This comic is building into something intricate and detailed. Don't miss out on being on the ground level of a well-crafted story.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Pencils & Cover by PASCAL ALIXE
The blight of the Burning Season sweeps across the Savage Land, threatening to destroy everything Ka-Zar holds dear--and heralding the re-emergence of the mysterious Ether Tribe. Trapped between forces from within and outside the Savage Land, can Ka-Zar save his kingdom before it's too late?
Paul Jenkins is a world-builder and he has proved it multiple times in the Marvel U, and he proves it again with Ka-Zar. Anyone that hasn't read Jenkins' run on Inhumans, or his Sentry series should go out and purchase them to understand exactly what I mean by that. Jenkins gave us a royal family and a completely new society in Inhumans, and I'm finding a lot of those themes are repeated in Ka-Zar, but this is a good thing. Writers like Jenkins need to be given room in corners of the Marvel Universe in order for it to expand and for new ideas to flow from old ideas.
Jenkins is given free reign on Ka-Zar to craft a comic in which Pangea (the Savage Land?) is a tribal society complete with multiple types of humanoids, from eyeless cave dwellers, to fish-people and bird-people. For those that are fans of Ka-Zar, fear not, his supporting cast is well represented, Shanna is intelligent and fierce, his son Matthew is plucky and spirited, and Zabu is ferocious and loyal. The first three pages are a narrative as told through Zabu, Ka-Zar's sabre-toothed tiger. Although this sounds ridiculous, it works as an introduction to a world of complexity, setting the guidelines for what is to come. These three pages are crafted with such skill and elegance that it is clear that Jenkins has a concrete plan for this series, and that all the ideas are fully formed from the get-go. Jenkins plunges into a tale of intrigue, politics and espionage with such confidence and swagger that it's boggling, starting with a fire in the jungle that produces a dino-tragedy and opens talks with one of the tribes in Pangea and the multi-national companies looking for a certain resource. Jenkins sums the conflict up in one of the dialogues in the latter half of the issue with a UN official stating to Ka-Zar, "This isn't about love or pride or respect for culture. It's not even about clean air or preserving the environment, or even politics. It's about you versus money. And you're already in second place". This issue is so full of hints of things to come, and littered with sub-plots, that is will take multiple reads as the issues flow out to realize what Jenkins is seeding in this issue.
Pascal Alixe is an incredible find for this book. His style mixed with the painted flourishes of colorists Jesus Aburto and Jorge Maese create the lush environments needed to add depth and dimension to the world-building exercise that Jenkins is attempting. In this issue alone you've got rocky aeries, green oceans depths, barren cliffs, lush cascading jungle waterfalls, and some technological surprises plunked into the middle of it all. Alixe handles all this with grace while not sacrificing character acting or swift action when it comes, I look forward to discovering the depth of Alixe's talent, as I'm sure from this issue that his well is deep.
I think I'll be sticking with Ka-Zar after this issue, knowing that there is something intricate and delicate that is being set up, a plot that is likely to test the boundaries of the lead and those that he cares about. If you are more interested in people smashing each other's heads in with their fists I suggest you not buy this title, as it looks to be a rewarding and exciting read for those that want to get deeply involved with a title.
Review by: Martin John