Sunday, May 29, 2011

Retro-Review: Sheena, Queen of the Jungle #4, Part 2!

The next Sheena tale in this issue (written by W. Morgan Thomas, with art by Robert Webb) is an untitled tale. Sheena visits the Dussa tribe which has been plagued by an “evil one” who is killing all the food beasts and poisoning their water. Sheena vows not to let them be driven from their land.
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Nearby, as gentle creatures drink from a cooling stream, a rain of spears fly at the animals, sending most off, but killing four. The spears were thrown by Riba, an imposing woman. She has her men throw the dead animals into the water to pollute the stream. The stampede of animals away from the stream gets Sheena's attnetion, and she, Bob and the monkey Chim soon learn what's happening. As Sheena rushes in to attack Riba, Riba counters by throwing a spear! Sheena easily dodges the spear, and then handily defeats Riba. Rather than kill her foe, however, Sheena just tells Riba to leave, and that she will tell the Dussa men who their foe is. Riba does so, throwing out a curse before departing. Bob thinks Sheena's too quick to forgive, and warns that Riba will be back.

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As they head back home, Chim warns them of danger... a white panther in a tree! Sheena shoots it with an arrow, but the arrow doesn't kill the beast! Sheena then trips on a vine, and the beast inches closer and closer. Sheena's convinced that Riba's curse has come true! Bob figures he'll shoot the animal, but his gun jams! Suddenly a shot rings out, and the beast is dead! The shot was fired by Sgt. Reginald Austin of Territorial Police. The only thanks he wants is the chance to look at Sheena, which of course makes Bob jealous!

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Sheena, Bob and Chim continue home, while Sgt. Austin looks around some more. He's not happy about the lawless animal slaughter. Meanwhile, Riba and one of her men spot him, and Austin is knocked out! Riba is about to stab him, but Bob is coming, so they hide. Bob intends to apologize to Austin, comes across the unconscious Austin, and then is knocked out himself! Riba is about to stab both of then, but then her man suggests using Bob's gun to shoot Austin, framing Bob for the murder! On the trail ahead, Sheena waited until she heard the shooting, and then she runs to where it occurred! Austin's men are there first, and immediately assume Bob did the killing!

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Sheena, of course, is sure that Bob did not kill Austin, but she can't convince the policemen to let him go. She has one day to prove Bob's innocence, but will she need that long? Chim finds a piece of Riba's dress on the ground! This gives her the direction to follow Riba's trail! Before long, she spots Riba ahead, crossing a vine bridge, and she calls to Riba, ordering her to stop. Of course, Riba goes on ahead. By the time Sheena reaches the vine bridge, Riba is across, and her man is cutting the vines away! Sheena falls... to her death in the bottomless chasm?

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Well, of course she doesn't die. A handy tree growing out of the side of the chasm provides something to grab hold of, and then Sheena makes her way to a tunnel, where she encounters a wild mountain boar, who charges her! She kills the boar, and continues walking through the cave, finding her way to familiar jungle. She gets to the tribal village Riba is from, and finds Riba talking with her father, who's determined to help their Dussa friends. He orders the sacred hunting lions loosened, as the lions will find the evil ones! Everyone else flees the lions except for Riba, who is rooted to the spot with fear. Sheena can't let Riba die, for only Riba's confession can save Bob! So Sheena attacks and kills the hunting lion!

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Riba is grateful for having her life saved, and agrees to help clear Bob. However, Riba's henchman is ready to still Riba's tongue with a well-thrown spear! But Riba's father sees this, and throws his own spear first, killing the man! With the chief's help, Sheena gets Riba to the police in time to save Bob!

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Sheena doesn't really demonstrate indomitable spirit, does she? She's all too ready to accept that Riba's curse has happened, and then when the vine bridge is cut away, she's also convinced she's falling to her death! And how about those “sacred” hunting lions? They're kept bound up in nets until needed, and then no fuss is made over Sheena killing one of them... doesn't sound too sacred to me! At least Sheena's actions resolved things this time around, even if the monkey did all the real detective work! And once again, Bob pretty much did nothing to help the entire time.

Next is the two-page text story, “How Sheena and Bob Came to the Jungle,” by W. Morgan Thomas, which retold Sheena's origin. Sheena was the daughter of an explorer, Caldwell Rivington. When Caldwell was accidentally killed by a witch doctor, the witch doctor took the daughter and set her up as queen of the tribe. She met Bob, an engineer, when he was stricken with a dread disease, and Sheena provided the herbs to save his life. Bob decided to stay in the jungle after recovering, having fallen for Sheena.

Next time: Another untitled tale, with snakes!

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