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Never Say “What Could Possibly Go Wrong This Time?”: Jurassic Park: Redemption #1 [Review]

NEVER SAY “WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG THIS TIME?” — JURASSIC PARK: REDEMPTION 1

The central conflict of the first “Jurassic Park” film was pitting man against his own desire to use science to play God. The central conflict of each subsequent return to the Jurassic Park franchise has been pitting man against his own better judgment not to keep going back to an island full of dinosaurs who find people to be either a squishable nuisance or a tasty snack. And so with three films done, the most recent in the summer of 2001, the franchise now makes a foray into comics. And I have to wonder, how stupid are these people to keep wandering back to the island of enormous man-eating dinosaurs?

Listen, fictional crazy scientist characters, I know you think dinosaurs are awesome. I’m not going to tell you they’re not, because I too once was a child with a lot of free time on my hands and so, like most children of my age at the time, I used that as an opportunity to memorize and re-memorize every possible fact I could about dinosaurs. For all I knew, they were bound to make a comeback any time and my knowledge of how to correctly pronounce Deinonychus and Compsognathus would suddenly have been a real valuable asset on the job market. Although admittedly I would have been competing with a lot of other over-qualified eight year-olds for jobs at what I assume would have been flourishing dino-zoos.

But the thing is, if you’ve seen expedition after expedition of excited paleontologists meet ever more gruesome deaths caused by increasingly larger and more fearsome dinosaurs, maybe it’s not such a good idea to put yourself in a position to be on the exciting cutting edge of dinosaur studies. Particularly when that cutting edge is attached to the claw on the big toe of a velociraptor and is very quickly approaching your stomach.
And yet as IDW’s new “Jurassic Park: Redemption” series opens, that’s exactly what’s happening, again. A shadowy conspiracy is bringing dinosaurs in off the island for some as yet unrevealed nefarious purpose. Now, I’m hoping their ultimate goal is to attach complicated weapons platforms to the dinosaurs, because that’s about as close as we’re ever likely to come to a re-launch of a “Dino-Riders” comic. Somehow I doubt this will be the case.

Embroiled in this conspiracy are brother and sister Tim and Alexa Murphy, whom you may remember as the two children who survived the first movie because Hollywood was and still is too big a coward to show teenagers being eaten alive by velociraptors. Now grown to their twenties, Alexa is president of an organic food supplier spun off from her grandfather’s corporation as well as a vocal supporter of the viewpoint that the islands occupied by dinosaurs should be off limits to all. Her brother outwardly seems to agree, while secretly working with the group seeking to remove dinosaurs from the island. He makes sure the people he’s working with promise that this time, nothing will go wrong.

So it’s not surprising that very quickly things go wrong. After promising Tim they’ll only bring herbivores, a carnivorous Ceratosaurus quickly escapes from the holding facilities and begins to roam the Texas countryside. I want to personally applaud artist Nate Van Dyke for making the creature’s first human victim bear an unmistakable resemblance to video game mascot Mario, if Mario were an underpaid migrant worker who drove trucks full of dino-bite-sized cattle.

That was the highlight of the book for me. The rest of the issue? It’s nothing special, unfortunately. The insertion of the shadow cabal with its secret dinosaur plots is an odd addition to the series, moving away from the survival action tone that’s been the norm for the films. I’d imagine that die-hard fans of “Jurassic Park” will be happy to revisit the world, but be sure to bring along all your fond memories to supplement the book. And it probably wouldn’t hurt to hum John Williams’ soundtrack to yourself as you’re reading.

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