by Chris Roberson (writer), Tony Akins (pencils & inks), Jose Marzan, Jr. (inks), Daniel Vozzo (colors), and Todd Klein (letters)

The Story: Jack = Tarzan? Apparently so, as yet another chapter of Jack’s past is explored.

What’s Good: More or less a one-shot, this comic is a clear breather after the crossover, much as this month’s issue of Fables also was. We get a fun, light story that manages to amuse and strives to do nothing more.

As one can probably gather from the solicitations, if you don’t like apes, this isn’t the comic for you. Thankfully, who doesn’t like apes? Jack’s interactions with the apes, often disparaging, are  golden. It’s that nice blend of egotism and belittling that Jack fans have come to love.

The apes themselves also shine. From the complaints over Jack’s insisting on calling them monkeys, to ape Jane’s ravenous sexual appetite (with no regard for species), it’s hard not to like these guys. Oh and one of the apes is actually a stuffed toy. Entirely random, but it works for that very reason.

A special word must go out to the second to last page of the issue. A picture of Jack in full Tarzan gear, with his ape buddies all getting Matt Fraction-esque captions. It’s an absolute riot and far and away the best humor on offer here.

What’s Not So Good: Unfortunately, Chris Roberson is guest-writing, and he doesn’t quite have the mastery over the character that Willingham and Sturges do. That’s not to say that Jack doesn’t sound like Jack, but Roberson is far less daring in his portrayal of the character. Jack’s egotism never hits the ludicrous heights that it does under his creators, and as a result, he’s not quite as funny as he usually is.  The humor is there, but the more outrageous aspects of it aren’t. One can’t help but feel that Roberson plays it safe, here.

Also, this issue doesn’t so much end as stop. Pretty much no time at all is spent detailing how Jack became Tarzan, which is bizarre given that that’s meant to be the major thrust of the book. Rather, he just meets the apes, spends some time in jail, and then WHAM! Image of him as Tarzan, and that’s the end. It feels as though the really good stuff was glossed over in favour of minor events, showing perhaps something of a lack of creativity.

The art is also something of a head-scratcher. I feel as though there’s a secret support artist working here, as certain pages look distractingly like they were drawn by a different hand. I’m not sure if this has to do with the inking being split, but frankly, it’s not just the inks that feel different from page to page. It’s bizarre.

Conclusion: A laugh here and there, but if you’re short on cash, feel free to skip it.

Grade: C

-Alex Evans

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Conclusion