Jungle Jim is a hard one to write about this month. At first I kind of wanted to write it off as 'good' and move on. That was my gut reaction: It's good. But that didn't really make for a very interesting review. Here's what's going on in a nutshell before I get into the 'Why's' and my deeper thoughts. Last issue we had probably the best of the Pulpy-verse first issues. The pacing was really good, the art was solid and the characterization was on... fucking... point. More so than any of the other Pulpy-verse books I've read.
Phantom, Flash Gordon, Mandrake and such had varying degrees of success for their first issue but Jungle Jim just nailed it. It presented an interesting premise and gave us an intriguing group of people to get invested in. This issue we focus on Jim, who he is and what he's about. They did such a great job last issue with establishing the cast that they could afford to take a break and tell Jim's origin for most of the issue. Towards the end of the book when they try to hijack a ship to go break out one of our main characters brother. The plan goes wrong in a humorous way and the plans are forced to change.
It was a solid issue but why do I like it? I do like it, I like the story and I like Jim. However the pacing totally breaks in this issue by spending too much time explaining Jim when they could have afforded to keep that secret a little longer. His origin wasn't that needed for the story but they told it anyway and it wasn't really told in a unique way. It was just "Here it is." Jim is a little charming but not terribly unique and quite frankly he's a little broad but there's just something about him I like. My immediate thought was that it reminded me of John Constantine if Constantine had the powers of Swamp Thing. However as much I like him there is no denying that the character dabbles more in stereotype than three-dimensional characterization. At the end of the issue I'm interested in the cast, I'm interested in the plot and I'm interested in what happens next. But why?
I don't know. That's the short answer to that question and unfortunately for Jungle Jim it doesn't hold up to that scrutiny. By simply exploring 'Why' I end up having to drop this from a reasonable '3' to a less than stellar '2'. I think I like it because I want to like it. I desperately want to like the Pulpy-verse. I want to like Jungle Jim and all the other characters introduced by King Dynamite. I so WANT this world to succeed because something about it resonates with me and makes me want to like it in that inexplicable 'fanboy' way.
It triggers that action figure collectin', comic readin', cartoon watchin' kid in me. But when I try to break it down objectively I find this issue simply lacking. I say it's great and you ask me why and I say "Well the main character is kind of broad, they break the pacing with this origin story, there's not a lot of mystery left because of that pace breaking, it's kind of funny but that's about it." Then you say "What? Why?" then I have nothing. It's just one of those things, you either like the world and respect what they're doing or you don't.
If it's something that resonates with you like it has resonated with me then you're going to pull the same vague 'it factor' that I did. If it doesn't then you'll be filled with questions as why I would recommend this book. I'd say check out the first issue, that issue was objectively better and easier to explain why it was good than this. If you like that then you'll like this if you haven't been digging what King Dynamite has been doing then there isn't going to be a whole lot to drag you in.
King: Jungle Jim #2 Writer: Paul Tobin Artist: Sandy Jarrell/Felipe/Richard Case Colorist: Luigi Anderson Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/25/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital