“Hell Yeah I Ran…Like The Devils of Hell Where on My Tail…and They Were.” Now that’s what I’m talking about! The ’68 train keeps on rolling with yet another one-shot, this one is entitled Jungle Jim. So far the ’68 brand has delivered a quality zombie experience, with Hardship being the stand out so far. But with this latest installment, does the tale of Jungle Jim have what it takes to keep the enriching zombie world of ‘68 streak alive? Let’s find out.
Deep in the Jungle of DA Nang, a small Viet Cong camp has a handful of U.S. troops as P.O.Ws. The troops are trapped in bamboo cages that are floating just off the bank of the river. Lucky for them boys, an air cavalry man with the call sign of “Jungle Jim” is making moves to rescue them. In the middle of the rescue, the shit hits the fan, only one of P.O.W.s makes it out with Jim. Ten kilometers east, the lone P.O.W Brian and Jim enter this massive tree that has been converted into a small base camp.
The place was founded by Jim’s little VC friend and savior Qui, who found Jungle Jim out in the jungle and a tragic VC encounter. The two soldiers begin to chat about who they are and where they’re from. Jim tells Brian that his real name is Sam and how his former sergeant, by the name of James (the original Jungle Jim), took him under his wing and kept him alive in the jungle through the war. In a crazy fire fight against some VC undead, Sam anciently shoots James, leaving him for the undead. Sam fears for his life and flees only later to be found by Qui. Brian questions into Sam’s actions but Sam reassures him that it’s okay because James still talks to him. As the guys plan on what to do next, squads of VC moves in on their position and a second helping of shit hits the fan, putting anarchy in full swing.
’68: Jungle Jim takes the ’68 world back to the jungle but doesn’t go right back into its old ways. It continues to build on the world and show how this undead epidemic has affected different troops. There are real shining moments, like when Sam tells of his first days in the jungle and the passing of the Jungle Jim moniker. The action and gore is a little sparse in comparison to previous ’68 books but the character driven narrative in Jungle Jim does most of the heavy lifting in the entertainment department. But again, with this being a one-shot by the time you get into the character it’s over. It just leaves you left want more, which is always a good thing. While Jungle Jim is a good book on its own, to me the reigning champ of the ‘68 one-shots is still ’68: Hardship. It did the most into expanding the world in a fresh and interesting direction. That aside, if you dig the ’68 U then you’ll most definitely find something to like about, Jungle Jim.
Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.99