Review - The Jungle Book #2

The jungle is no place for children. It's dangerous, hot and full of animals that want to eat easy prey. It is a place for children who are now teenagers and raised by said animals.

The Jungle Book #2 from Zenescope continues to explore the notion of children raised by animals. It's written by Mark Miller, penciled by Carlos Granda, colored by Liezl Buenaventura and lettered by Jim Campbell.

The second issue focuses on two animal tribes and their respective children. Bomani is being trained by the tigers to hunt, while Mowglii is sparring with Baloo. Shere Khan is training Bomani to be the next leader should Khan fall, while Mowglii is being taught humility by Baloo.

Khan also has an axe to grind with Wolf Mother, the surrogate of Mowglii. In the previous animal battle, Khan's mate was slain by Wolf Mother, prompting Khan to launch an assault on the wolfpack and extract his vengeance. It doesn't end well for the wolves.

Miller is trying to incorporate the characteristics of the animals in the children, but it's somewhat difficult to see. Bomani wears tiger claws on his arms to approximate being a tiger, but did Khan kill another tiger to get him those claws? And how exactly will he learn to hunt like a tiger when he lacks the speed needed? Sure, he's pretty built to match the strength, but there's no way he'll match the speed.

Mowglii is supposed to be trained by the wolves, but she's sparring with Baloo. Is he just babysitting her? He seems to have a relationship with the wolves that resembles maybe a mututal respect, but it's never fully explained. Unless Miller is counting on knowledge that in the original stories Mowglii spent time with Baloo learning the ways of the jungle.

The pacing seems a little disjointed as well. The first pages are Bomani learning to hunt, then all of a sudden Khan decides to launch an attack on the wolves. This is after the truce was decided upon in the first issue. Surely Bomani can't be the one key that Shere Khan has been waiting for to finish off the wolf pack. It just feels like the story is moving too fast.

The art by Granda and Buenaventura is pretty good. Between the pencils and the coloring they've successfully captured the essence of the animals. The panels where the tigers and wolves are fighting look legit and are actually well done. The ferocity of the attacks is depicted believably. The other panels involving Bomani and Mowglii interacting with the animals also look organic and natural, which helps when reading the issue.

The series is hitting the ground at full speed now, with the tigers essentially decimating the wolves and no doubt setting off a chain reaction of events. Mowglii is the "star" of the humans, but with Bomani getting time here you have to wonder if the next issue will feature the other two humans. The issue feels bigger than it actually is. It'll be interesting to see how the rest of the jungle reacts to Shere Khan's transgressions.

The Jungle Book #2 is in stores now.