailors were victorious. Nelson and Castro don’t show it, however, which seems an oversight. It doesn’t seem like Nelson really has intentions for the story’s implications, just good adaptation instincts.

One thing Nelson doesn’t spend time on is Professor Porter. He’s unlikable, even if he is Jane’s father and cutely visualized. He’s not smart; Nelson might be making a joke about the scientist being a buffoon, but he doesn’t commit.

Still, fine stuff.

CREDITS

Lost Treasure; writer, Arvid Nelson; artist, Roberto Castro; colorist, Alex Guimaraes; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Lord of the Jungle 4 (May 2012)

869309Nelson introduces D’Arnot this issue, brings in the hollow Earth ape men, turns Clayton into a bad guy and has a lame interlude with Tarzan and Jane.

The interlude’s lame because Nelson hasn’t done the groundwork for Jane to immediately fall for Tarzan. He could have–Tarzan bringing her gifts, saving her multiple times–but he didn’t and it’s actually excusable. If one can believe Tarzan taught himself to write–that accomplishment is straight from Burroughs–Jane immediately going gushy for him is passable too.

Most of the issue is action. The fight with the man apes is lengthy and good. Castro has some problems this issue (D’Arnot is a basically redheaded Clayton) and the faces are occasionally weak, but he sells the action. The battle is so fierce, one assumes tepid little Professor Porter must die (he doesn’t).

Jungle’s problematic, sure, but it’s still a decent Tarzan comic.

CREDITS

The Village of Torture; writer, Arvid Nelson; artist, Roberto Castro; colorist, Alex Guimaraes; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Lord of the Jungle 3 (April 2012)

872751Nelson continues to impress. Even though his characterizations are definitely too late–Jane’s father is a classic buffoon character but not 1909 classic–but he does come up with some interesting developments.

He also doesn’t shy away from the time period’s realities. Jack Clayton isn’t reminding the Porters of his (higher) station and Professor Porter isn’t above dismissing the black cook’s (intelligent) ideas because she’s a black cook. The first element is 1909. The second is still relevant, but Nelson uses it to turn his lovable buffoon into a less lovable character. Same goes for Clayton being a jerk about money.

As for Tarzan? He peeps on Jane–Castro does cheesecake for her, which is a somewhat interesting decision and maybe Jungle’s most ambitious (to juggle the two approaches)–rescues her from a fellow member of his tribe, then drags her off into the jungle.

It’s surprisingly engaging stuff.

CREDITS

The Call of the Primitive; writer, Arvid Nelson; artist, Roberto Castro; colorist, Alex Guimaraes; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Lord of the Jungle 2 (February 2012)

856596My Tarzan is a little sketchy, but I’m pretty sure Tarzan’s dashing cousin doesn’t come looking for him. His royal dashing cousin. I’m equally sure said royal dashing cousin isn’t courting Jane. I’m positive, however, there wasn’t a fetching black maid accompanying Jane.

Nelson and Castro are sexing Lord of the Jungle up a bit, which is an odd choice. Who do they think is going to be reading a Tarzan comic? It’s got limited appeal to regular comic readers, but as a crossover title? Forgot it.

But what do I know.

Odd additions aside–and a wasted full page spread introducing Tarzan–it’s not a bad issue. Nelson’s dialogue seems a little modern for 1908, but it’s perfectly acceptable.

There are a lot of loose plot details; I wonder if he’s incorporating them multiple Tarzan novels. Some annotations would be nice.

While somewhat less so, I’m still pleasantly surprised.

CREDITS

The Forest God; writer, Arvid Nelson; artist, Roberto Castro; colorist, Alex Guimaraes; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Lord of the Jungle 1 (January 2012)

850131Besides moving way too fast, Lord of the Jungle’s not bad at all. Arvid Nelson puts the Tarzan origin in the political context of what’s happening in the Congo contemporaneously. I’ve never seen a Tarzan story make that effort. It’ll be interesting to see if Nelson maintains it.

Otherwise, it’s a summary of Tarzan’s parents’ adventures after being shipwrecked. They are not happy adventures. Roberto Castro makes the castaways visually appealing–she’s beautiful, he’s heroically rugged–and Nelson quickly makes them sympathetic.

The story of Tarzan’s adoption takes about half the issue, since Nelson has to establish the apes. He does fine with that task, even gives them interesting noises for communicating.

It’s impossible to say how the series will go. The titular character doesn’t even have any lines this issue.

I’m pleasantly surprised; I had no expectations for this one. Nelson and Castro both do rather good work.

CREDITS

The Savage Home; writer, Arvid Nelson; artist, Roberto Castro; colorist, Alex Guimaraes; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

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