Continuing the new arc, Lord Of The Jungle #10 finally sees Tarzan return to the jungles of Africa. Whilst its certainly an interesting read, with enough developments and action to keep everything going, it does raise an important question about writing such a character; is Tarzan only ever writable when he’s in the Jungle?
The official description from Dynamite:
The world’s greatest pulp fiction hero clashes with Russian super-spy Nicholas Rokoff in the gilded palaces of France. Then it’s off to Africa, to find the legendary city of Opar before Rokoff can steal the treasure for the Tsar. Little does the ape-man know, his true love, Jane Porter, is also heading for Africa. If Rokoff finds out she’s there, he won’t hesitate to take her hostage. But Jane is no wilting wall-flower!
The reason for this question is that this is the next arc from the first, which moved Tarzan out of the jungle. He’s very quickly going back. The series has always hinted at the conflict that represents the character, the idea of civilization vs primitive, yet has never really acted on it. In many ways this is a missed opportunity.
In Lord Of The Jungle #10, for instance, we see Tarzan return to Africa, but not for his own reasons. his reasons for returning aren’t the most believable, and it certainly seems to like a quick way to jump into the plot and keep things going.
Likewise, the use of Rokoff is also questionable. He’s certainly someone worth reading about, and the writing does a decent job of capturing a typical villainous flair or atmosphere around the character, but there is very little connection between him and Tarzan. The writing makes this out to be personal, but these two have little interaction with each other; Tarzan is mainly acted on what he is told to. This, in a way, means the reader is told to; we mostly accept that Rokoff is the bad guy because the plot pushes us into this direction.
On a similar note, there is also the use of Jane Porter and the less than subtle shifting of pieces. With so many characters heading to Africa, the future plots seem pretty obvious. Whilst most fans would definitely like to see this happen; Porter is a key character in Tarzan’s personal story, for instance, the writing may just risk repeating the first arc all over again.