Dinosaurs Attack #1

Story by
Art by
Herb Trimpe, George Freeman, Earl Norem
Colors by
Herb Trimpe, Earl Norem
Letters by
Ron Muns
Cover by

I had no idea there was a trading card series from Topps with this title, but with that discovery it becomes clear what this story should be. Unfortunately, that's exactly what it isn't. Writer Gary Gerani and artist Herb Trimpe attempt to string a storyline through the beads of imagery contained in the trading card set. That assignment is besieged by complications as the creators try too hard to connect the pieces. Additionally, Gerani and Trimpe overdo the creation of backstories for the loose cast of characters, inundating the reader with front-loaded connections and personality quirks instead of working with slow reveals throughout the series.

The story threatens to suffocate the art and bore the reader. Page after page has art squeezed in and around caption boxes and word balloons while readers learn more about the past of Elias Thorne, developer of the Timescan, and his ex-wife and ideological opponent, Helen Chambers. This reduces Trimpe's work to a number of panels featuring talking heads, which makes for a pretty boring read from a book titled "Dinosaurs Attack!"

Trimpe tries to liven up the comic book, but there are just too many words to allow the art to stretch and sell the story. There are twenty-some-odd painted images from the trading card series that appear throughout the issue, giving the story some hiccups. Gerani tries to rationalize the dynamic shift in art style between the paintings and Trimpe's characters that are colored in an over-the-top, only in comics manner. Trimpe never has the opportunity to draw any dinosaurs, which is disappointing, considering the artist has considerable experience with monsters and beasts on the pages of comics.

Dinosaurs in a comic book are enough to get me to pick up the book at the very least. Sometimes the execution succeeds, like "Chronos Commandos" and other times it just falls short. This is on of the occurrences where the story just falls short. While this comic book is intended to have some cheekiness to it, there's very little charm tucked in the cheek. The end result is a story so heavy-handed and ham-fisted that it makes B movies look like high cinema. The upside is that this issue must have gotten all of the set-up out of the way, like introducing the cast, including television reporter Bob Gowen whose interview microphone never leaves his hand. There might be more in the next issue, but "Dinosaurs Attack!" #1 isn't heavy enough on the dinosaurs.

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