30 Graphic Novels in 30 Days: Day 3 and 4

Day 3

Super Dinosaur: Written by Robert Kirkman. Art by Jason Howard

Writing: C+. How many times can a writer use the word "awesome". The main character, Derek Dynamo, wouldn't shut up about how cool and smart he was. Also, the main villain was 100% lame.  The evil Max Maximus fell to his knees and cried about never being able to defeat Derek and his pet Dinosaur, Super Dinosaur. Wanna know the biggest disappointment? One villain was named, "The Exile". There was absolutely nothing exciting about him. He went on and on about conquering the world. Like we've never read that before.

Art: B-. The art was the only thing that almost made the comic book anything close to exciting. It reminded me of Ben 10 and its quirky cartoon illustrations. Remember the really cartoons we grew up with: Spider-Man, Batman and Robin, Superman and Batman Beyond. The art definitely wasn't that. The art fit this book well but it reminded me too much of the crappy new cartoons. When did cartoons begin to suck???

Originality: C+. Kirkman's idea for Super Dinosaur is original, fresh and nothing I've ever read before. It's Jurassic Park meets Ben 10. Just because its new, doesn't mean its intriguing.

Overall: C+. This comic book reminds me of those times, when a popstar tries to sing a different type of genre and fails miserably.  I love the image that Image Comics has: independently created, non-superhero comics and very gritty. I now ask, why did Image Comics give the go ahead for this comic? The first time I read it, I stopped 10 pages in. Derek is a little brat with a supersized ego. This book was definitely made for elementary kids, which kinda sucks.When reading Super Dinosaur, I learned a few things. Derek'a ego overwhelms the story and the villains were completely weak and useless.

-Snapper Carr

Day 4

Rex Mundi. Volume 1 Written by Arvid Nelson. Art by Eric J and Jeremy Cox

Writing: B+. It’s definitely safe to say I enjoyed reading this comic. The story is excellent, it’s The Da Vinci Code before there was The Da Vinci Code (did Dan Brown even steal the name Sauniere from this comic?). I really loved the idea of a quest for the Holy Grail, in an alternative version of 1933 Europe where sorcery is commonplace. That sounds like a badass pitch right there. But one problem I had was there was almost no sorcery in this alternative world. I’m sure there’s more to it, but they talk about magic a lot and it only really happens like twice. At the end of each issue there is also a newspaper clipping, sort of like the Watchmen graphic novel has. Sometimes these newspaper clippings are interesting, they actually give us some pertinent information but sometimes they seem like they serve no purpose at all. I don’t know, I could do without them (they remind me of the seemingly pointless notes about“De Selby” in Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman).

Art: A-. The art is really good, the coloring is really good. Absolutely no complaints about the art. Eric J really does a good job capturing emotions in character’s faces and expressions. All of the old artifacts and statues are really brought to life. Again, I’m a little disappointed in the amount of magic and sorcery, but the few glimpses of it are really well done and eye catching, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of that in the further volumes I read.

Originality: A-. As I said earlier, this came out before The Da Vinci Code. Fiction has been so bogged down with The Knights Templar and The Holy Grail in the last ten years but Rex Mundi just barely predates the recent popularity of them in historical fiction. The quest for the Holy Grail isn’t exactly a new theme in fiction (Monty Python, Indiana Jones, etc. etc.) but Rex Mundi does it in a completely different way. I love alternative histories and so far this one is pretty satisfying.

Overall: A-. 
This was a fun, intelligent adventure through the bowels of an alternative Paris with betrayal, love, loss and the Inquisition. It all comes together really well and makes me want to read more. That being said, I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but with every Dark Horse TPB I buy the goddamn cover comes off from the pages. The pages stay together but I have to use my girlfriend’s arts and crafts glue to stick them back to the cover. WTF.

Gabriel Partridge

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