Going Ape in The 'Nam: El Krudo

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El Krudo 1 - 4

EL KRUDO is a comic book you probably haven't found at your local comics shop. That's understandable if your store doesn't carry a lot of indy books, or doesn't make available titles that were created through crowdfunding campaigns; you can always get it yourself from Indiegogo, or directly from the publisher's website, ElKrudo.com.

The story is set during the Vietnam war. The focal villain is Major Deng, a sadistic warlord who distributes opium. And the hero? The hero is a special U.S. Marine trained orangutan.

Save the puns about "gorilla warfare," we've already used it.

El Krudo is, in fact, one of an elite unit of primates who have been trained since birth on how to function as a Marine. His inner dialogue doesn't read much differently from what you might expect any other person alone in the Vietnam jungles awaiting an extraction: the alertness, the fear, and the boredom. He hides a lot, but when it's time to strike, he's a killing machine.

So far, there have been four issues in the saga of EL KRUDO, beginning with "Into the Sausage Grinder" and currently reacing "Far Out," which finds our hero making a trade with a local farmer for some opium product so he can smoke himself into a psychedelic Frazetta fantasy, just as Major Deng learns there is an American hiding in the jungles nearby and sends out his hapless troops to root him out. The fourth episode is more than that, however, as it is a bonus-sized issue that reveals to the reader just how it is El Krudo was raised into the Marine he is today.

The story by Manny Shape , with interior artwork by Zeroz, is a compelling one. It does feel like it moves a bit slowly, however. El Krudo seems a bit aimless as he waits for an extraction that likely isn't coming since his superior officers believe him to be dead. And every appearance by Major Deng serves to underscore how venal he is. However, the issues do set the stage for what promises to be the confrontation between the forces of Deng and El Krudo; and it could be that El Krudo has an extraction mission of his own to pull off when we see Deng has a captive. There'll be no monkey left behind next issue, and we plan to be there for it. We suggest you do the same.

4.0 / 5.0