Now I’ll admit right off the bat that I am not that familiar with the tale of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, matter of fact, the only bit about The Jungle Book I’m familiar with is the animated film Disney did way back in the day. So reading this re-telling of the old tale was a pretty interesting and fun time for me. And I’m glad Norm Harper himself emailed me about the opportunity to check out and review this GN as I would definitely recommend this to anyone. Especially if you like Mongooses! The fact Norm even included the story of ‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’ at the end of this is pretty nice too for those like myself to read it and get more familiar with the tale. Tavi is the kinda Mongoose who wants to prove himself to his girl’s dad, and he knows he’s not gonna do that by helping build tunnels and the like! Problem is, his only solution to prove himself is a bit scarce due to Man (That’s us) coming all about and mucking up the ecosystem so that they can move in.
So rude! Try asking the animals first guys! Might lead to a whole new world even! Now what is it that would help ol’ Tavi proove himself? Why fighting and winning against a snake of course! Granted, life gives him an opportunity at one point but things go a bit awry for our little hero! Gosh darn amnesia! Leading to a few interesting yet amusing exploits after he becomes a pet for Little Man. Leading to newly re-named Rikki to meeting the house cat known as Khan and his little bird friend from the outside known as Darzee. Who seems rather obsessed with being an inside bird instead of an outside one! Even having something of a love for the smell of dryer sheets! Unfortunately, while things seem all fun and games along with trying and failing to figure out who and what you are, things aren’t so great for Rikki/Tavi’s fellow Mongoose. And his girl Padma is darned worried about our wee hero! Pity her dear old dad isn’t a more kinder fellow!
Now I genuinely thought we were going to get some really amazing art in this considering the art on the cover, which clearly meant that I failed to remember that doesn’t always actually happen. Now the art isn’t bad by any means at all actually. I rather liked it and I feel Matthew Foltz-Gray’s art style would fit in well with a cartoon or animated film for that matter. I can only assume he’s also responsible for the great color work too as well in this. Hopefully any future work Norm Harper does will include Matthew and Oceano as they are a team I wouldn’t mind seeing more of together on projects. One of the things I loved about this story that is clearly diferent from the original, is the theme of change. As it shows that not only does Man have to change when the time comes or stagnate, but that also animals like the Mongoose also have to change as well. And its a lesson every member of the Chakram tribe learns by the end of this story with Rikki/Tavi leading the way.
A lesson that comes from facing off with Nag and Nagaina, two mated Cobras looking to take the home of Little Man for theirselves and raise their little ones in it. Which can certainly mean nothing good for Man elsewhere and for any unsuspecting animals if they were able to get their way! How Tavi once he has his marbles back in order, his new found friends, and his Chakram tribe handles everything is great to see unfold and is liable to have you cheering for them. And I highly recommend for those of you who read this to grab a copy to enjoy this fantastic re-telling of a classic story and do a little cheering in the process too!
Rikki – Graphic Novel
Based on ‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’ from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book
Written by: Norm Harper
Art by: Matthew Foltz-Gray
Lettering by: Oceano Ransfor
Reviewer: Rob Wrecks
Summary: Based on the short story “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. A young mongoose raised to fear mankind is separated from his burrow during a fierce storm. He awakens in a human home with no memory of who or what he is. Now, with a pair of deadly king cobras targeting his new family and his memories slowly returning, he must choose between the values of the mongoose society he was born into and the humans he has come to care for.