by Robert Kirkman (writer), Jason Howard (artist & colorist), and Rus Wooton (letterer)
The Story: Derek Dynamo tells of the origins of his buddy SD, the creation of SD’s harness, the discovery of Inner Earth, and the blossoming of Max Maximus’ villainous tendencies.
The Review: I’ll admit, comic books weren’t a huge part of my childhood. That said, I watched a lot of cartoons. Super Dinosaur is totally something I would’ve watched religiously.
That said, this is a tough issue to grade. As an actual comic book, it isn’t very good. It’s basically an atomic bomb of exposition. The idea of “showing not telling” is completely thrown out the window and finds itself buried by heaps of text. This isn’t a master class on comic book storytelling, to be sure.
Yet, I actually liked this issue more than I disliked it, and I think that’s testament to how fun Kirkman and Howard’s world and characters are. I skipped the first issue of Super Dinosaur, but I liked what I saw here enough to give #2 a go. The characters are just so likable and the world is just so crazy, the sort of crazy that only a wide-eyed kid could dream up. Indeed, this almost read’s like a kid’s fantasy. There’s an enthusiasm, life, and, well, ridiculousness here that is impossible not to grin at. With characters named “Super Dinosaur” and “Max Maximus” there’s a sense of gleeful abandon that’s infectious.
More than that, Kirkman once again shows, albeit in a very different context this time around, that he excels at writing kids. Derek sounds like an actual kid, and his youth and vibrance isn’t forced at all.
Super Dinosaur himself is also straight up comedy. I love how Howard draws him, which adds a great deal to the laughs. Howard’s style is beautiful throughout the comic, with his cartoony, angular style. However, despite this style, he draws SD in a straight-up realistic format. So basically….you have an actual T-Rex running around. Like much in this book, it looks so ridiculous that it works. Seeing young SD is playing with kids’ toys is only more hilarious. Frankly, seeing him deliver lines, speaking like another kid, but his face only vaguely expressive due to the fact that he’s a bloody T-Rex, only makes for more laughs.
There’s also a good number of extras in this one, with little bios provided at the end of the issue for all the major players, both good and bad. The cast’s composition is where I really, really get fond memories for the cartoon’s of my childhood; I love how the bad guy has a coterie of goons, each of them individually named and based on a different dinosaur.
Conclusion: As an actual comic book, this, frankly, kind of sucks. But the world and the characters are so awesome that I actually enjoyed it and wanted more. I’m not quite sure how that works, but frankly, that’s how I feel about much in this comic, and yet, work it does.