Review: Brutal Nature #1 (of 4)

With the philosophical questions of are we beasts of manly virtue or vice verse in mind, this new series from IDW seeks to possibly deliver an answer.  It seems that no good deed goes unpunished in the jungle as a damsel in distress brings about the animal spirit wielding warrior Ich to her aid.  In doing so, Ich sets into motion a path that causes immediate pain, with the promise of a longer suffering.

Luciano Saracino sets his stall out very well, through the opening pages depicting the viciousness of how visitors interact with an indigenous species.  In this case, the carnal thoughts of man.  Sceptics may well roll their eyes with the stereotypical “evil man versus female jungle native” modus operandi, but every story needs conflict, even if at it’s essence Saracino seems to be channelling Tarzan.  The script is emotive, carrying the reader in to the jungle well. although this seems less effective the further away from Ich we get.  The dialogue is just about right for this tale, but just like the script, the denseness of the later characters serves to hinder the pace of the story.

Ariel Olivetti provides the art throughout the book, including the glorious painted style colors.  Not having seen his art in a plethora of Marvel books, my knee jerk reaction was initially subdued.  It wasn’t until I started moving through the jungle, via the turning of the pages, did I understand the enormity of the classic styled art on show.  The jungle is luxurious and feels alive; you can almost feel it’s heat and humidity such is the immersive impact of Olivetti’s work.  Unlike the dialogue the art maintains its pace throughout the various locations, with great panel structure which gives the book a grandiose feel.

For a book that, at first, didn’t seem to offer much, the surprises come thick and fast.  There is a simplicity to the storytelling, being as this is the first issue.  Yet, there are enough questions left hanging to indicate that things are going to get a little more complicated.  I am normally quite critical of the current trend of story compression to fulfil the demands of TPB format.  But here, I am not sure that four issues will be enough for many readers who may well want more issues of Ich’s adventures.

Writing – 4 Stars
Art -5 Stars

(W) Luciano Saracino (A/CA) Ariel Olivetti

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