the three cents.
War erupts in this strange, remote world, and Roger Drum is forced to find a way to save the Shareen peoples from the mammoth-riding, simian Druthga tribes. Stepping up to the plate, he unites onetime enemies in an alliance to change the face of the political sphere forever, including resolving a longtime legend of the Shareen. Big surprises and savage warfare abound in this concluding chapter to the excellent excellent excellent series. Frazetta would have been elated.
Napton does a nice bit of symmetry here, as Drum returns to conquer the first race he encountered in this world after losing his memories in the crash that brought him here, and before all is said and done he has his memory literally knocked back into him, turning the plot for the series as a whole into a bit of a palindrome. But seeing just how exactly Drum is rechristened Thun’da is the big deal for the issue, in a climax bigger and more meaningfully impactful than any single issue I’ve read in ages. Also, having Pha fighting on the frontlines was a welcome thing too, as opposed to her original incarnation of “Oh I’m a scantily clad, ridiculously beautiful but naive lady having troubles in the jungles please oh please rescue me” vibe. She doesn’t quite go all badass Red Sonja on us, but having her be the sort to pick up arms only to at least try to defend her people makes her so much more than a mere furry thong model. This entire issue is insanely rich in character development, despite the massive amount of fight sequencing.
Richards hits his highest note here, not just for the series but of his career in progress thus far. His forms are dynamic but realistic, and his layouts and storytelling are full of life and energy. He had been increasingly channeling Frazetta for his work on this title, but this issue he seems to have perfected his very own defining look. It’s a shame to see this book end, but I sure hope another title exists worthy of what he can do now. This comic is neither Tarzan or Conan, and the realism maintained by the art, even with a story full of wooly mammoths and ape-men and cavemen and lush jungle environs and a really freaking huge thing which I shouldn’t spoil, the artwork is as solid and consistent as it is vibrant and savage. Sanz completes the look with a dark water-colored effect, giving a brooding air to the madness of the combat, and Dillon explodes with the imaginative SFX and super keen panel flow. There were a couple of powerhouse lines in particular in this issue, and his reluctance to have them shouted out loud only gave them a tremendous boost of additional dramatic effect. The entire creative team are all winners, and if this book cannot continue I still hope these folks can all find the opportunity to work together again soon and for a long time. Best cover yet from Lee, too.
But in all honesty, Dynamite is cancelling one of its best titles ever in Thun’da. Freud would have had a field day with the wonders that Napton and company have accomplished. So if you missed this gem of a series, do not miss the inevitable trade collection. Let’s bring this baby back!