Dinosaur Week 2 - Age of Reptiles 2: It's a Draw!

Last year's Dinosaur Week opened with a review of Age of Reptiles (subtitle: Tribal Warfare), a comic book mini-series by Ricardo Delgado, so it's only natural that we now talk about its sequel, Age of Reptiles: The Hunt. Once again, Delgado plunges us into his completely silent version of prehistory, this time with a 5-issue struggle between a pack of Ceratosaurus and a young Allosaurus. As before, the comic plays a little fast and loose with what dinosaurs live in the same era, makes the dinosaurs emote and pulls off some crazy high-octane action. But by reducing the number of characters involved in the fighting, it achieves a certain zen composition where Tribal Warfare felt cluttered. The Hunt is all open spaces. I'd also say the coloring of the beasts is far better done, less garish.

The story starts with mama Allosaurus falling before the Ceratosaurus and baby managing to get away. It's headlong chase that somehow turns into one of Terry Gilliam's Monty Python cartoons as the dinos fall into a cave, from the cave to a stream, the stream to a canyon...
...and the canyon to a lost valley. The series is full of one and two-page spreads (as if it wasn't a short read already), but regardless of the page count they eat up, they are gorgeous.
The series does take a random turn in issues 3 and 4 as the focus switches to reptiles of the air and later a tidal wave overwhelming the valley, and our protagonists tend to disappear completely from the narrative. That's too bad, and yet, what are we reading Age of Reptiles for if not for AS MANY DINOSAURS AS POSSIBLE?
Still, a lot of spreads featuring clouds and tiny pterosaurs. Like I said: Zen.

We do get our final battle eventually, don't worry. Delgado's Ceratosaurus have a chameleon's skin, which probably isn't a scientific fact. And if there's one this our Allosaurus knows, it's its science.
WHACK! You ain't invisible sucka!

I know I spoiled the end of Tribal Warfare, but I won't do the same here. There IS a small twist at the end, but it's far more subtle - and hopeful! - than the first series'.

Overall, while Tribal Warfare was an eye-opening experience, The Hunt, despite its digressions, is the clearer, more mature story. and being slightly less gory than Tribal Warfare (though there is still some), probably the better gift for that young boy or girl fascinated by all things related to the Thunder Lizards. It's out in trade from Dark Horse.

Stroll of the Day
Walking with... Stegosaurus
Inhabitants of the valley, they weren't quite expecting all those predators to rain down on their heads. Time to flush those back plates with blood!


FoldedSoup said...

I'm pretty sure that the "stalking the Stegosaur in the forest" 2-panel spread in issue 3(?) will be the basis for my next tattoo.

Dang, but Delgado draws some purty dinosaurs.

Siskoid said...

That he does. And expressive too.

Anonymous said...

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I don't like too much the graphics utilized fro this mini comic book, however the stories and information it contains, it's really good. I definiely7 stayed so pleased.
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