Paleontologists take people back in time by using scraps of dinosaur bones and elbow grease. Now, what if we could transport the Earth itself back to see them in the flesh? IDW is republishing — and completing — the original Dinosaurs Attack! comic miniseries as a five-part miniseries starting this week and in it a genius scientist does just that. We review this classic tale to answer the question, “is it good?”
Dinosaurs Attack! #1 (IDW)
Originally published by Eclipse Comics in 1988, the series follows a genius scientist who’s discovered a way to send a planetary body back in time. Or at least I think that’s what he’s doing. There’s a very detailed explanation of this device in the opening pages that, while interesting and well written, might bore a few folks.
Ultimately this issue spends a lot of time setting up the protagonists and their complicated divorce. It’s evident from the getgo this is a comic from before our time. The structure and heavy exposition style of it harkens back to a day and age when folks actually wanted to read when they opened a comic. It still holds up though and as long as you have the patience for it there’s an interesting story unfolding here.
Also works on dingleberries.
The comic introduces a genius scientist, his ex wife and a CNN news reporter as they converge on a space station to see what the world was like millions of years ago. The genius scientist invented this gizmo and has already tested it on the Moon. His wife doesn’t seem to think it’s safe, however, and nixes the entire plan. Of course, the genius also seems to have a complicated back story involving dual personalities which will most likely be a driving force in the issues to come. Writer Gary Gerani never patronizes the reader but instead tells the story and psychosis of the characters with care and with great attention. Most exposition-heavy comics these days belittle the reader and explain the obvious, but not so here. Instead Gerani keeps things interesting and intelligent enough to make the read as enjoyable as the art.
Somebody tell this guy we only care about who knocked up Kim Kardashian.
The art by Herb Trimpe is very much a product of the 80s. Layouts are simple and most of the action is taken at a medium shot. Nothing goes too far out there to be exciting for excitement’s sake, but the story is never misunderstood.
The last four pages of this 35 page comic are painted by Earl Norem in a vivid semi-photorealistic way. He gets a few panels to show the past as well, as seen in the image below, and his art helps make the dinosaur parts that much more bombastic and striking.
Oh so pretty.
- Strong premise
- Interesting characters
- Norem’s paintings are strikingly good
- May be a bit exposition-heavy for anyone impatiently waiting for dinosaurs
The first issue of this series is beholden to the writing, as the dinosaurs only make a brief appearance, and the real enjoyment of the issue resides in the psychosis of the characters. Luckily this aspect is interesting and will keep you satiated until the dinos show up next month. The plot is goofy, but with enough explanation to make it plausible and should intrigue folks who dislike science fiction but want some dinosaur action.
Is It Good?
Yes. There’s a reason IDW is reprinting and finishing this series. The premise is strong and the art holds up.