One of the constants of comic books is that there are two things you can put on a cover that will sell copies. The first one is primates (specifically gorillas), and the other is dinosaurs. We all love dinosaurs and we all love superheroes, so seeing superheroes fighting dinosaurs is twice as nice. That's why comics have been feeding our need for superhero-on-dinosaur action since the Silver Age.
The recent announcement of Marvel Legacy's prehistoric Avengers got us at CBR thinking about all the times superheroes fought dinosaurs, which is always a good place to be. Of course, if we listed every time dinosaurs showed up in comics, we'd be running a list in the hundreds, so we had to scale it down. We're going to be covering dinosaur-superhero fights, and we mean actual dinosaurs. That means we won't be listing fights with half-human/half-dinosaurs like Sauron. We also will be talking about traditional superheroes of the cape-and-cowl variety, which means heroes who fought dinosaurs like Turok (who wasn't a traditional superhero) won't be on here. There also has to be a fight, so we won't cover moments when the superheroes were just standing around looking at dinosaurs. Let's get ready to rumble!
16 WONDER WOMAN TAMES A T-REX
One of the most memorable dinosaur fights in comics came in 1958 with Wonder Woman #97 (Robert Kanigher, Harry G. Pete). One of the scientists on Themyscira had created what she called an "SOS carrier," a machine that could sense people in trouble anywhere and transport Wonder Woman instantly to them. When the machine went off, Wonder Woman ran inside and came out in the prehistoric era. It turned out the cries for help had come from the past.
She found a group of primitive people being chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex left over from a previous age. She defeated the T-Rex as only she could, by taming it. Using her magic lasso and super-strength, she was able to wear down and tame the creature, leaving it in the hands of the cave-people. That's one way to stop a rampaging dinosaur, and not one often repeated.
15 X-MEN VS KA-ZAR
One of the earliest dinosaur fights was in 1965's X-Men #10 (Stan Lee, Jack Kirby), where the mutant heroes first met Ka-Zar and journeyed into the Savage Land. The Savage Land is a nature preserve created by an alien race millions of years ago in the Antarctic region. Prehistoric creatures and flora were kept alive in a tropical jungle into the present day, providing an easy way for Marvel superheroes and supervillains to run into dinosaurs.
In X-Men #10, the team went to investigate sightings of a sabretooth tiger and caveman that attacked a research team, and found their way into the Savage Land. There, they met the prehistoric Tarzan called Ka-Zar, fought dinosaurs and rescued Marvel Girl from a local tribe. It was fun, and just the beginning.
14 SUPERGIRL VS. BRONTOSAURUS
In Action Comics #259 (Otto Binder, Jim Mooney) in 1959, Supergirl had a problem. No, not kryptonite or Lex Luthor, but boredom. She wanted to fight crime like her cousin, but he had made her promise to keep a low profile, so she decided to go back in time to the prehistoric era.
It didn't take long before she found a brontosaurus attacking and decided to tame it, just like Wonder Woman tamed the T-Rex. By riding on its back, ignoring its attempts to scrape her off, Supergirl was able to turn the dinosaur into her very own pet, which came in handy when she used it to ferry cavemen across a river. Once again, women in comics showed a better way dealing with dinosaurs than tearing them apart.
13 THING VS. T-REX
What's more exciting than superheroes shooting dinosaurs? Superheroes punching dinosaurs. In 1975, Fantastic Four #161 (Roy Thomas, Rich Buckler) centered around an invasion of the mainstream Marvel universe by other dimensions. The Human Torch went to the fifth dimension, only to find it under attack by robots from another world called Earth-721.
At the same time, Thing had travelled to Earth-721, only to find it invaded by Vikings, a pterosaur and a T-Rex from what they believed to be Thing's Earth. Thing managed to fight off the pterosaur and knocked out the T-Rex with one strong punch. The dinosaur turned out to be the least of his problems, since he was immediately hit with knockout gas and captured while Earth-721 prepared to launch an attack on the main Earth.
12 FLASH VS. DINOSAURS
In 1979's The Flash #269 (Cary Bates, Irv Novick), Flash and Kid Flash used their Cosmic Treadmill to go back in time to the age of dinosaurs. As is the standard in these types of stories, they immediately ran into a dinosaur. In this case, it was a plesiosaur and Kid Flash had to beat it senseless with super-speed.
