Super Dinosaur #1 (Image)

The creative team behind the blood-spattered Astonishing Wolf-Man changes gears for a super-fun, kid-friendly romp starring a boy genius and his T. rex brother-in-arms.

 

30 pgs., full color; $2.99
(W: Robert Kirkman; A: Jason Howard)
 
When Jeff Goldblum’s character went on his little “life will find a way” rant in Jurassic Park, it’s a safe bet he wasn’t picturing shoulder-mounted missile launchers and a boy genius sidekick. Thankfully, no one told Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard.
 
Derek Dynamo is the boy genius in question, though calling him a sidekick isn’t really fair. Derek is the son of Dr. Dexter Dynamo, the discoverer of the strange new mineral Dynore. Though he’s only a boy, Derek shoulders a lot of the responsibility of stopping his father’s former colleague, the evil Dr. Max Maximus. It’s Derek and his robot Wheels who accompany Super Dinosaur in battles with other mutated dinosaurs like Breakeosaurus and Tricerachops, it’s Derek who has to fix Super Dinosaur’s mechanized armor when it’s on the fritz, and it’s Derek who’s desperately covering for his father’s failing intellect. Now not only does Derek have to deal with fighting Dr. Maximus and a new threat from an undisclosed source, but the Dynamos’ benefactor General Casey is sending a technician to work for the Dynamos, a technician bound to discover that Derek’s father isn’t what he used to be.
 
I am not a big fan of Robert Kirkman’s work, which might make you wonder why I would choose to review Super Dinosaur #1. I’m a little embarrassed to say the reason is no more complicated than the cover. The picture of a T. rex in an armored suit that looks like it was liberated from War Machine’s scrap heap was too alluring to my geek sensibilities to not at least give it a shot. Not to mention that once I learned Super Dinosaur was an all-ages book, I was intrigued about how a guy who made his name writing about a zombie apocalypse would handle a book aimed at kids, particularly considering Super Dinosaur looks potentially a hell of a lot deadlier than some shuffling brain-eaters.
 
Happily, my suspicion that I would find Kirkman’s all-ages writing more satisfying proved true. Kirkman does a fine job narrating through the likable—if less-than-humble—Derek Dynamo. There is a great, goofy, action movie cheese factor to Super Dinosaur’s dialogue in the battle sequences, like a two-page splash of Super Dinosaur charging into battle and yelling “But, good news—I BROUGHT MISSILES!” I enjoyed Super Dinosaur’s characterization quite a bit. While I judged Super Dinosaur #1 by its cover, you can’t judge Super Dinosaur by those scary looking teeth. He prefers pie to cake, but not by much, and when he’s not saving the world he enjoys playing video games with his best friend Derek. And there’s something just freaking awesome about a picture of a T. rex holding a game controller.
 
Jason Howard’s art is dynamic, fun, and his action sequences are oddly appealing. Even though the fights are completely bloodless, there is still an adult sensibility to the sequences. If you were to flip open a copy of Super Dinosaur #1 right to one of the battles between Derek, Super Dinosaur, and the Dino-Men, you would not immediately know it was a book targeted at kids. And if you’ll allow what may come off as a little crotchety, old-man-y, “IN MY DAY” nonsense, it is very refreshing to read and enjoy some fun superhero action that isn’t littered with blood, sweat, spit, severed limbs, etc.
 
Super Dinosaur #1 is good, action-packed fun. If you’re one of the people frustrated that you can’t find superhero comics you feel comfortable buying for your kids, your prayers may have been answered. One of the things I like the most about Super Dinosaur is that I just may have found the perfect comic book to finally introduce my nephews—the older of whom regularly spouts dinosaur-related trivia just because he’s awake and you don’t have a choice—to the world of comic books. I know they’d enjoy reading it, and buying it for them will give me a chance to flip through it beforehand. | Mick Martin
 
Click here for a preview of Super Dinosaur #1, right here at PLAYBACK:stl.
 

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