“The Once and Future Tarzan”
Writer: Alan Gordon
Artists: Thomas Yeates and Bo Hampton
It is two hundred years in the future and the Earth has gone through some catastrophe. Most of London is underwater and wild animals roam free. Still life goes on. Tarzan lives in the ruins and one day is attacked by a tribe of women. He manages to make peace with them. Later some mysterious man called George Schultz of a cabal that is after Tarzan comes for him. The man is looking for the Kavuru formula that has extended the lives of Tarzan, Jane and Jad-Bal-Ja the lion. They come to an agreement to go to Africa.
So on the boat they go down the river Thames and battle various pirates and hordes of tigers. They reach the channel and recover an old submarine. The trip takes them to a mysterious island composed of old ships like an aircraft carrier and cruise liner. It is lead by a Dr. Jorgenson who was a friend of Tarzan and Jane. Well it starts to get weird with Tarzan and the others somehow getting transported to Africa. They have a battle with Schultz’s men and are rescued by troops in bright blue uniforms.
So this take on Tarzan was originally published as a series of short stories in Dark Horse Presents. The positives are the beautiful artwork. The sort of serialized adventures that it was written as gives it a feel of the old serials from the thirties. Tarzan and Jane are written as the characters were originally written by Burroughs. Indeed the whole story idea feels like something that Burroughs would have written if he were alive today.
Now for the bad. The story is somewhat overwritten with too much exposition that goes nowhere or poetry quotes. In fact the ending was very weird and not satisfying to me. We did get some idea of what happened to this world. Some was actually plausible. The whole experience was just not as fulfilling to me as I was hoping. Still I would be open to reading more chapters in this unique take on Tarzan so it wasn’t that bad.