Having seen Frank Cho's name attached to this - though I knew he didn't supply the art - I had expected to be impressed - I'm a fan of his work on Shanna, The She-Devil TPB, Mighty Avengers, Vol. 1: The Ultron Initiative, and, of course, Liberty Meadows 10th Anniversary Edition (Bk. 1), which derived form his award-winning college newspaper comic, University2, among numerous other works. Unfortunately, "Jungle Girl" was a disappointment, lacking both the verve of Cho's writing (not just a great artist, he can pen a terrific joke and also develop characters with the best of them) and his art in a concept that could have been much better.
Here's the plot: in a mysterious land, an airplane crashes and strands a film crew amidst Neanderthals, dinosaurs and Jana, a saavy young woman who is a tough-as-nails expert in survival in this desperate environment. However, as the plot thickens, and the crew begins to turn on each other and they find themselves captured by a hostile tribe, they must depend on Jana for their own survival.
The Good: First of all, all of the primary covers for the series were created by Cho, which is greatly appreciated. Cho is one of the leading illustrators, in my opinion, of this day and age, whether with pencil or brush, and the covers he provides only prove this. Adriano Batista's pencils and Frank Martin Jr.'s colors are also very good, and at times seem to channel Cho's own artistry. The art is of the increasingly popular style in which pencils, with little or no inking, are scanned directly into a computer and then colored in a painterly fashion (Cary Nord and Dave Stewart's art in the first four volumes of Dark Horse's "Conan" series is probably the best example of this technique), and suits the overall tenor of the book, though at times it looks a little rough and hasty.
The Bad: The story. Unfortunately, "Jungle Girl" seems to want to be "Shanna The She-Devil: Part 2," and ultimately fails. Where Cho's story in "Shanna" was a cutting-edge, at time bitingly funny revamp of a classic Marvel character that kept you on the edge of your seat, "Jungle Girl," despite crediting Cho as co-plotter, is a warmed-over story without much innovation (although what seem to be a couple of Cho's sometimes off-beat innovations do come through, somewhat). Jana is, essentially, a lesser version of Shanna. The dialogue could also use another round of edits. The dust jacket asserts that this comic "roots itself firmly in the pulp tradition," but I find that debatable. Certainly, a comic entitled "Jungle Girl" isn't supposed to be Shakespeare; however, I do expect a little more out of my comics story-wise. Recommended for diehard fans of Frank Cho only.