Saturday, October 18, 2008

Welcome to the Jungle - A Review

The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle
Written by Jim Butcher; Pencils by Adrian Syaf
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Del Rey/Dabel Brothers
Language: English
Del Rey, October 2008, $19.95

When the supernatural world spins out of control, when the police can’t handle what goes bump in the night, when monsters come screaming out of nightmares and into the mean streets, there’s just one man to call: Harry Dresden, the only professional wizard in the Chicago phone book. A police consultant and private investigator, Dresden has to walk the dangerous line between the world of night and the light of day.

Now Harry Dresden is investigating a brutal mauling at the Lincoln Park Zoo that has left a security guard dead and many questions unanswered. As an investigator of the supernatural, he senses that there’s more to this case than a simple animal attack, and as Dresden searches for clues to figure out who is really behind the crime, he finds himself next on the victim list, and being hunted by creatures that won’t leave much more than a stain if they catch him.

Written exclusively for comics by Jim Butcher, The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle is a brand-new story that’s sure to enchant readers with a blend of gripping mystery and fantastic adventure.


I really like the Dresden Files and have been ever since I first heard James Marsters (Spike of Buffy/Angel fame) read Storm Front years ago. I was instantly smitten and not just because of James Marsters. Harry was a likable character. He was self deprecating and snarky, an anti-hero I instantly adored. Plus, there was all of the magic and intrigue of good urban fantasy. Unfortunately, the TV series didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but when I heard that it was coming to comic form I was excited. Of course instead of buying each issue, I just waited until I could grab it all together in a nice pretty and shiny hardcover sort of form.

Taking place before Storm Front the comic stays true to the film noir and still has Harry as witty and snarky as ever. For those who are not familiar with the Harry Dresden series this is a great place to start. The books, now 10 but soon to be 11, feature one Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, a detective and wizard in a world where vampires, werewolves, faeries and other beasties are as real as you or me. Unlike most urban fantasy today Harry is a bloke, a freakishly tall self deprecating guy, and not an attractive gal who ends up falling for one or more of the aforementioned beasties. He usually doesn’t get the girl in the end, is considered a bit of a loose cannon when it comes to the governing White Council due to his lack of any real control over his powers, and has a heck of a time with technology.

The comic does a great job of capturing the spirit of the Dresden Files and it should be considering that Jim Butcher wrote it. I have to say that Butcher did a great job of translating our hero into comic form. It may be short, but it still has action, magic, mystery and that ever present wit I find some charming. The artwork is typical of comics today and while I liked the depiction of Harry, I wasn’t digging Murphy and Wil ended up looking like a Lara Croft clone to me. However, the beasties and the baddies turned out great. In the end I am looking forward to Storm Front and the other projects the Dabel Brothers (most notably bringing Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson to comic form) have in store for us.

If you’re a fan of the books, this is a must for you as much as the short stories are in some of the anthologies out there. Its urban fantasy in comic form and for diehard fans there is a great Cover gallery, concept artwork and notes by Butcher himself. Plus you get to see Harry, the beetle, Mister and Bob which makes me excited to see some of my other favorite characters in comic form as the series continues. If you are new to Harry, but enjoy The Buffy and Angel comics or even the Anita Blake ones, I think you’ll enjoy Welcome to the Jungle.

3.5/4 Happy little bookmarks

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