Moving back into familiar territory, Lord Of The Jungle #11 shows that Tarzan is best left to the jungle. Using the classic setting to show new promise and potential, the series is still shackled by its constant use of Jane Porter and the repetition of over-used themes and love stories (that are getting a little complex for a minimal payoff).
The official description from Dynamite:
The Lord of the Jungle is back where he belongs, doing what he loves best – kicking some serious ass in the African jungle! The ape-man has found a tribe of warriors who can lead him to Opar, the legendary city of gold, but before they can help him he’s going to have to take out some colonialist thugs who are carving a path of death through the jungle. Russian super-spy Nicholas Rokoff is on the hunt for Opar too, and he’ll stop at nothing to secure the gold for the Tsar, not even kidnapping the ape-man’s true love, Jane Porter. Lord of the Jungle #11: Gorilla Warfare!
Similar to previous issues, Lord Of The Jungle cuts between two side-running stories. On one hand there is Tarzan and his new found friends, the Waziri tribe. On the other hand, there is Jane Porter and Nicholas Rokoff, the villain introduced previously, who is a bit more ‘dastardly’ than most realism would allow. Its obvious these two plots are going to interconnect and form together, but this issue keeps them apart yet again. It might be slow pacing, but so far there is little pay off for sticking with both threads.
The best segments here are definitely the areas focusing on Tarzan. This takes the classic ‘civilization vs nature’ to its logical extents, the classic African setting lending itself well to this cause. Tarzan, as a man between both, is used more effectively here. For once, its not a simple matter of ‘Tarzan punches someone and the day is saved’. With the Waziri allies, there seems to be a more apparent thought process and depth to the character.
As for Jane and the others, this is almost too simple and cliched. Its leading to an inevitable run in with Tarzan, and seems to be going along a predictable path. Some may find it interesting, but the developments here are weak in comparison; Rokoff’s presence only teases readers with an inevitable face-off with the titular hero.
That said, the jungle setting is showing more promise and potential when explored in different areas. Hopefully the next few issues should explore this even further.