Review: Tarzan #221

Tarzan #221 cover
Cover by Joe Kubert

Tarzan #221
Published and © by DC, July 1973

Title: “Return to the Primitive”
Synopsis: Tarzan’s continued clashes with the villainous Nikolas Rokoff lead the jungle king back to the wilds of Africa.

Writer: Joe Kubert
Artist: Kubert

Review: Having not read Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “The Return of Tarzan,” this reviewer isn’t sure whom to blame for the ridiculous string of coincidences that mar this issue. Regardless, either original author ERB or comics writer Joe Kubert should have reined in this story’s reliance on convenient occurrences; the many chance meetings and lucky landfalls undermine all suspension of disbelief. Pacing also continues to be a problem with this story arc; it’s better for the first half of this issue, but feels rushed again when Tarzan returns to Africa. On the plus side, Kubert’s art remains strong.

Grade: B-

Second opinion: “4 out of 4 stars.” – Michael Tierney, Comics Buyer’s Guide #1609, October 2005 … Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.

Cool factor: Nice art.
Not-so-cool factor: Weak story.

Notable: Part three of the five-part “The Return of Tarzan” adaptation. … Also includes a three-page Tarzan text story titled “Civilization … or Wilderness?,” with reprint art from Hal Foster.
Collector’s note: According to MyComicShop.com, there is a Mark Jewelers variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “In the jungle wilderness … opponents will face each other in open combat … rather than to slay through deceit and treachery!” – Tarzan, ape man, engaging in a little internal monologue

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on Sept. 8, 2010.

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