REVIEW: Jurassic Park Redemption #1

He was probably a lawyer. Jurassic Park Redemption #1

Story by Bob Shreck

Art by Nate Van Dyne

Covers by Tom Yates & Frank Miller

$3.99 / 32 Pages / Color

IDW Publishing

 

I’ve avoided doing a “this is who I am” kind of post because that’d be dull and no one cares; however, who I am is relevant to this post, for I am a paleontologist. I also love Jurassic Park. The inaccuracies don’t detract from how much fun that movie is. Jurassic Park Redemption #1 is IDW’s attempt to take us back to this lost world and find out just what happened after Dr. Hammond himself went extinct.

A lot of this first issue is setup because there are familiar faces to be seen and established. We see the adult versions of Tim and Lex Murphy (the kids who should have been food) plus Dr. Burke, originally from the sequel film The Lost World (aka Dr. Robert Bakker, a real paleontologist who consulted on the movies). His character showing up confirms that the sequels did occur even if the book subtly ignores them by stating the comic occurs 13 years after the original movie.

Tim is running the old company, and seems to be involved in some shady dealings. Lex is doing something agricultural and by every account seems to be a hero but it is impossible for an avid comic reader to see the word Lexxcrops and not immediately go to Lexcorp. So she’s really shooting herself in the foot with that name. Dr. Burke, who still dresses like a field paleontologist and hasn’t aged a day, is now a literal underground geneticist. I’d be credulous of the career change but 13 years is enough time for another PhD or two, so why not? There’s an off-hand comment about Dr. Grant having some superior genetic technique too, so I guess there must have been some sort of post-crisis correspondence course to get these rugged field scientists down with the molecular biology (shades of grey to a laymen but worlds apart if you happened to be a biologist).

Lex’s goal, aside from running a multinational organization, is trying to keep everything on the island on the island and everyone else off it, having no fun whatsoever, so we already know she’s going to lose. The world at large knows there’s a piece of land off the coast of Costa Rica full of dinosaurs, you really think the UN could prevent someone from exploiting it somehow? If that thing were real I’d be in a kayak paddling away from the Osa Peninsula right now. You just can’t stop crazy, and too many people would be crazy for dinosaurs.

Yup, that's awesome.
During the course of the issue we learn that someone is keeping a corral of dinosaurs, but to what end is unknown. Fighter planes unsuccessfully engage pterodactyls but that may have just been for the glory of that one shot. And a carnotaur escapes from somewhere and starts biting everything in sight, because it wouldn’t be a JP story without some of that and I am completely ok with that.

The art is where this book leaves me a bit wanting. The story-telling is fine but it’s a lot of talking heads and character establishing, important steps to be sure but a bit dry. Where this art should knock your socks off, the scenes with actual dinosaurs, it does do a good job. Yet it’s possible I’m biased beyond repair at this point and I am just noticing parts of the anatomy no one else should care about. I then subconsciously nitpick without really intending to. I think the problem is in the movie you’re seeing Hollywood’s best attempt at putting honest-to-goodness dinosaurs next to human actors and it works. Even today those effects hold up. It may just not be possible for drawings to have that same level of impact. At the same time, those moments are where the art shines and gets very dynamic and fun.

This issue opened up a lot of questions, which is exactly what you want a first issue to do, but I worry that it might be a bit too scattered for someone not pretty intimately familiar with the Jurassic Park universe. I’ve read the books, seen the movie many times (even as a teaching tool for a university level course) and have a general love of the subject matter but at time even I really had to think if this was a character I knew or one whom was new. My feeling is that with this establishing of the world out of the way the rest of the series can flow nicely and really showcase the art of dinosaurs wrecking stuff. That’s what it’s really all about.

 

Story: 3          Art: 3          Overall: 3

 


Ryan Haupt managed to write this entire review without once mentioning either the fact that pterodatycls aren't dinosaurs or that many of these species did not live in the Jurassic period. We think he'd like you to know that.

Comments

  1. Great review Ryan. 

  2. CatEyedFox CatEyedFox says:

      I think the subconscious nitpicking is a problem when you’re a specialist confronted with your specialty in an entertainment setting. Like every time Bones bitches about psychology I’m grinding my teeth because the theories she’s talking about are so old and irrelevant beyond a historical interest, and I end up being all crabby with the show until the next awesome science thing shows up.  Or when the Roman cavalry has stirrups.

