Created by Frank Frazetta
Written by Robert Place Napton
Illustrated by Cliff Richards
Letters by Marshall Dillon
Colours by Esther Sanz
Backup written by Gardner Fox
Illustrated by Frank Frazetta
Re-mastering and colours by Mike Kelleher
Cover by Jae Lee
Published by Dynamite
the three cents.
The adventurous fare continues as Roger Drum saves a large number of females kidnapped by the simian Druthga peoples. Unfortunately, there are repercussions coming that he couldn’t possibly have foreseen. Drum is a great character, with nothing but brief flashes of memory to help define the man he is now in this truly savage land.
Napton is becoming the king of bringing the real spirit of the pulps to modern audiences, capturing the heart of darkness buried in jungle warfare in a richly textured saga of escapism unhinged. Drum and the lady Pha slowly getting close is fun to watch as well, being quite literally from two different worlds. But the air of this issue, like the rest of the series thus far, is drenched with looming threat, where a man is stripped of everything he was and must now fight tooth and nail just for his survival. Napton especially does some curious things with the dialogue of this book, as language being already simplified by the region’s low-tech development, Drum must drop to pure semantics of linguistics to understand and to be understood. It’s assuredly not some campy “me Jungle Lord. you is woman”. Nothing camp about this series or its execution whatsoever actually. Very mature storytelling, very strong characters, and nonstop, legitimate surprises.
Richards is shining on this issue particularly, to the point that I think he’s been glancing at the Frazetta stories of old that run as backups. His environs become increasingly lush. This issue had him illustrating a dinosaur or thirty quite naturally, with no exaggerated stylization warranted. He’s great at keeping the mood dramatic though. And Sanz contributes a very painterly aspect to the artwork, bringing a gorgeous depth to the scenes and casting a calming, muted shade over the action, creating a rather realistic air for the story. Dillon is always a powerhouse, and his pace for the violent scenes really carry through smartly. The mentioned backup this time also deals with the beating of war drums, though of a different variety entirely, with Fox and Frazetta giving more high drama in mere pages than most full length comics are capable of today. Kelleher’s fine-tuning of the art is clearly respectful, while breathing a colorful mystique over Frazetta’s perfect line workings.
I heard a rumor that issue five might be the last. If that proves to be the case I will kick and scream like a four-armed ape-man.