Harry Dresden is a hapless, down on his luck wizard. In fact, he's the only licensed wizard in the Chicago phone book. Business isn't exactly brisk so from time to time he acts as a consultant with the Chicago Police Department when the cases drift out of the mundane and into the realm of the paranormal. When Karrin Murphy, one of Chicago's finest, is called upon to investigate a brutal mauling at the Lincoln Park Zoo that left way too many weird questions from left field unanswered, she knew it was time to call on Harry's unique skills. One look at the crime scene was all that Dresden needed to realize that powerful black magic was at work.
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE is an enjoyable graphic novel and a welcome extension (a prequel, actually) to the Dresden Files, a series that almost defies genre classification. While Harry Dresden assumes the role of the angst-ridden, hard-boiled detective with the self-sufficient, anti-authority attitude reminiscent of a John Corey or Harry Bosch, he's also a bit of a laughable bumbler. We've got fantasy, blended with comedy, the paranormal, cozy mystery, thriller and even a touch of heart-warming romance from time to time.
As with any venture into the paranormal, a certain suspension of disbelief is required. But the willing reader will reap abundant rewards - strong character development; gritty, realistic, easy-flowing, natural dialogue that has lots of lightweight comedic moments; good guys and bad guys that will evoke strong reactions; smiles, chuckles and laughs throughout; a new supernatural universe complete with rules governing the use of magic and an over-riding White Council, the government overseeing the appropriate use of magic as it were; a convincing glimpse at the criminal mind's twisted interpretation of honour and respect; and an enjoyable tale that will provide a few hours of pure entertainment.
Illustrator Adrian Syaf's art is first rate and, in an introduction, author Jim Butcher acknowledged that Syaf's visions of the characters were bang-on with the mental perception of the characters that up until now had only existed in Butcher's mind. I expect that should be interpreted as a compliment to both Jim Butcher's skills at narrative description and character development as well as Syaf's artistic abilities.
Even if WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE can't lay any great claims to literary merit, it sure is fun and a fabulous way to while away a couple of easy-going reading hours. Highly recommended.
An entertaining graphic novel and a great way to introduce yourself to both the world of graphic novels and the universe of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. If you enjoy horror and fantasy, this one's a sure fire winner for you.