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Review


Jurassic Park #1 

Reviewed by Patrick Hayes aka PatBorg 

The covers: IDW provides four different covers to collectors.  Cover A is drawn by Tom Yeates with colors by Jamie Grant.  It's got the issue's featured dino giving a preview of closing action.  This is what you want to see dinosaurs doing: running amok in environments where they don't belong.  It's good.  Cover B is by Frank Miller with coloring by Dave Stewart.  It's a thematic cover compared to A since there's no T-rex on the loose inside.  The bright coloring also makes it much more dramatic than the A.  Cover R(etailer)I(ncentive)-A and B are the same as the regular A and B, just without any writing on them; they are "pure" art.  If like the regs, you'll like the RIs.  My only beef is an editorial choice: why is the logo so off center?  It takes away from the regs.  Overall grades: A an A-, B an A+, RI-A an A-, and RI-B an A+. 

The story: Bob Schreck is setting up a lot of pieces before getting to some dino action.  "This takes place 13 years after the events in the first Jurassic Park motion picture..." proclaims the inside cover, yet the first three words that greets the reader on Page 1 are "Two years ago".   This could have been covered by Lex's dialogue on Page 4.  Anyhoo, "Two years ago" Tim (from the first film) is in D.C. making unspecified plans with an unknown man.  The pair are doing something in 24 months involving dinosaurs.  Mr. "Unknown" is in it for the profit, while Tim's not, though what his motivations are remain unknown in this issue.  Flash to two years later (so this is 2006?) and his sister Lex is addressing the U.N. to continue multi-national funding to keep the dino islands secure.  I enjoyed Lex's closer to the assembly.  I try not to spoil anything past Page 5, so I'm going to be a little vague.  Beginning on Page 6 the story begins to go into "bad men" territory.  You know these men at this location are going to be the cause of the series' troubles.  Pages 8 and 9, did we really need this sequence?  I know it furthers Lex's character, but a whole page and a half?  Page 10 introduces an authority figure who's going to be a player in this adventure, as is the guard atop Page 11.  Page 13 re-introduces some things that ended the third movie, but then they're never seen again.  This could have been the focus for the entire series.  Pages 14 and 15 introduce some other dinos and someone who's going to go down really hard later on.  Page 16 introduces another who, due to the nature of his job, probably will go down just as hard.  Pages 18 through 22 have the break out readers will have been waiting for.  Coyotes and cows begin the carnage.  The first human casualty is left unresolved until Issue 2.  Schreck's setting up the story that supports the chaos that will inevitable occur, so I can give the slow beginning some leeway.  However, this build up was really rote.  It seemed like I was watching the newest entry in a horror series: This guy will die hard; that guy will put up a fight; etc.  Is this franchise already a cliche, or is this all it can offer due to its nature?  You know people have to be put in harm's way eventually, but these people, this way?  Overall grade: B 

The art: I'm not familar with Nate Van Dyke's work but I'm liking what I'm seeing.  He's got a very thin line that reminds me of Bill Sienkiewicz on his Moon Knight days.  His Lex is sexy, his Tim is suitably aged, yet youthful.  In fact, all of his characters are so distinctive you don't need their names to identify them, which is the mark of a good artist who's not reliant on a colorful costume or uniform.  But does Professor Backer have to look like Dr. Robert Burke from the second film?  I got confused and thought the story had shifted in time.  Van Dyke's backgrounds go from detailed to empty, relying on the colorist to fill in the space.  This doesn't bother me because it works.  The big question is how are his dinosaurs?  His herbivores are better than his carnivores only because me see more of them more clearly.  A promising start.  Overall grade: A- 

The colors: Jamie Grant does a superb job on this comic.  I loved his decision to go with an orange skyline rather than a blue on the first two pages.  I also liked his blood red choice for the bottom three panels of Page 18.  His coloring provides depth to characters' faces, especially Lex.  If it wasn't for Grant she'd have no bridge for her nose.  My favorite job was on the last panel on Page 10; made it all the more intense and real.  And I love the multicolored sound effects!  I'm always a fan of that.  Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: One of the joys of comic book reading is the sound effects.  Chris Mowry not only provides dialogue but the most effects I've read in an IDW comic.  There's a voice over a computer modem, fire, dino expressions, phones, lettuce (don't ask), trucks, jets, tasers, and Pages 19 through 22--thank you!  This is a series that demands these sounds!  Overall grade: A+ 

The final line: It's a beginning.  Maybe I had my hopes too high, but I wanted more from the story, but it's only the beginning.  Things are getting set up, and I will definitely be back for the next issue.  Overall grade: A-  

 

Jurassic Park Episode Studies