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Jungle Girl makes lord of the jungle look like an amateur

Who needs the lord of the jungle when Jungle Girl is around? Image credit: Dynamite Entertainment
Image credit: Dynamite Entertainment

Frank Cho’s Jungle Girl Complete Omnibus
Writers: Frank Cho, Doug Murray
Artists: Frank Cho, Adriano Batista, Jack Jadson
Cover: Frank Cho
FC | 392 pages | $39.99 | Action/Adventure | Teen +

Who needs the lord of the jungle when Jungle Girl is around? Frank Cho’s Jungle Girl Complete Omnibus is an exhilarating adventure starring the beautiful, charismatic, and deadly Jana Sky-Born.

This omnibus from Dynamite Entertainment contains all three seasons of the Jungle Girl series, collected for the first time in one book. Writer and artist Cho doesn’t waste time, plunging us right into epic action from the start.

In fact, epic is an understatement. We’re talking Jana Sky-Born hunting Mosasaurus for food. I was hooked immediately, and it really sets the tone for this graphic novel. It’s larger than life, taking place on an unknown island that’s somehow a Lost World with cavemen, dinosaurs, and other creatures from different eras. Spoilers ahead.

Jungle Girl vs the world

Of course we all know Cho is an amazing artist, but this still doesn’t prepare you for how gorgeously he’s rendered Jana and her strange world. It’s a bizarre and savage land, but with a strange beauty that just makes you want to linger on every scene.

Make no mistake, however: this book isn’t for the squeamish. Jana has no qualms about fighting anyone and anything that threatens her or the people she has sworn to protect. And, in a more realistic portrayal of someone who has what it takes to survive in a jungle, Jana has no problem with killing.

Many of the deaths are truly gory. And the action is non-stop. It helps to suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the adventure. After all, we’re used to different versions of a Lost World. What matters is that Jana gets to go to different exotic locations and even underwater, to do battle with all sorts of strange foes. Plus there’s a mystery that explains why this strange island exists.

Jana, Togg, and Mike

I also really like the dynamic between Jana and her childhood friend Togg (don’t call him Monkey Boy!). And the bond they form with Mike, one of the strangers in the plane that crash lands on the island.

It’s also great how strong and self-reliant Jana is. Far from being the usual damsel in distress, she is the one who has to keep rescuing everyone. She is physically strong and incredibly athletic. Skilled in hand-to-hand combat and weapon use. And downright fearless.

She even keeps stashes of backup clothes (read: jungle bikinis) all over the jungle. Yeah, it’s an excuse to have Jana make a lot of costume changes, but it’s OK, Cho. We’ll let it go.

The comic book geek in me is happy with this omnibus. In a way, it’s a throwback (pun somewhat intended) to simpler times. A comic book that’s unafraid to embrace action and adventure.

Who knew the jungle could be so much fun?

(Editor’s note: This review is based on an advanced review copy provided by Diamond Entertainment. Frank Cho’s Jungle Girl Complete Omnibus shipped on June 24.)

By Joey Alarilla

DigitalLifeAsia.com founder. Writer. Geek. Gamer. Science and science fiction lover. Comic book fan. Bookworm. Aspiring minimalist. Gen X. Kayumanggi.

Joey won third prize in the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, for his essay Surviving the Zeroes. He is the author of the Philippine Internet Commerce Society’s E-Business Made Easy handbook for SMEs, and contributed an essay to Tikman Ang Langit: An Anthology on the Eraserheads.

Follow him on Twitter: @joeyalarilla

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