Written by: Mark L. Miller
Art by: Michele Bandini
Color by: Crostieta
We are all familiar with the Rudyard Kipling story The Jungle Book, most of us thanks to Disney. For those who loved that story and want to experience more from Kipling’s world you now have Zenescope to thank. The comic company best known for re-imagining public domain properties is at it again as they bring us The Jungle Book: Fall of the Wild. In true Zenescope fashion a lot of the characters have gender swapped in this version and expectedly like their other titles this has little effect on the property or story itself.
In this version of The Jungle Book war is the theme as all of the animals are segregated in warring tribes and are in constant battle with each other for survival and control of the jungle. Writer Mark L. Miller us this first issue mostly as set up for the larger arch as we are introduced to the main players and their positions in the jungle but outside of that we get little character development. Even our main star Mowgli is only present to introduce the laws of the jungle and help usher in the overall plot. Miller’s first issue bounces around from tribe to tribe and does a great job at giving us a glimpse at our main characters. Unfortunately outside of our initial introduction to them we are given little beyond that and I already felt lost as I haven’t read the previous volumes.
Miller’s writing does rely on what came before and hopefully for the sake of new readers we are given a glimpse of the past to help us understand how these characters got to where they are in this first issue. If Miller doesn’t choose to delve into the character’s past it may leave new readers with a lot of missing backstory.
The art in The Jungle Book is completely fitting of the classic story even with Zenescopes stylistic choices (especially when it comes to the female figure). Michele Bandini creates a world that is both colorful, vibrant, cartoonish and adult. Bandini’s art feels like a comforting mix of Disney and the Zenescope style. While the writing is much more geared towards adults in this version of the classic, the art feels childish and whimsical even in moments of extreme violence and shock.
The Jungle Book: Fall of the Wild, takes the old tale in new directions as Mark L. Miller uses war as his backdrop to tell a new story in this well-traveled road. While this first issue is mostly set up and offers little in substance the pieces are there for Miller to tell an entertaining story with a topical message. Bandini’s art is simplistically beautiful as the color and character designs really make each page an enjoyable viewing. The Jungle Book: Fall of the Wild is an okay first issue that suffers from a lack of back-story but what it promises could become a very interesting direction for the classic tale.