Lions, Tigers, & Bears #3 Review

Reviewer: Paul Sebert
Story Title: Fears and Pride: Part 3

Written by: Mike Bullock
Art by: Jack Lawrence
Lettered by: Dave Lanphear
Editor: Ron Marz
Publisher: Image Comics

Issue #3 already? Not only has Mike Bullock and Jack Lawrence’s “Lions, Tigers, and Bears” been one of the biggest surprises of 2005, it’s been a heck of a ride to boot. Now in it’s third issue the creative team of Bullock and Lawrence send the whole plot spiraling in a new and frightening direction. I don’t mean frightening in a “Tales from the Crypt” sense but in a “Harry Potter” or “Wizard of Oz” manner. Not too scary, but Bullock and Lawrence wisely avoids falling into the overly cutesy trap that some of the later Disney movies fell into. Also, unlike so much entertainment aimed at kids today, Bullock plays the story totally straight without so much of the “I’m too hip for this” snarky humor that plagues so much of Children’s entertainment these days.

As the issue opens up a pair of ravenous beasties (who are probably genetically related to Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures) have kidnapped a girl named Courtney who we learned previously has quite an important destiny ahead of her; if she’s around to fulfill it that is. Joey and The Night Pride quickly pounce in to the rescue but they may be too late.

On the course of their rescue mission our heroes have to traverse a haunted forest as we learn of the history the battle between the Stuffed Animal kingdom and the wicked Beasties. The odds have never been more stacked against our heroes and as we head to the final issue of the first arc it looks the team may not make it intact.

Jack Lawrence’s pencils are very well done. They’re deceptively simple and clean in an animated style that will attract younger readers, while rewarding older ones who gaze at the finer details. The colors are beautifully inked,quite vibrant, and leap off of the page taking on a life of their own.

Perhaps the most striking thing about this issue is it’s dramatic conclusion. Within the span of two pages, Bullock and Lawrence very quickly remind us of how attached we are to the characters.