Mark Kidwell returns to ‘68: Jungle Jim with a four issue sequel to his 2011 original one-shot, only instead of Nate Van Dyke on pencils, Jeff Zornow takes over with fantastically explosive results. Action and horror infused into one, the first installment accelerates at warp-speed through a world where the Vietnam War plays second fiddle to a Zombie apocalypse.
WRITTEN BY: Mark Kidwell
ART BY: Jeff Zornow
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: April 3, 2013
The utterly grim world of ’68 follows the Vietnam conflict through the eyes of Private Brian Curliss, a United States marine caged in war with Viet Cong Guerrillas on his left, and a swarm of brutal zombies on his right. If that’s not maddening enough, the voices in his head only add to the craziness by transforming him into a relentless killing machine in a gas mask, whose main objective is to find a ghost named Jungle Jim.
Kidwell wastes no time before diving into the action. It’s pure annihilation from beginning to end, with panel after panel of blood, guts, and glory. It’s a story which railroads through its pages until readers are left confounded when it ends so seemingly quickly.
Adding to this feeling of non-stop action is Jeff Zornow on pencils and inks. His imagination, coupled with his understanding of time and space, effectively creates a world so riddled with breathtaking carnage, readers will have to look over each panel twice in case they miss the dismemberment of a zombie or two. Bringing these massacres to life is Jay Fotos, whose colours are loud enough to authenticate bloodshed and slaughter, yet quiet enough to portray the grim and ill-fated environment in which the series takes place.
Make sure you keep an eye on Kidwell’s historical references. For example, the depictions of elephants as a means of transportation by the Viet Cong Guerillas was, in fact, a common trend during this time. Moreover, the inclusion of a French Catholic Mission featured in the first issue is based on the many Catholic missions that have come to exist since colonial times. More interesting tidbits can be found at the back of the comic so be sure to take a look.
New readers can enjoy this comic along with established fans, as Mark Kidwell seems to have written an all-inclusive script that isn’t particularly hard to follow along with. The creative team faces no problems when it comes to matters of sparking interest and engaging readers. Smack-dab in the middle of all the intense action and horror, are a couple of scenes that imply the series is definitely building to something more than your typical zombie apocalypse comic.
Overall, “’68: Jungle Jim” #1 is riot and a half that delivers bloody action, and a super fun visual experience.
Reviewed by – ShadowJayd