By: Robert Kirkman (writer), Jason Howard (art & colors), Rus Wooton (letters) & Sina Grace (editor)
The Story: A boy genius and his Super Dinosaur friend fight an evil scientist.
What’s Good: Comics for kids… Some folks think we need a lot more comics for kids since most of the people reading comics are 30-45 year old dudes and people wring their hands about the “death of comics” and the “need to bring in new readers”. But, how do we do that when even “safe” titles like Amazing Spider-Man has a bedroom scene every 40 issues and is “burdened” by decades of back-story.
This is a great kid’s comic. It has the look and feel of a Ben 10-esque cartoon. The basic story is simple: Derek Dynamo lives with his super-scientist father, Doctor Dynamo and his partner/friend Super Dinosaur. They come into conflict with Dr. Dynamo’s former lab assistant, Max Maximus and his squad of evil, uplifted dinosaurs over access to some scarce raw material. The dinosaurs come from some Inner Earth (think Journey to the Center of the Earth) and have been modified by the good/evil doctors. That’s pretty much the plot and Kirkman explains it all in the first 3-4 pages with the rest of the issue being devoted to dinosaur fights and an interesting plot wrinkle tossed in at the end.
The best thing I can say about this is that it is fun and I think that any adult comic fan with a 7-10 year old boy could try handing this to them. There is nothing even remotely risqué in this comic and it somehow gives you the confidence that it won’t ever get into bad language and wanton violence or sexuality in the future. I think you’d be perfectly safe buying this at the comic shop and just handing it to your kid without previewing it first.
Jason Howard’s art is top notch. As I said above, this comic just screams Cartoon Network and I mean that as a compliment. I could completely see this translating into a hit cartoon on TV and that is 95% due to the great work Howard is doing. His work is just so fresh, clear and bright and he draws the hell out of a dinosaur.
What’s Not So Good: Well, there isn’t a lot here for adults. That probably isn’t a fair criticism because Kirkman is a great writer and could have made the plot a lot more complex if he wanted to and it could have included a sexy female character and made veiled comments about her boobs that would go right over the kids’ heads. He could have done those things, but he chose not to, thus it’s pretty clear that Kirkman just wanted this to be a kids’ book.
Conclusion: If you have a young boy, you should really give this a try. It reminds me of a cartoon as no other comic has in a LONG time. The downside is that there isn’t a lot here (besides the pretty art) to hold an adult’s attention.
Grade: A- (grading this on an appeal to kids scale, if I was grading it on it’s appeal to adults I’d give it a C)
– Dean Stell
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