  3. cromulent cromulent says:

    CHAKA CHAKA CHAKA!

  4. Jdyeakel says:

    Ahhh… Nice article, Ryan… I must point out: that pterosaur is missing the all important ‘pteroid bone’ which would lead to turbulence behind the wing, midair stall, and overall not-goodness… I say, if you’re gonna do a Dino comic, you’ve gotta be a supreme Dino nerd about it… Like this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vSY_rB928c

  5. Ali Colluccio WonderAli (@WonderAli) says:

    Ryan – you’re an honest to goodness, digging for dinosaur bones paleontologist? like for real? ’cause that would be the coolest thing ever.

  6. akamuu akamuu says:

    I’m more of a comic fan than a dinosaur fan, and was kind of let down with dinosaurs not being scary looking.  I also didn’t think they looked real, not from a scientific perspective, but from a general reader perspective.

    I don’t know if you saw this Chicago stand-up comedian’s take on dinosaurs, but if you haven’t, it’s hilarious: http://www.todaysbigthing.com/2010/06/22.

  7. Ryan Haupt Haupt (@haupt) says:

    @jdyeakel – That’s exactly the kinda talk I was trying to avoid, good sir!

    @WonderAli – Mammal bones instead of dinosaur bones, but yeah. Did you think this picture was staged? Well it aint. I own that hat, but I have bought new boots since then.

  8. English says:

    I would love to see the back story of the Paleontologist going back for their Mol. Bio. degrees. The kids would would laugh and snicker as the older gentlemen made wild claims about seeing real Dinosaurs. "Sure old man, sure". 

    also @Haupt if pterodactyls are not dinosaurs then what are they? and are they related to modern dinosaurs I.e. Birds?

  9. Ryan Haupt Haupt (@haupt) says:

    @English – Oh man, what a loaded question. I am likely to get bogged down in cladistics if I’m not very careful.

    Pterodactyls (winged-finger) typically refer to a genus with Pterosauria (winged-lizard). Pterosaurs are a sister clade of Dinosauria, both within the larger group Archosauria which includes all dinosaurs, pterosaurs, birds, crocodiles/alligators and stuff like that. So pterosaurs are their own distinct and diverse group of reptiles that lived at the same time as dinosaurs.

    Birds are actually a subgroup of dinosaurs. Birds evolved from the theropods (which actually means ‘beast-foot’ like a mammal, it gets confusing) which are saurischians (meaning "lizard-hipped" as opposed to other big group of dinos Ornithischia which means "bird-hipped", see confusing, right?). Theropods include all the meat eating dinosaurs and birds came out of the same sub-group as Velociraptors and similar dinosaurs.

    Feathers probably evolved as a way to keep young warm and for color display, but that’s a whole other story.

    So the simple answer is no, pterodactyls are less related to birds than they would be to most other dinosaurs. Although a T-Rex probably has more in common with a goose than a Stegosaur. Let that one break your brain.

  10. @Haupt. You are such, a nerd. :P

  11. Paul Montgomery PaulMontgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    The professor who taught my dinosaur class in college beat it into us early on that there were no flying or aquatic dinosaurs, that they were indeed separate. "The toys lied to you. Everything you think you know about dinosaurs is a LIE!" 

    And then his wife went into labor and his grad students taught 75% of the remaining classes.

    It was really, really tough. Cumulative exams with multiple 100+ page pdf study guides. I think I got a B.  

  12. @Haupt I took a course called dinosaurs in my undergrad (loved it!) and the fact that birds came from saurichians and not “bird hipped” ornithischians always confused the hell out of me!

  13. Paul Montgomery PaulMontgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Yeah, I always thought that was mondo lame too. 

  14. @paul you’re from the Philly area right? Where did u do ur undergrad?

  15. Paul Montgomery PaulMontgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Drexel. 

  16. Ryan Haupt Haupt (@haupt) says:

    @Jumping Jupiter – You have no idea how hard it was to keep my answer even that short. Seriously, it was painful. Dinosaur cladistics are built into my brain at this point. The dinosaur class I mention in the article was taught this past quarter by the previous commenter @jdyeakel, hence his extreme nerditude.

  17. @Paul cool I did my undergrad at kutztown and grad at Lehigh

  18. Ali Colluccio WonderAli (@WonderAli) says:

    Stegosaur is totally my favorite dinosaur.