They quickly realized the rest of the dinosaurs were acting way more intelligent than modern animals. Some were using tools like dropping rocks on prey or using vines to pull down trees. The Flashes found out two aliens were boosting the intelligence of the dinosaurs to make them smarter so they would become the dominant lifeforms on Earth. The Flashes stopped the aliens, restoring humans to their rightful place.
11 HULK VS. T-REX
In 1997, Marvel returned to the Savage Land with Incredible Hulk #454 (Peter David, Adam Kubert). The Hulk went to Antarctica and stumbled across a crevice leading to the Savage Land while under attack by soldiers. The crevice was occupied by a T-Rex that died quickly. Once inside, Hulk was hailed as a hero and a god by the local tribe for killing the T-Rex.
When the Hulk-loving tribe tried to attack another tribe led by Ka-Zar, there was a brief fight interrupted by another Tyrannosaurus Rex that chomped on the Hulk for killing its mate. It wasn't much of a fight, though, with the dinosaur just chewing, shaking and throwing the Hulk into the jungle. Yet the two tribes worked together to kill the monster, and formed a new alliance.
10 BLACK PANTHER VS. T-REX
In 1975's Jungle Action #14 (Don McGregor, Billy Graham), Black Panther entered Serpent Valley, a secluded valley in Africa where dinosaurs had survived into modern day. His mortal enemy Erik Killmonger had traveled into the valley to find dinosaurs or other creatures he could use to overthrow T'Challa's kingdom, Wakanda.
During his journey through the valley, Black Panther ran into a sort of Tyrannosaurus Rex with a horn. It tried to trap the hero in its mouth and swallow him, but Black Panther managed to free himself from its jaws and escape. Black Panther didn't just run away, though. No, T'Challa bent a treetop down to the ground, put a rock on it and let go, firing the rock like a slingshot to bash the dinosaur's head in.
9 X-MEN VS. T-REX
Wolverine #69 by Larry Hama and Dwayne Turner brought three of the X-Men back to the prehistoric Savage Land in 1993. Jubilee, Rogue and Wolverine went into the wilderness on a secret mission to search for an old enemy. Within minutes of landing, a huge Tyrannosaurus Rex attacked. Rogue punched the dinosaur, Wolverine stabbed it and Jubilee, well, she popped some fireworks in the T-Rex's face. No sooner did they chase that off than a Triceratops attacked, but it banged up against a force field that the X-Men put up.
The trio went to investigate strange signals, and quickly found a group of barbarians and mutates working together for a mysterious leader that turned out to be Sauron. Jubilee and Rogue were quickly captured, leaving Wolverine to save the day.
8 OLD MAN LOGAN VS. VENOM-REX
How do you make a rampaging Tyrannosaurus Rex more dangerous? You merge it with a Venom symbiote. That's what happened in 2009's Wolverine #70 (Mark Millar, Steve McNiven), part of a story set in a distant future of the Marvel Universe where the supervillains won. When the criminals of the world got together to kill all the superheroes, Wolverine retired and became a simple farmer with a wife and children.
When his farm was threatened, Logan agreed to join an elderly Hawkeye on a cross-country trip to make some extra money. At one point, Logan and Hawkeye's jeep was attacked by a T-Rex released from the Savage Land, but it had been taken over by a Venom symbiote. The creature with its fierce jaws and long tongue was an abomination... and totally awesome.
7 SUPERMAN AND POWER GIRL VS. DINOSAURS
In 2011, Judd Winick and Sami Basri brought Superman and Power Girl against a new set of dinosaurs in Power Girl #22. The two were talking when they rushed to the streets of New York to find dinosaurs, mammoths and pterosaurs rampaging through the city. They, of course, started punching their way through the prehistoric mob, but this fight went a little differently.
For one thing, the two heroes had trouble hearing each other, which (considering they usually can hear a flea cough on the other side of the planet) was a shock. For another, the dinosaurs seemed unusually strong. When the dinosaurs actually made them bleed, they realized the dinosaurs were created by magic, not science, which the Kryptonians are vulnerable to.
6 CAPTAIN AMERICA AND HAWKEYE VS. DINOSAURS
In 2012, Captain America and Hawkeye #630 (Cullen Bunn, Alessandro Vitti) was a team-up between the two heroes in their self-titled series to fight crime and dinosaurs. The two heroes were investigating the disappearance of some environmentalists when they found an experimental energy facility under attack by mutated fossils. It turned out that shapeshifting creatures were controlling dinosaur bones, but when they went into a cave, they found living dinosaurs.
