Ricardo Delgado’s tale of saurian loners comes to a climactic finish in Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians #4. Is it good?
Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians #4 (Dark Horse Comics)
Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians #4 finally brings the conflict between the Spinosaurus and the bull Paralititan to a close. This issue is entirely focused on that conflict, which draws the attention of the entire ecosystem. As is often the case when dealing with combative dinosaurs, things get bloody.
To say much more of the plot would be spoiling the issue, which focuses on the battle. The tension has been building between the Spinosaurus and the Paralititan for the entire series, especially as both have dealt with the numerous other predators that stalk the marshes. The beauty of Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians #4 is its ability to bring this protracted conflict to a close in a way that is both unexpected and immensely satisfying.
The issue starts off quietly enough, with the series protagonist fishing for stingrays. However, the Spinosaurus quickly finds himself surrounded by the sauropod herd that has been mercilessly hunting down predators in the area. Ricardo Delgado’s storytelling ability throughout the series has been superb, but it really comes to light here. The angles he chooses to frame the action in all help tell a story by building a dramatic atmosphere.
All the atmosphere in the world wouldn’t help, though, if the issue was illustrated poorly. Delgado’s linework shines in this issue, especially as the combat begins. Delgado comes from the storyboarding industry in Hollywood, so it only makes sense that he’d be able to give an ebb and flow to the combat that is often lacking in comics. Delgado’s attention to detail makes the issue even more fun. As the battle rages into the river, it isn’t just water being displaced by the saurian behemoths, little animals are also finding themselves getting thrown about. The combat also never feels anthropomorphized; these are animals fighting, and the issue never lets the reader forget it.
Ryan Hill has shown in previous issues that he can adjust his palette to fit the story, and that skill is once again on display. The early pages in the issue are lit in a very natural manner, but as the story moves on, the lighting gets more and more dramatic, as the other creatures in the swamp are covered in shadow as they watch the battle unfold. The lighting feels very much like a showdown in a western, a mood that is amplified when the blood starts to spill.
Is It Good?
Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians #4 is the conclusion this series deserved. Ricardo Delgado’s master storytelling is on full display here. This action-packed finale delivers an exciting and fitting end. Ryan Hill’s colors aid the poetic nature of the narrative, providing for some moving moments as the series closes. For a story about a Spinosaurus, this series has been incredibly moving. The final pages are a nice callback to the series’ opening, while tying up one of the smaller loose ends.
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