Destroyer 14's Review of DINOSAURS VS. ALIENS
So, why is no one mentioning this? This new graphic novel just came out, and yet there are no reviews out there? Click for my take on the Grant Morrison-written book Dinosaurs vs. Aliens.
Ah, Dinosaurs vs. Aliens. If that's not the coolest title known to man, I don't know what is. I gotta admit that I was pretty hyped, I mean, two of my favorite creatures battling it out?! And no humans to wreck everything? This had potential to be the greatest graphic novel ever. Not to mention the fact that a movie is going to be coming, which could also be one of the greatest movies ever made. But I'm here to talk about the graphic novel written by Grant Morrison. The book had been getting some pretty good hype, back on Free Comic Book Day they had released a short preview of it. Astounding art and it looked like the story was going to be more deep than what you were expecting. In fact, despite the cheesy 60's title, (I love it, but I'm sure the rest of the world would disapprove of such a Syfy-like title) the story is the book's strongest aspect. Dinosaurs vs. Aliens is a masterpiece, with its only flaw being the length, it doesn't justify $20.
Check out the official description from Dynamite and Liquid Comics:
From the minds of acclaimed filmmaker, Barry Sonnenfeld (director of the, “Men In Black” Films) and superstar graphic novel creator, Grant Morrison (Batman, The Invisibles, Action Comics, 18 Days), comes "Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens," from Liquid Comics. The story focuses on a secret world war battle that was never recorded in our history books. When an alien invasion attacks Earth in the age of the dinosaurs, our planet's only saviors are the savage prehistoric beasts which are much more intelligent than humanity has ever imagined.
Alright, let's get that one negative out of the way. The book is $20, which is the average price for a graphic novel. However, you're going to be surprised that it doesn't 'end.' There's going to be a part two. That was really disappointing, you get really into the story, and once you find out that this is just Volume One, you're left feeling a little unsatisfied. It feels like you're buying half a book, it should be at most $15. Graphic novels are usually self contained into one volume, not a continuation like this, with no word on Volume 2 yet. Now, don't think the actual story we're getting isn't good, it's fantastic.
I like the analogy of the whole 'Manifest Destiny' that's portrayed here. The dinosaurs are the Native Americans while the aliens represent the Americans. So this isn't just some mindless Vs. thing that you'll find Saturday nights on the Syfy channel, this story has a lot of heart. I love dinosaurs, so seeing them as a focus is interesting. Of course, it could be difficult story wise I admit for monsters to be the central focus without humans in the picture. This isn't the case here, the dinosaurs hold their own. As you can see by reading the description, these aren't the mindless beasts we're used to seeing in films. They're intellgent creatures, have tribes, and work together. Such emotion is portrayed even though they don't speak at all. It takes a true writer to able to pull off somethiong like that. Let's not count out the alien angle here. They're technically the 'villains.' However, they aren't mindless or just invading for the heck of it. Unlike the aliens we see in today's films, (Ahem to Cowboys and Aliens, Battle: Los Angeles, and Skyline) we're given insight into these extraterrestrials. (It is told mainly from their perspective after all.) Like the dinos, they are a compelling focus, the writing is top notch as we have inside scoop about why they're here.
The art is an extremely high point of the book. It's done by Mukesh Singh, who I gotta say matches up to Jim Lee's amazing work over at Justice League. The landscapes look incredible, and the splash page with two of the dinos looking at a looming UFO in the sky is awe inspiring. While the book isn't over-the-top and in your face, it remains fast-paced but calm at the same time. The book has a calming atmosphere, inviting you into a world without humans. The dinosaur skirmishes were appropriately brutal and how can one not smile at a T-Rex taking down an alien robot with its jaw? The very smart writing through thought boxes really carry the story.
Overall, Dinosaurs vs. Aliens might just be the greatest graphic novel I have ever read. It is unfortunate that I cannot give it a perfect rating becuse of the price drawback. It should have been one standalone book. Not many people are talking about it, so I fear for Volume Two. If it doesn't get made, we're left with part one of a masterpiece. Dinosaurs vs. Aliens does the impossible and manages to be a compelling story just with the title creatures. It's dinosaurs and aliens with amazing art and smart writing. What more can one want?
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