The Greatest Adventure # 1 NM Dynamite Bill Willingham Cezar Razek 1st pr Tarzan



Greatest Adventure #1
Published Apr 2017 by Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Bill Willingham
Art by Cezar Razek
Cover by Cary Nord

In ancient days, Jason gathered the greatest heroes of his age and set out on the ultimate sea voyage. Now, in Tarzan’s era, Jason Gridley does the same. The greatest heroes of the Edgar Rice Burroughs universe come together as the crew of the good ship Venture, with none other than Tarzan as their captain. It’s a race this time, against a battleship of dark hearted villains, and the fate of many worlds hangs in the balance.

32 pages, full color.

From fairy tales to early 20th Century pulp fiction, Bill Willingham has a thing for older character archetypes. In “The Greatest Adventure” #1, he brings Cezar Razek along as wingman to create a team 100 years in the making: The League of Extraordinary Burroughs-men.

All I know of Tarzan, I’ve accumulated through cultural osmosis. I know even less about John Carter. And the rest of these characters could be Willingham originals, albeit pulpy throwbacks. So one apology before we begin, the effect of “The Greatest Adventure” #1 as being an Edgar Rice Burroughs superteam is completely lost on me.

Razek’s artwork has a scratchy, scuffed quality to it that almost looks like it was rubbed onto the page with charcoal. It’s got a weathered and worn feel that’s a perfect match for a storytelling mode, and subject matter, that’s pleasantly outdated. His detailing oscillates between the lushness of Tarzan’s home and the sparse, sterility of a retro-futurist spacecraft. For the most part, characters move fluidly through these settings which helps permeate “The Greatest Adventure” #1 with the appropriate atmosphere of swashbuckling fun.

The story splashes open with a stolen and flaming alien warplane careening down to the horizon as seen through a clearing of trees, leaves and vines. It perfectly captures the aesthetic you’d expect from a title like this: explosions, jungles, a propeller mounted on the nose of an alien aircraft. Willingham’s credentials are bonafide, so what’s on deck after the plane crashes into the savannah is a well-written, though underwhelming, introduction to Tarzan, Jane, the pilot Jason Gridley, and the nefarious captain of the starship Resolve.

Now most of “The Greatest Adventure” #1’s narrative thrust is delivered through flashback. Given time to convalesce at Tarzan and Jane’s home, Gridley recounts his part in a tale that leaves the Resolve traveling from the planet Karis to Earth with superior technology and ill-intent. It’s not the most original way to structure a comic, but it’s used to great effect to establish the cast, their relationships to one another, and incite them all to action, while suitably raising the stakes enough to warrant the come-together of a cadre of intrepid heroes. It’s especially effective in this context. Considering how deep Willingham is digging into the Burroughs’ bench, delivering this information as efficiently as possible is key to investing people in the plot and getting them to care about lesser-thans on the roster.

There are lots of characters to introduce. Lots of obscure characters, too, The issue literally closes with a splash of the 18 member cast, each person captioned with a name and description underneath. So setup is a necessary mandate.

As the team is thrown together, Tarzan is shown in a dapper suit and tie to welcome some known acquaintances onto the team. Immediately after, he’s stripped to loincloth for a wrestling match to test a stranger’s suitability for the team. It’s a wonderfully playful moment that’s brought to burly, bare-chested life by Rezak.


Near mint condition, 1st printing.