The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle
by Jim Butcher
Review by Drew Bittner
Del Rey Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345507464
Date: 14 October 2008 List Price $19.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Such is the situation in Welcome to the Jungle, collecting the four issue miniseries by the Dabel Bros., written by Dresden creator Jim Butcher and illustrated by Ardian Syaf. Set before the events of Harry's first novel, Storm Front, this comic book adventure brings Dresden to life and offers him an unusual problem to solve.
Even not-so-routine murders don't often require Harry's singular talents, so it's clear that there's more here than meets the eye. Harry's police contact, Lt. Karrin Murphy, wants to know if this crime is supernatural or merely weird. Cause if it's only weird... well, she can deal with that. If it's supernatural, it'll be up to Harry to fix things.
Unfortunately, Harry realizes that this case isn't as simple as it looks--he finds traces of something terrible, and definitely supernatural, at the murder scene. Questioning the staff turns up no useful leads--except to remind Harry of his brutal "education" at the hands of evil wizard Justin DuMorne--until Harry is caught in a mystic ambush with young zoologist Willamena, a trap that it will take all his wits and wizardry to escape. Yet even this is only a prelude to something much worse, which will push the young wizard to his limits and forge an unusual bond of trust.
Butcher has achieved something remarkable, in the seemingly effortless way he translates Harry from prose to comic book. Dresden's trademark sarcasm and dry wit come across perfectly. For a writer accustomed to working chiefly in novel length storytelling, Butcher displays a command of the short form that is admirable. It is a great thing that he will be adapting Storm Front (see our interview with Jim Butcher for more!) for Dabel Bros. as the next Harry Dresden miniseries, starting this month.
Artist Ardian Syaf deserves equal credit, with artwork that highlights the sharp contrast between the ordinary world and the magical demi-monde in which Harry operates. It can be very tricky striking the balance between the normal and the supernatural, but Syaf does very nicely indeed; there are images that absolutely nail the sardonic Dresden wit. Butcher and Syaf make a good team.
Dabel Bros. have another hit with this original work, set within a bestselling urban fantasy series. Here's hoping that this is only the first of many such original tales--and adaptations--to come in partnership with Jim Butcher.