DRESDEN FILES: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

DRESDEN FILES: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
Written by Jim Butcher and Drawn by Ardian Syaf
Published by
Ballantine/Dabel Brothers

A nasty mauling at the Chicago Zoo looks like a simple case of a gorilla getting out of its cage and “expressing” itself. But when the facts don’t quite add up, CPD calls in a specialist, one not exactly beloved by the entire department: Harry Dresden. Dresden is not just a private investigator; he’s also a wizard, the real kind, and expertise with the supernatural is his domain. But a case that looks like it will be an easy solve goes haywire when more bodies start turning up and Harry realizes that there’s a master plan at work that may be way out of his league.

THE DRESDEN FILES novels by Butcher have gained quite a following over the last few years, aided and abetted by a live-action series that ran on the Sci-Fi Channel. But it turns out that Butcher is a comic geek at heart and produced the story for this book himself, originally published as floppies in 2007 and now collected in a sweet hardcover version. And fortunately, the whole enterprise really works; Dresden comes across as an interesting character on the page, his world captures the imagination, and the added punch of seeing visuals with the text gives the book some added punch. And, as I’m sure Butcher intended, it draws reader interest into picking up one of the novels and giving it a try.

Syaf’s art smartly keeps things simple; the star here is meant to be the author, and the artist doesn’t do things to distract away from the story being told. Camera angles are kept clean, “money shots” are minimal, and the storytelling is fairly basic. That’s smart, as the book may draw in some readers who have never picked up a graphic novel before. Recommended.

Marc Mason