Story by Bob Shreck
Art by Nate Van Dyne
Covers by Tom Yates & Frank Miller
$3.99 / 32 Pages / Color
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.
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.