Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #1
Written by Marguerite Bennett and Christina Trujillo
Art by Moritat, Dimi Macheras, and Casey Silver
Published by Dynamite Entertainment

Reviewed by: Dean Zeller

This review contains spoilers of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle #1.

I have always been a sucker for forest-based human characters, such as Tarzan, Ka-Zar, Mowgli, and others. I first read Rima, the Jungle Girl back in the late 70’s. A human raised in the wilderness lends itself well to storytelling. At the same time, most stories involving forest-based characters tend to be rather formulaic. How does one remain loyal to the spirit of the character, and yet tell a story that has not been told many times before?

Marguerite Bennett and Christina Trujillo wrote up a Sheena story that does just that. It was clever, flowed well, was loyal to the Sheena character, but also had some surprising twists. Beginning her writing career in 2013 under Scott Snyder’s tutelage, Bennett is no stranger to strong female characters. Her previous work included Bombshells and Batgirl for DC, Marvel’s A-Force and Angela, Josie and the Pussycats for Archie, and Red Sonja for Dynamite. She is recognized for her depiction of realistic female relationships in comics. This is Christina Trujilla’s first foray into comic book writing, so we will see what direction her career goes.

Artwork by was equally compelling. Justin Norman (Moritat) has been an artist for over twenty years. He is best known for his Elephantmen series for Image, and stories forDC’s All Star Western. Dimi Macheras is another newcomer to the industry, with few published credits. The J. Scott Campbell cover is very well-done, classic to his smooth and expressive style.

The story starts with Sheena shooting arrows at drones, showing a modern approach to technology references. Sheena shows both intuitiveness and naivete, using old-school methods of taking down the drones, but comically calling them “flying turtles.” While I’m not usually a fan of dialog and exposition to move a story, I quite enjoyed her one-sided conversations with her animal friends, a jaguar, parrot, and monkey.

The art, at times, got a little rough. Mortitat’s facial expressions were expressive and clear, but the body positions got confusing at times. She was drawn much like an agility-based hero like Spiderman or Nightcrawler. One detail that was difficult to look beyond is the logistics of her costume. If it is simple cloth, there is no way it would “hold” what it needed to, especially with all the jumping around. This easily falls into suspension of disbelief. It is her classic costume, similar to what was designed by Jerry Iger and Will Eisner back in the day. I treated it just like Clark Kent’s glasses hiding Superman’s secret identity.

I thoroughly enjoyed the conflict in the Waodani villiage with the untranslatable name. It started out rather typical, with stunning and powerful dialog to set the conflict between the village elder and armed mercenaries. Some of the best conflicts in comics are verbal only, relying only on context and history to create suspense. During the conflict, things started to get ugly, so Sheena jumped in with her animal friends. But in came the twist – the mercenaries weren’t the bad guys (sorta). They are looking for a missing surveyer. It turns out that maybe, just maybe, the wise man and the villagers weren’t being completely truthful with Sheena. She spends the rest of the issue contemplating the ethics of the situation while tracking down this Sir Veyor person.

I didn’t particularly like how Sheena “solved” the situation at the village, using one of the flying turtles to reveal the existence of the village to the outside world. It seemed to be too quick and easy of a solution to a complex situation. I felt that aspect of the conflict could have been handled with a more logical flow.

Overall, I enjoyed the issue very much. My favorite part was the conflict between the mercenaries and the village elder. I also loved the Sheena character herself. She showed confidence, intelligence, and poise as a strong female lead character. Other than the aforementioned minor issues, I had no problems with the comic. I’m glad I was able to review it.

RANK: A- / 4½ stars out of 5 / Thumbs Up

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