Welcome to the Jungle (comics)
|Cover artist||Ardian Syaf and Christian McGrath|
|Series||The Dresden Files|
|Genre||Science fiction, Fantasy|
|Publisher||Del Rey/Dabel Brothers Publishing|
|October 14, 2008|
|Media type||Print (graphic novel)|
|Followed by||Storm Front|
Welcome to the Jungle is a 2008 hardback graphic novel written by science fiction and fantasy author Jim Butcher and illustrated by Ardian Syaf. Set in the world of Butcher's contemporary fantasy/mystery novel series, The Dresden Files, Welcome to the Jungle was written as a prequel to the first novel, Storm Front. It was nominated for a Hugo Award in the Best Graphic Novel category.
A brutal mauling at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo has left a security guard dead. This wouldn’t be a big deal, except the guard had been the son of a prominent politician. Zoo administrators quickly accuse Moe, the alpha gorilla, of the murder and schedule him for termination. Under pressure from her superiors and the mayor’s office to close the case, Lt. Murphy calls in Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only consulting wizard. She needs him to find the real killer in 24 hours.
Puzzled, Dresden hunts for clues. When he interviews the zoo staff, he encounters anger and outright hostility. They refuse to cooperate in his investigation, blaming him for the administration’s decision to terminate the zoo’s beloved gorilla. Finally, Dresden is able to interview Dr. Reese, Director of the Gorilla Program; and later, he meets Reese’s assistant, Willamena Rogers—Will. Dresden tells Reese that he doesn’t believe the gorilla did it. When, Dresden and Willamena are attacked by a lion, he is able summon a wind to blow the predator into a janitor’s closet and slam the metal door. Then, they are attacked by a pack of escaped leopards, tigers and lions. Only a powerful magical spell could have overridden their instincts and coerced those big cats into hunting together. Dresden breaks the magical spell with running water. The zoo is closed, so the staff can round up all the escaped cats. Suspecting Watson, Dresden takes advantage of the big cat roundup to break into her office. He find a casting circle on the floor, the residue of powerful magical workings, and a filing cabinet with ritual jars full of animal blood.
Back at his apartment laboratory, Dresden shows one of the ritual jars to Bob, a spirit of air and an encyclopedia of arcane knowledge. Bob deciphers the runes on the jar as part of an ascension ritual for a hecatean hag. He must stop the ritual before the transformation takes place and before more people die. When Dresden and Will return to the zoo, they discover Watson's office had burned, incinerating all the ritual evidence. Next, they find Moe is sitting next to Reese’s corpse. In a scene worthy of Beauty and the Beast, Will calms the agitated Moe and takes him back to his cage.
Finding a hair on Reese’s corpse, Dresden performs a tracking spell. The trail leads him to the undertown, the world of old subway tunnels, caverns, and empty spaces below Chicago. En route, he is attacked and his car is severely battered. Dresden blasts the monster to a thousand pieces and continues following the tracking spell trail. He surprises and disables the hag, discovering too late that she was only one of a sisterhood of four. The remaining three hags encircle and attack Dresden. He defeats two of them and breaks the ritual circle. With her sisters dead and her ascension rite canceled, Watson vows revenge and escapes. Dresden follows her with the tracking spell, which leads him back to the zoo. In the final showdown, Dresden summons enough power to open the door of Moe’s cage. Through the cage’s safety glass, Moe has been watching Watson torture Will. Freed by Dresden, an utterly enraged Moe attacks and kills Watson.
It’s over quickly. The Hag never had a chance. When the police arrive, Dresden and Will tell Lt. Murphy that they were attacked by Watson. Will is in shock and denial. She cannot accept or talk about the supernatural things she has seen. Later, evidence take from Reese’s corpse implicates Watson and clears Moe. Murphy is not pleased that she cannot cuff Watson and take her in, but she will pay Dresden his consulting fee.
List of characters
- Harry Dresden: The protagonist; a professional wizard.
- Lieutenant Karrin Murphy: The Director of Special Investigations, Chicago PD.
- Detective Ron Carmichael: Murphy's partner at SI.
- Justin DuMorne: (deceased) Dresden’s former mentor, teacher, and foster father.
- Elaine Mallory: (lying next to DuMorne, not saying a word, not given a name in the story, thought to be deceased) Dresden's foster sister, co-apprentice and first love.
- Mister: Dresden's 30+ pound house cat.
- Bob: An intelligent air spirit who resides within a skull in Dresden's sub-basement laboratory.
- Maurice Sandbourne: (deceased) a zoo security guard and the son of a prominent Chicago politician
- Dr. Dana Watson: an animal expert on loan from London, working in the big cat exhibit
- Dr. Reese: Director of the Gorilla Program. Deceased.
- Willamena "Will" Rogers: Dr. Reese’s assistant
- Moe: The alpha male gorilla in the Big Ape House at the Lincoln Park zoo
- Two hags: sisters of Dr Watson
In other media
- Welcome to the Jungle was released as a four-part, monthly comic mini-series by Dabel Brothers Publishing, April - July, 2008.
- Welcome to the Jungle was released as a paperback on July 24, 2009 by Titan Books Ltd, ISBN 1-84856-209-8.
- Welcome to the Jungle is not yet available as an audio book.