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Superman/Tarzan: Sons of the Jungle #3

Superman/Tarzan: Sons of the Jungle #3

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 29, 2002

Cover date: July 2002

Writer: Chuck Dixon
Penciller: Carlos Meglia
Inker: Carlos Meglia

"Sons of the Jungle" (Part 3 of 3)

Reviewed by: Sean Hogan (

The third and final (and much delayed) issue of the miniseries wraps up the story that played with the histories of two famous icons by having Superman replace Tarzan as lord of the jungle. But first -- to summarize the previous issues:

In the first issue, we saw infant Kal-el's rocket crash in Africa, interrupting the mutiny that otherwise would have lead to the abandonment in Africa of Lord Greystoke and the pregnant Lady Greystoke. Intead, the Greystokes are able to return to England while Kala of the great Apes adopts a different child - one strong enough to break the thumb of the angry Kerchak. The first issue follows both Kal-el (named Argo-zan by Kala) and Clayton Greystoke to adulthood with both feeling that something is missing from their lives.

The second issue has both men looking for acceptance and destiny as Kal-el works to have the native Africans accept him, while Clayton Greystoke wanders the world looking for adventure, eventually joining an expedition to Africa. Fellow adventurers Lois Lane of the Metropolis Daily Planet and her aide, Jane Porter, also join the expedition. Meanwhile Kerchak, possessing a glowing green rock that weakens Kal-el, is captured by the mysterious Princess La.

The third issue opens with Princess La fashioning a gem from the rock and deciding to capture Kerchak's "superior man", while Lord Greystoke and the ladies get acquainted during their zeppelin ride. La's followers shoot down the zeppelin, drawing out Kal-el, who grabs a familiar red cape that just happened to be included in his rocket ship provisions.

With everyone now stepping into their regular characters, Kal-el tries to rescue, La uses the green gem, Lois attacks La, Lord Greystoke (finding Kerchak who calls him 'another Tarzan' -- white skin) drops a giant statue on everybody and destroys the gem, allowing Kal-el to quickly finish the fight.

With the menace disposed of, our characters pair off with Lois taking Kal-el back to Metropolis while Clayton and Jane remain in Africa.

3Story - 3: While it seemed clear from issue 2 that Chuck Dixon was moving the players into a position where they would meet in Africa and assume their traditional roles, I had been hoping for a story with more of a twist to it. This tale was fairly straightforward.

The characters of Lois and Kal-el were well portrayed with the brash outspoken Lois hunting for a story and her man and the noble (although not terribly bright) Kal-el looking to find 'his kind'. Jane Porter comes across very wimpy and indecisive, while Clayton (after being shot down, finding and freeing Kerchak and dropping stone idols on the villains) isn't very believable when he suddenly declares, "I feel as though I've come home. All of these sights and all of these places seem ... familiar".

The writer's hand is too visibly forcing the plot, unlike the earlier issues where he set the stage, but let the characters develop and grow within that setting.

While I hoped for more, the overall story was still enjoyable and an interesting look at how two famous characters might be affected if their roles were crossed. There were lots of fun moments and the mixture of traditional elements in untraditional settings made for a good read.

4Art - 4: As I mentioned in my review of issue 2,the art is unusual for traditional tales of either hero, but works well for the tale told here. Carlos Meglia's work is more detailed and tight than seen in his recent work in the Superman title, The Adventures of Superman #603-605 - with Ultraman and the Crime Syndicate). Meglia's work in that arc is more cartoonish, exaggerated and lacking detail (apparently due to a combination of unrest in his country and DC Comics' deadline dates). Meglia is able to play with the look of the characters here and, while not in keeping with what a reader would expect in the mainstream comics, the characters are consistent and individualized and the settings and action scenes are dynamic and eye-catching.

5Cover Art - 5: The cover makes a nice counterpoint to that of the first issue which had the beast-like Kal-el and the civilized Clayton Greystoke with the reflections of Superman and Tarzan in the water below. Here the cover shows the traditional Superman and Tarzan with their respective ladies (a scene that isn't represented inside but symbolically reflects the transformation of both men). From a marketing perspective, I expect that this cover would raise the interest of a casual reader who is familiar with both heroes and might be convinced to pick up this and the earlier issues as a result.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2002

February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002

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