Right off the bat, I defy you to figure out what the @#$#%$ is going on. The story reads like they removed every other panel. We start off with the finest jungle comic book poetry ever written ("Devil-Devil Wind", because the benighted love using the same word twice in a row to provide emphasis).
First, Ann watches Kaanga spear a panther in the chest. Fair enough - the predator might have had is coming. Next, she asks why they are stopping while Kaanga seemingly glues his canoe back together. Stopping when ... why ... where are they ... what? Finally, Kaanga smells a guy in the forest, gets pissed and picks up his bola. [Note, Kaanga has a bola, so he's officially playing by the Companion rules].
The story doesn't get much clearer here. Because a man riding an antelope* doesn't see Kaanga hiding behind a plant, his guilt is proven. In response, Kaanga does the only responsible thing - he throws a bola at him and then threatens him. M'bala now mutters something incoherent about white men, fire-eaters and demons (could be the blow to the skull he just received from those rocks) and Kaanga responds that, yes, he knew it all along. Knew what all along?
* Yeah, even my favorite thing - people riding animals that God and nature have deemed un-ride-able doesn't rescue this stinker. Alas!
Kaanga and Ann now mount their zebras (awesome, but, no, still not enough) and head to the village, where the villagers send them to the Valley of Leopards (probably because they don't want the Aryan with the itchy finger and doped eyes anywhere near their kids).
We close with a very lost toucan - perhaps on his own search for colorful, fruity breakfast cereal.
"Bones of a lost temple" is good, I'll admit that. Might use it myself one of these days. As a long-time fan of Jonny Quest, I have to nod approvingly at "AI-EEE!" being used not once, but twice on the same page.
Ah, the plot thickens. Blackie wants to screw up Capt. Clyde Ankers contract with European zoos! The fiend! In the last panel, Kaanga's hurry to save Ann from the arrow causes him to inadvertently snap her neck. Oh well - time to find a new henchwoman!
See - tribesmen mounted on antelopes and zebras killing in the name of Flame God. This really should be something wonderful. Pity. One thing does inspire me though ...
Drum of Command: This item looks like a large bongo. When struck, all who can hear the drum must pass a (Will) saving throw or be whipped into a frenzy (per the barbarian's rage) and attack whomever the drummer indicates for 1d6 rounds. Fear effects counter the effect of the magic drum.The giant flaming bird-glider is a nice touch. Those contracts are as good as broken! Oh Blackie, you scoundrel!
See "Then the flame-kite crashing as M'bala's treachery saw a chance --" is not a sentence. Damn close, but not a sentence.
Nevertheless, Kaanga takes one to the dome and out he goes. The kite explodes, the panther escapes back into the jungle (plot point, I'm thinking) and Ann and Capt. Clyde are taken prisoner.
So, is Blackie freeing the animals out of a sense of kindness?
So, Blackie has given his minions a false sense of confidence in themselves while ruining zoo contracts. I just don't know ...
"A savage surge of bull-ape's might ..." is another fantastic line. We now finally know what the heck was happening in the first panel (it was a preview!). We also now know that Kaanga's war cry is "Haa-Ree!". Please work that one into your next game for me. Thanks!
Kaanga uses a signal-smoke (or, if you're 99% of English speakers, a smoke signal) to signal the lancers and heads off on the trail of the bad guys. Spider-Man shows up in panel two, chasing a monkey, and then we're looking at the lost temple of the fire gods, one of whom must be called Zom. Again, I really should be enjoying this more than I am.
Blackie brags about the fact that his plan is so intricate and clever that they'll never pin it on him. Pin what on him? Who the $%@#$% hell knows, though it is worth mentioning that everyone involved in the story is already 100% aware that he's behind it all. I guess the lack of evidence will be important in the Superior Court of Jungle Law.
And then we find out just what Blackie Rawls is after. He wants Capt. Clyde's contract. That's it. That's the whole dang caper. Tribal war, murder, etc. for a zoo contract. No diamonds, no King Solomon's Mines. A zoo contract. The stuff legends are made of.
"Your head is mine!" Really sums it all up, doesn't it. I take it back. Forget the war cry. In your next game (this week, this weekend, whenever), please make sure you yell "Your head is mine!" while attacking at least once. Maybe twice.
I like the last panel.
Angry Dude: "They betray us! KILL!"
M'bala: "No! The fire-thrower is a wizard - strike!"
Apparently M'bala is still aiming for better working conditions and a pension plan.
And so we come to the end of our tale. Kaanga punches M'bala in the face, the fire gods ride off on zebras, only to be killed by the lancers (who ride bog-standard horses - how boring), Ann is released from her bonds (say what you will about the comic, Riddell could draw one heck of an Ann), and Kaanga throws a patronizing parting shot to the natives. We can only pray they'll kill him in his sleep one night.
And what did we learn from all this? Absolutely nothing! Thanks boys and girls ... more inanity from the Land of Nod tomorrow.