Lex Talionis:
A Jungle Tale

by Aneurin Wright
(Image, 2004)

I always loved wildlife documentaries. Since childhood, I could sit and watch National Geographic programs and the like for hours ... especially if they dealt with primates. In college, I saw Gorillas in the Mist, the movie about the life of Dian Fossey, and it became one of my favorites. So, it's probably a cinch that I'd like any dramatic comics work on gorillas. Well, truth is, there's just not a whole lot of them out there, but until more come along, Lex Talionis: A Jungle Tale will do.

A safari guide is killed by a rampaging gorilla. According to the experts, however, the attack never should have happened, since gorillas don't attack unprovoked. So, something's amiss, and a mystery ensues.

Nearly a year old, Lex Talionis is Aneurin Wright's first published comics work, and, as writer and artist, it's really not a bad initial offering. The characters, though not immensely fleshed out (how much can you expect in 48 pages?) are fairly believable. This may actually be due, in part, to the simplicity of the story, as Wright doesn't try to cram too much in. It's basically cause, effect and reaction, though not exactly in that order.

The real highlight, however, is the artwork. Wright uses something never seen in comics production before.

Called "reduction point," it's a print-making technique that I'm certainly not qualified to explain, but, happily, more than qualified to appreciate. Different color intensities are used throughout the work, evoking just the right mood, most of the time. Sometimes muted, sometimes nearly garish, Wright wields his palette well enough to properly enhance his story. "Lush," "lavish" and "eye-catching" are all adjectives I would use in describing this book.

Lex Talionis: A Jungle Tale is recommended for those who enjoy an intelligent story told in bold fashion. Some language makes it unsuitable for younger readers.

- Rambles
written by Mark Allen
published 12 March 2005