Review: ’68 - Jungle Jim #1

The world cannot get enough of zombies, but I must admit I grow a little tired of them myself. I went into reading this knowing nothing whatsoever except that by the cover I could tell that it was zombie related. By the end of it, I realised that '68 was actually a series and this is the third volume, after already having a one-shot by the same name.

The setting is in Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. We see a gas mask wearing soldier talking to himself and preparing to stage an ambush and save a bunch of American soldiers. He continues to talk to himself, saying things like he's the Grim Reaper and Jack the Ripper, basically a one man army. Saving the soldiers, he refuses to give a name and goes off deeper into the jungle. We are also introduced to a lady who shelters local children from the war, but on the last page we see a zombie making its way to the shelter. There's a bit of zombie action throughout and everybody knows about them (guessing everyone learnt about them in the last two volumes of '68). I'm guessing this ultimate killer guy who goes by the name “Jungle Jim” because it’s written on his helmet is probably some experiment or something, possibly a link to the zombies? That's a cliché that I hope isn't in this series.

Mark Kidwell continues the job of writing. I reckon probably one of the biggest challenges that Kidwell would have faced is the possibility of deterring new readers. What I mean is people like me, approaching this with no previous knowledge it’s easy for us to feel lost if the writer assumes everyone that picks it up is a previous reader. I believe Kidwell did a good job at this, I didn't feel lost as to what was going on, I just accepted there were zombies in Vietnam and everyone knew about them. Although its horror, it’s an action oriented story, so the pacing is very fast but is executed well.

Things are generally well drawn, the gore looks good and so are things like proportion but I found that some of the poses that the protagonist was drawn in didn't come across as very natural; page 18 is where this stood out. Jay Fotos was in control of the colors, the coloring is probably best described as “flat colors” but it comes across really nicely done.

All in all I thought this issue, although not amazing it was decently executed. It has done its job in raising my curiosity and my need to have it satisfied. It is a series that I would like to continue reading because I want to see how everything is going to be done. I know fans of horror and zombies will love this. The biggest annoyance is how much the character talks to himself, it was kind of off-putting. We get it, the guy is possibly insane…

Score: 3/5

Writer: Mark Kidwell

Artist: Jeff Zornow

Publisher: Image Comics

Price: $3.99

Release Date: 4/3/13