High Five! Comics

Jurassic Park #1: My Childhood’s Riding on This One

Posted on: June 24, 2010

So, remember in October 2009 when Maggie and I put together that post about which licensed properties we’d like to see made into comics? Apparently, the comics gods have been paying attention. Last week, we were ecstatic when BOOM’s Darkwing Duck: The Duck Knight Returns popped up on shelves. Lo and behold, this week I wander into my local shop to be  surprised by an IDW Jurassic Park book. Holy shit, inner child. We’ve hit paydirt!

Or so I thought. You see, there is only so much you can do with a franchise like Jurassic Park. The first novel/movie is about the whole Isla Nublar theme park thing, the second one is about evil corporations trying to open a theme park of their own with the dinosaurs on Isla Sorna, and the third is about William H. Macy’s moustache accidentally wandering onto Isla Sorna. Other than those three plots, is there really much you can do that isn’t just a rehash of one of the old ideas?

Turns out, no. No there isn’t. Jurassic Park: Redemption takes place 13 years after the first movie. John Hammond is dead and has left his fortune to Lex and Tim. While Lex uses her share to found an organic vegetable company in Costa Rica and keep people off of Isla Sorna and Isla Nublar, Tim tries to redeem his grandfather by opening an all-herbavore version of Jurassic Park. I think? This book cuts back and forth from scene to scene so fast, I can’t figure out what’s happening. Meanwhile, near Dinosaur Valley State Park, Dr. Henry Wu is breeding a bunch of other dinosaurs for another theme park run by some mysterious shadowy figure (because people don’t fucking learn).

While writer Bob Schreck has been in the industry for a long while, he’s only ever done work as either an editor (most notably on All-Star Superman) or art director at Comico. Pair this with the fact that artist Nate Van Dyke is best known for drawings of chimps, concept art for the 2009 Iron Man video game, and a few strips for Heavy Metal, and you see that this book is essentially being helmed by people who haven’t really done this kind of thing before.

As with a lot of first issues, this seems to just be setting things up for later and, I have to admit, this book could have a lot of potential. Ignore the fact that its main characters are the two most annoying characters from the franchise (as I said in the aforementioned post, “Nobody cares what happened to Lex”). Ignore that the only thing IDW seems to be excited about is its somewhat impressive roster of cover artists (Frank Miller, Arthur Adams, Paul Pope, Bernie Wrightson, and William Stout). It’s a book about dinosaurs, something that is nigh impossible to fuck up for somebody who grew up with the Jurassic Park franchise. Besides, it could be worse. It could be that terrible mid-90’s Topps run (available in trade form from IDW soon, no joke).

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