Stephen Mooney returns once more to tell us all about the writing process behind Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #2, out now from Dynamite Comic:
[+++ WARNING: Potential Spoilers! Buy and read the book, then come back here for the commentary! +++]
Hey all – let’s dive into my writer’s commentary for the second issue of our gal Sheena’s new series!
Right off the bat here, we’re exactly where we left off at the end of the first issue. The mysterious killer that’s been terrorizing the MegaPark has found Sheena and is instantly upon her!
The Jungle Queen has never encountered a beast like this and is completely flummoxed by its origins. It almost seems supernatural in nature.
This is where we really begin to showcase Sheena’s jungle combat skills. This massive, unearthly creature has killed untold amounts of park denizens and operatives, but Sheena is able to just about hold her own during the fight, even without her weapons. It’s clear though that this is truly an assailant unlike any other our heroine has thus faced and will require some unorthodox methodology to understand and counter.
The fight is eventually interrupted by a somewhat gormless hunting party. Sheena instantly knows that these men are hopelessly out of their depth and will provide no genuine threat to the animal. They die needlessly and quickly, with scant pity offered by our lead. She warned them and they paid no heed.
What, though, were the hunters even doing in the park? How did they get in and what made them aware of the killer beast?
Sheena tends to her wounds as she scans the kill zone for clues about the animal. Nothing new of note presents itself. Mysteries on top of puzzles. Ransome checks in, demanding an update. Sheena reminds him that the people in control of the park will need to adhere to her methods exactly, or yet more needless deaths will occur.
When questioned as to the origins of the hunting party, Ransome doesn’t have much new info to give Sheena. If he and Cardwell Industries are indeed in control of this park, they’re doing a piss-poor job of maintaining any semblance of order.
Sheena sets up a base camp from where to further her investigations. A brief moment of respite as she reflects on the incredible beast she just encountered. Where could it have come from and how and why is it here in this park?
Ransome informs her that the animal is not on any roster and was neither grown in the park, nor imported. It should not be there.
The animal seemed to withdraw at the last, when it could have grievously injured Sheena further. There seems to be more at play here and Sheena resolves to get to the bottom of it.
Ransome seems buoyed by the fact that Sheena is on the case now and to his mind, having seen what Sheena is capable of many times, the creature’s days are numbered. Sheena, of course, would rather find a more peaceful solution to the problem. But, given the size and ferocity of the beast, even she doubts that this will be a realistic outcome.
Sheena hesitantly asks Ransome to run some interference with the top brass, so that she may take more time to ascertain what’s truly happening at the park. Ransome acquiesces; happy to have Sheena owing him a favor.
As Sheena signs off for the night, we cut to Ransome at Cardwell HQ, where he’s reporting to his superior, Laura Jeffries.
Jeffries is satisfied with proceedings, despite Ransome warning her that Sheena is bound to figure out that there is more at play here than she knows. Jeffries dismisses Ransome’s misgivings and asks what the hell happened with the wayward hunters. Neither she nor Ransome seem overly surprised or even concerned that these men were in the park and gunning for the creature.
The huge cat quietly observes Sheena as she sleeps. Another chance to kill the prone woman, which the animal does not take. What is it after..?
Next morning, the investigation resumes. Sheena gathers useful resources from the jungle as she hoofs it to the final attack site. Along the way, Sheena notices more of the strange glyphs which she encountered in the first issue. Ransome’s tech people inform her that this particular symbol is likely Native American in origin, but they cannot be any more specific. Sheena scoffs at the meager ‘assistance’ she is being furnished with.
At the third kill site, Sheena once again examines the remains. Amongst the torn-up bodies are several high-calibre weapons. Ransome’s reasoning that these guns belonged to the tourists’ armed escort does not tally with Sheena. Two armed guards, yet seven weapons? What is Ransome keeping from her?
As Sheena and Ransome argue back and forth, though, the beast takes advantage of Sheena’s distraction and strikes, without warning!
Sheena is thrown heavily against a tree trunk and knocked unconscious. Once more, the mysterious animal has her at its mercy and once more declines to deliver the killing strike. Instead, it moves over to seemingly examine the remains of the dead patrons strewn around the site.
Sheena comes to, as the cat is prowling about the area, seemingly looking for something. Unfortunately for her, Ransome barking loudly over her com-piece attracts the beast’s attention and it turns to attack once more!
With little option, having broken her bow earlier in the issue, Sheena dives for the only weapon available – a hunting rifle. She detests all fire-arms, but this is about as life or death as it gets.
Sheena fires a warning shot at the animal, who seems completely unconcerned. The huge cat leaps for Sheena, who, in a split second, brings her rifle to bear square in the creature’s chest. The cat, seeming to realize that they have reached a stalemate, turns and almost casually pads away into the undergrowth. Sheena is completely bemused and cannot understand such behavior, having never observed it in any animal previously.
Just what the hell is going on in this park?! To be continued…