The two fought waves of mutant dinosaurs created by the dinosaur villain Stegron, brought back to life infected by a race of shapeshifting aliens called Dire Wraiths who had mixed with the dinosaur DNA. Stegron even managed to convert Captain America into a dinosaur hybrid, but with some exploding arrows and bouncing an indestructible shield off faces, they managed to stop the creatures.
5 WOLVERINE VS. VELOCIRAPTOR
Savage Wolverine #1, written and drawn by Frank Cho, was the start of a new series that put Wolverine back in the Savage Land. The first few pages showed a S.H.I.E.L.D. vehicle crashing in the jungle, and Wolverine waking up lying on the ground with no idea how he got there. He was immediately attacked by a velociraptor, which was a nice change of pace from the usual Tyrannosaurus Rex-attack that's dominated this list.
It isn't long before Wolverine is in a fight with some natives, and went off to rescue the missing S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. He found the vehicle, along with jungle queen Shanna the She-Devil. The two of them headed out to find a way off the island. Really, it was just about seeing Wolverine stabbing dinosaurs, which is all you need.
4 HULK VS. DEVIL DINOSAUR
Devil Dinosaur, originally created by Jack Kirby in 1978, was the hero of his own comic book for several series and fought many dinosaurs, which could have filled this whole list if it weren't for the fact that he's not technically a superhero. One appearance that definitely puts him on this list is Devil Dinosaur's arrival in 2005 in Marvel Monsters #1 (Tim Sniegoski, Eric Powell).
On prehistoric Earth, two Celestials decided to have a contest over who was stronger, the Small Folk or the Killer Folk. Devil Dinosaur easily beat the Killer-Folk, so the Celestials brought the Hulk to fight him. With some enhancement from the Celestials, it was a knock-down, drag-out fight, full of Hulk repeatedly punching a red dinosaur, and it was awesome.
3 NEXTWAVE VS. DEVIL DINOSAUR
In Nextwave, a team of superheroes assembled to fight against their former employers, the Beyond Corporation. Through the series, they tried to stop Beyond from deploying Unusual Weapons of Mass Destruction like Fin Fang Foom and the Mindless Ones. In 2007's Nextwave #12 (Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen), they found out the Beyond Corporation was led by none other than Devil Dinosaur.
It turned out that Devil Dinosaur created the Beyond Corporation as a way of killing all mammals. Nextwave unloaded on Devil Dinosaur with microwaves, bullets and finally knocked his entire fortress to fall two miles to explode on the ground. This was retconned to be a clone of Devil Dinosaur, but it was still one of the few times superheroes fought a talking dinosaur carrying a giant gun and wearing an ascot.
2 SUPER-FAMILY VS. DINOSAURS
In the DC Rebirth era, Superman is back with his super-dog Krypto and his super-son Superboy, and the three of them made an amazing journey in 2016's Superman #8 (Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Doug Mahnke). Superboy's science experiment transported them all to an island out of sync with time known as Dinosaur Island. As the name implies, the Super-Family ran into a ton of dinosaurs. They fought a flock of pterodactyls, but those aren't technically dinosaurs, so we can skip to issue #9.
In that issue, they fought a gorilla with a cybernetic eye that had control of assorted beasts from the island. Superman and Superboy fought an army of dinosaurs, pterosaurs, giant insects and snakes, all trying to kill them. Thankfully, they managed to escape and get back to the normal world.
1 DEADPOOL VS. VENOM-DINOSAURS
Combining the Venom symbiote with dinosaurs was too good an idea to let go. The combo started in Cable and Deadpool #50 (2004), the series finale by Fabian Nicieza and Reilly Brown. In the previous issue, Deadpool had gone to the Savage Land, and accidentally teleported a crap-ton of dinosaurs to Manhattan. It didn't take long before the dinosaurs combined with the Venom symbiote to create a whole herd of rampaging prehistoric beasts.
With their enhanced speed, strength, wall-crawling and tentacles, the Venom dinosaurs spread chaos throughout Manhattan. We got to see Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman, Deadpool and the Fantastic Four all fighting Tyrannosaurus Rexes, triceratops, apatosaurus, pterosaurs, velociraptors and a gaggle of other monstrous creations in one of the greatest dinosaur fights in comic book history.
What's your favorite superhero/dinosaur fight? Let us know in the comments!