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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
"The Devils in the Desert" Part 1
Jurassic Park: The Devils in the Desert #1 (IDW)
Story and Art by John Byrne
Cover by John Byrne

Cattle and people begin turning up mutilated near a small desert town.

Read the story summary of this issue at Jurassic Park Legacy

Read a review of this issue by Patrick Hayes on PopApostle

Didja Know?

The covers of all four issues of the series feature a layover on the art of a carnivorous dinosaur's teeth, as if we are seeing the POV looking out from inside the creature's mouth, each time at its next victim. The same layover is used over the art on each issue, though flipped from left to right on issues 2 and 3.

Didja Notice? 

On page 1, young Tyler Franklin reports some cattle mutilations to the local sheriff. Cattle mutilations are the often unexplained killing and mutilation of livestock (usually cattle, but some sheep and horse mutilations are also known to have occurred). Despite the strange circumstances and lack of evidence in the immediate surroundings, skeptics often attribute mutilations to natural decomposition or predators, while others believe the high strangeness points to UFOs, government experiments, or cults.

On page 2, Tyler comments on how his luddite father won't let his family have a cell phone, convinced they cause brain cancer. Although many technophobes have been guessing cell phones are harmful since they were invented, it was only in May of 2011 that the World Health Organization announced the results of their study (which was after this issue of JP was published) that cell phone usage was "possibly carcinogenic to humans."

On page 6, Deputy Jackson remarks that wolves or cougars would've run parallel to the cattle herd in their chase, not mixing up inside it as it seems here. This is true of how most large modern predators behave when chasing a herd of large prey; this helps to prevent the predator from getting trampled in the stampede. This suggests the carnosaurs are behaving differently for whatever reason (as it turns out at the end of the issue, because the carnivores are airborne Pteranodons).

Arriving in town on page 11, Agent Kowalski sarcastically says, "Well, welcome to Mayberry. Where do we go first? Floyd's barber shop, or see if we can score some of Aunt Bea's apple pie?" This is a reference to the Andy Griffith Show, a sitcom about a small town sheriff that aired on CBS from 1960-1968. In the series, Mayberry is the name of the town, Floyd is the sheriff's barber friend, and Aunt Bea is his aunt, who lives with the widower sheriff and his young son, Opie.

One of the FBI agents is named Noah Harding. There does not appear to be any relation to Dr. Gerry Harding, the Jurassic Park veterinarian in Jurassic Park, or his daughter Dr. Sarah Harding, a researcher on Isla Sorna in The Lost World.

Also on page 11, FBI Agents Harding and Kowalski introduce themselves to the sheriff, explaining they're sorry to have to intrude on the case but since Eddie Franklin's body was found across the state line, it becomes a federal case. This exchange is more for the reader's benefit than the sheriff's, since all U.S. law enforcement officials are already well-aware of this aspect of the FBI.

The two FBI agents appear to drive a modified, black-painted military Humvee.

On page 13, panel 1, we see what may be a soaptree yucca in the desert foreground. If so, it would tend to indicate a setting in Arizona, New Mexico, or west Texas. A cactus on page 16, panel 1, looks similar to a cholla, possibly reinforcing the southwest setting.

The aircraft tail numbers used on the helicopter and airplane seen in this issue do not appear to follow the standardized registration nomenclature for aircraft in the U.S. and probably are not meant to indicate foreign registration either. Most likely, author Byrne made them up for the story.

On page 19, one of the male hikers calls another a "big girl's blouse". This is a British idiom for someone failing to show masculine characteristics. We're told in the following issue that the group of hikers is from England and it's shown here by other phrases they use, like "bloody" ("these hills are too bloody steep") and "pong" (a British term for odor). 

At the end of the story, we are introduced to the Pteranodons. The ones here are depicted with small, sharp teeth, but real Pteranodons did not have any. Dr. Alvarez comments, in the following issue, on this difference between the real and genetically modified ones they discover in this story. It seems likely that John Byrne read Flyers, in which the genetically modified Pteranodons are described as having teeth, and incorporated the element into his story.

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