Issue by Issue – Bomba the Jungle Boy #7

Writer – Denny O’Neil
Artist – Jack Sparling

The final issue of Bomba the Jungle Boy by Denny O’Neil and Jack Sparling is an exciting affair, a story that pits Bomba against a creature out of time, a man who means to conquer the world and revert it to a state only seen thousands of years in the past. This issue marks a bit of departure from the norm for the book as O’Neil sets part of it within the city. Being the Jungle Boy in a city is not the easiest but he agrees to go with a woman who has learned of a young savage in the forest and wants to tame him as her pet project. At first, he had no notion of doing so but when he notices in a photo that the vegetation there is strange, much like that grown by Krag and Bomba knows that if he is to defeat Krag, to avenge Jobo, then the city is where he needs to be. Sparling provides some of the best artwork this series has seen with this issue, both in terms of the characters and the overall design and whether that is in part to O’Neil’s fantastic story or something else, it is a joy to behold. Bomba is far more sure of himself in this story, focused on his goal and bent on not only revenge but in stopping a monster before he can gain a foothold in the world. This is a different Bomba than readers are used to and it works extremely well in the story, O’Neil’s characterization does far more for Bomba than anything that came previously. Eventually, Bomba and Krag meet, the two complete and total enemies and Krag, who thinks himself invincible, continues to underestimate Bomba at every turn. Suffice it to say, Krag still lives at the end of this tale and Bomba is no closer to defeating him but he did at least save the city and halt the monster’s evil plans. O’Neil and Sparling do not necessarily leave it off on a cliffhanger but they do leave it with a ‘to be continued’ which would have been a great thing if the title had progressed past seven issues. With this being the last book in the series, it leaves the story unfinished which is quite sad because it was finally headed somewhere unlike the first five issues which were simply fun, done-in-one adventure tales. O’Neil would introduce a lot of interesting concepts into the two issues he would pen and Sparling would produce some of his best artwork of the series here but sadly, it would not be enough and cancellation would take the title like it had so many others. Despite being unfinished, it remains a fun read and an interesting blip in the history of licenced comics.

4 out of 5

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