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Welcome to the Jungle: The Dresden Files    by Jim Butcher & Ardian Syaf order for
Welcome to the Jungle
by Jim Butcher
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2008 (2008)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

I was a huge fan of The Dresden Files TV show, yet I have never had time to read any of Jim Butcher's multitude of novels featuring Harry Dresden. So I was very excited when I saw Welcome to the Jungle, a compilation of the first four The Dresden Files comic books. Written by Butcher and illustrated by Ardian Syaf, these four issues tell a complete story prior to Butcher's first novel.

After a security guard is found dead in the Lincoln Park Zoo, all signs point to Moe the gorilla. However, a few things do not add up, so the police call in Harry Dresden, their wizard consultant for anything unusual. Dresden tries interviewing zoo staff but only meets with resentment until he finally gets Dr. Reese, the curator of the great apes, to understand that he does not think Moe did it. Dr. Reese assigns his assistant Will to help Dresden clear Moe. When Dresden and Will are attacked by lions and a tiger with glowing green eyes, Dresden knows there is something supernatural afoot, and Dr. Watson (the British zoologist in charge of the big cats) seems the most likely suspect. Doing some questionable breaking and entering, Dresden discovers her office is rampant with magic, including ritualistic jars filled with animal blood. After consulting with Bob, his ancient skull, Dresden figures that Dr. Watson must be a Hecatean Hag, and now he must stop her before she completes her ritual.

Comics make a great medium for Butcher's Dresden Files. The action, the mystery, and the monsters spring from the pages in a way they never could from a novel. Syaf is a master at facial expressions, effortlessly conveying a character's emotions. Dresden himself makes a perfect flawed semi-superhero, especially in the action scenes. All of this combines to make Welcome to the Jungle a needed book for fans of Butcher's The Dresden Files novels or the short-lived TV show.

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