Review: Dinosaurs Attack! #1

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They’re BACK!  25 years after Topps’ original DINOSAURS ATTACKS! trading cards took a bite out of candy counter sales, the original Eclipse graphic novel written by DA creator Gary Gerani returns, this time released in its entirety!  With pencils by Herb (G.I. JOE) Trimpe and paintings by veteran illustrator Earl Norem, the entire story will be released as five comic books, with all the blood-curdling trimmings.  So put world-conquering Martians aside for a bit and relish the time-tilted melodrama and wild humor of DINOSAURS ATTACK! — the ultimate nightmare is now a reality from IDW!

dino coverThe original graphic novel based on Topps Dinosaur Attacks! trading cards is being recollected and finished after 25 years. The original story by Gary Gerani with art by Herb Trimpe, painting by Earl Norem, finishes by George Freeman, and lettering by Ron Muns has returned from the far-off world of the 1980s to take a bite of the comic book world once again. So is now a good time for the dinosaurs to return, or should they have been lost to the ages?

The story centers on the impending test of the impressive Timescan procedure by Prof. Elias Thorne on the planet Earth. The Timescan device is housed in an orbiting space station high above Earth’s orbit. The device scans a planet, planetoid, or moon and provides a look at the object’s history. The device scanned the moon and gave scientists a look in to the moon’s origins and development. Now Thorne wants to scan the Earth and learn everything there is to know about our home planet. Once scanned, the history of Earth can be viewed as if it were a movie. Thorne sets his sights on looking at the time of dinosaurs first. Before he can scan the Earth, he has to overcome a few obstacles. The major thing standing in his way is the second leading scientist in his field, and his ex-wife, Helen Chambers. She is en route to the space station on the same flights as a group of newsmen who are covering Prof. Thorne’s presentation. She plans to throw a wrench in the works and convince the U.N. delegates that they cannot scan the Earth because they have no idea what could happen. The story focuses on how Thorne wants to scan the Earth and how his ex-wife is trying to stop him. Add in Thorne’s tests that have given him low-level telekinetic abilities and the weird presence that has been haunting him as a result, and you can imagine how things go wrong when the test is delayed. Things happen and the machine is fired up. What happens when they try to look into prehistoric times? Well if you read the title of the comic, you can figure it out.

Dinosaurs Attack! didn’t catch on like Topps’ Mars Attacks!, but the comic book is just as fun as the ones about those pesky Martians. Gerani takes every B-movie trope and cliché and uses them to craft a story of science gone wrong. It’s sci-fi and corny, but that’s what it’s supposed to be and it’s more fun because of it. The dinosaurs don’t come in until the end, but when they appear (inaccurate depictions aside), they appear in style. It’s wild, it’s crazy, and it’s just a lot of 80s fun. The art is stellar. 80s comics showing space and sci-fi elements have a very distinct style. Trimple’s art gives us the great distinct 80s style outer space stations and ships. Norem’s paintings when the dinosaurs come back are fantastic. The art changes when the dinos attack, and its painted horror story depictions of the type of scenes you would see on the cards the story is based on.

Bottom Line: IDW couldn’t have picked a better time for dinosaurs to attack. With Pacific Rim leaving people clamoring for giant monsters attacking, Dinosaurs Attack! steps in to give us what we want. This is big 80s, cheesy, B-movie, sci-fi done right. 4/5

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