Review - Jungle Book #1

The Jungle Book is a fairly popular story. It's actually a collection of short stories by Rudyard Kipling, first published at the tale end of the 19th century. It's safe to say that's a fairly storied tale that many people are aware of.

What people aren't aware of is Zenescope's version in the five-issue miniseries The Jungle Book #1. The title is written by Mark Miller, penciled by Carlos Granda, colored by Liezl Buenaventura and lettered by Jim Campbell.

The main character of the series is still Mowglii, a young girl this time around raised by wolves amidst the great animal battle. She's one of four children raised on the island, each by a different clan of animals.

Bomani is raised by Shere Kahn and the tigers, Akili by the Tavi mongoose tribe and Dewan by the Monkeys of Bandar Log, led by King Bandar Louis (who's insane by the way). Mowglii and the others are seen as a brief respite in the war, with each tribe claiming one for their own to no doubt bring up as a weapon later on.

The focus of the first issue (and presumably the series) is on Mowglii. Miller's done a great job setting up the entire series through the words of Mowglii's mother, a wolf. She recounts to Mowglii how she came to be with the wolves and how the others ended up with their respective clans.

Granda's pencils are pretty much in line with the Zenescope style, but he's done wonders with the animals. The tigers are fierce, the wolves confident, the mongooses clever and the monkeys wily. Personification is hard to do with human characters and Granda should be commended for lending those traits to the animals.

Buenaventura's colors are also spot on. The jungle is rich and full of life, giving you the sense that Mowglii and the others are really thrust into the middle of a world they know nothing of. Growing up in it has taught them much, but it's still not "their" world.

The Jungle Book #1 by Zenescope is an interesting take on the tale. It's only a five-issue series, but I can see it being expanded past that at some point. The four humans will no doubt adapt the traits of the clans that raised them and I'm fairly certain at least one of them won't survive when it's all said and done.

The Jungle Book #1 hits stores today.