In Review: Terrible Lizard #2

A dinosaur, its human, and a giant mutant gorilla. It doesn't get better than this for a premise.

The cover: A giant mutant gorilla has one foot on the title character, who looks a little embarrassed by what’s going on, and he holds his hands up (Is that a hand on its left, because something’s not right with that) as he gives a roar that would do Edgar Rice Burroughs proud. Great cover by Drew Moss and Ryan Hill that tells readers exactly what’s in this issue. If you say “Giant dinosaur” you have my attention, but if you add “fighting a giant mutated gorilla” you better get out of my way! Overall grade: A

The story: New to this time line, via a time machine, dinosaur Wrex has been placed in a fenced off pit for safekeeping. Unfortunately that leaves him vulnerable to the giant mutated gorilla that appears, startling Jesse Anders. Seeing the human that he’s imprinted on in danger, Wrex leaps out of his pit to attack the gigantic ape and the fight goes into full swing. The first nine pages of this book are the battle and it’s great. I’m a huge fan of giant monsters fighting and I was more than satisfied at the end of the this tussle. There’s a surprise at the end of the fight that puzzles Jesse’s dad, who reluctantly leaves her in charge of the beast so he can find out what’s going. This is a cue for a great montage of the bond developing between Jesse and Wrex. It’s everything every child would want in a dinosaur playmate. All the expected fun occurs, with the expected laughs, and it’s so enjoyable. Who hasn’t thought about this once in their life? The final three pages have the good doctor coming to a conclusion, leaving Colonel Grayson with only one choice. Writer Cullen Bunn has crafted a terrific action story, childhood dreams brought to life, with sinister implications. This is a winning story. Overall grade: A

The art: Drew Moss is walking the perfect line between terror and joy on this book. Let’s be honest, this about a tyrannosaurus rex that’s bonded with a teenager skater girl. This could be Disney cutesy in the visuals or Bernie Wrightson horror as it all goes horribly wrong. Moss makes this book exciting and dangerous and fun. The opening fight with the ape is the stuff of dreams. The opening splash shows how terrifying the ape is, even before a reader can see how tiny Jesse is. The monstrosity of this monster is negated by the double-page splash of Wrex leaping out of his pen, and the fight between them is fast and ferocious. My favorite panels in this battle include Page 5, panel three; Page 6, panel four; Page 7, panels three (Great visual for motion!) and four; and the face-to-face panels of two and three on Page 8. Great look on Wrex’s face on 13’s third panel. I’m dying to know what song should accompany Pages 16 – 19, as it’s hilarious and cool. I love the look of this book. Overall grade: A  

The colors: Super coloring on this from Ryan Hill. I was surprised to see a bit of violet appearing in the ape’s coat, but it provided a good clashing color with the blue and grey backgrounds; blacks would have taken away much of the line work, so Hill was definitely thinking this through. The fight has got some great coloring, with the sound effects being bright yellows or lime greens, and the backgrounds go blood red when the action get physical. The colors are a key feature to the story when something happens to the gorilla. Page 19 has a sweet sunset that puts a cap on the protagonists’ day. Great stuff. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, opening title and credits, narration and dialogue (same font), and sounds are credited to Crank! He’s doing a great job, and I love the waver that is placed in the gorilla’s roars, making it seem as if the sound is vibrating off the page. Outstanding! Overall grade: A

The final line: A dinosaur, its human, and a giant mutant gorilla. It doesn’t get better than this for a premise. Fun, beautiful, and bright adventure. Great reading for any age. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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