Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

SUPER DINOSAUR by Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard

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Super Dinosaur is a treat for kids and the comics-loving adults who choose never to grow up. When I first saw the cover for the new comic, I’ll admit I had my doubts. The guy who gave us such serious comics worlds as The Walking Dead, Thief of Thieves, and Invincible couldn’t possibly create something light-hearted. Could he?

Well, he did. Derek Dynamo (gotta tell you, that name turned me off for a little while, but it’s a cool name for a kid’s hero and I gradually warmed to it) and his dino friend, Super Dinosaur (yeah, Derek named him) are locked in constant battle with Max Maximus.

The core of the story might be the friendship between Derek and Super Dinosaur, but the father/son relationship is pretty awesome as well. It reminded me of the old Hanna-Barbera television series, Jonny Quest. But the roles get reversed here, because for reasons that are explained, Derek has to take care of his dad.

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The concept looks kind of lame on the surface to comic book fans who tend to be a little snobbish, but Kirkman goes right after the kid’s heart that lurks inside every reader. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a dinosaur friend? Especially if he played video games too?

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Kirkman marches into his first issue and throws problems and changes everywhere. Not only are the Dynamos up against their arch-nemesis, but the government is leaning on them for new stuff, and even sends in a family of techs to help Derek and his dad speed up their research. In no time at all, these new techs are adding to Super Dinosaur’s arsenal.

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It’s evident that Kirkman believes a toy line can spring out of this series, because the techs whip up new combat suits for Super Dinosaur at the drop of a hat. I know that the changes might be mercenary in intent (gotta drive up the toy sales with new toys), but the new tech also lends itself to the series and the characters. This is what they do, and Super Dinosaur’s equipment does take a beating.

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Derek is no slouch in the action department either. He has his own robot sidekick who deploys various abilities when they’re in battle. Which, of course, necessitates new toys. Still, I’m all for these. The kids would love them if that happens, and they provide for great visuals on the pages.

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The battles are plenty and the artist, Jason Howard, makes them play BIG across the pages. Despite the cartoony visuals and colors, the action is intense and there are lots of emotions.

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And Kirkman isn’t afraid to go REALLY HUGE by whipping up his own throwdown to the Transformers, going after their market as well with his big powersuits for Derek and Super Dinosaur.

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The super powersuits even join together to make an even larger unit!

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I’m really enjoying Super Dinosaur, even though my 16 year old frowns at me doubtfully as I recommend the comics to him. But Super Dinosaur is just great fun, a fantasy that opens up forgotten worlds powered by WHAT-IF.

Still, even in the midst of that, Kirkman throws emotional turmoil that’s pretty big too. No one ever knows what happened to Jonny Quest’s mom, or to the parents of some of the other kid heroes with missing parents, but Kirkman dangles that thread at the end of this first graphic novel.

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I’m definitely picking up the next volume of Super Dinosaur’s adventures.

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