What if the Justice League was made up of a bunch of anthropomorphized dinosaurs instead of humans (and human-looking aliens, and human-looking gods, and bat-looking humans)? Sounds cool, right? If you like that premise, Juan Gedeon and Daniel Warren Johnson may have the book you’ve been waiting for in The Jurassic League.
Illustrated by co-writer Juan Gedeon with colors by Mike Spicer, The Jurassic League #1 opens with the beginning of Superman’s story: a rocket sent from another world, carrying a lone infant, crashes into Earth. Only this time, the infant inside is a dinosaur. The issue then cuts to a scene of an anthropomorphized carnivore, dressed like a bat, prowling on the outskirts of Growltham City. This is Bat Walker, whose section takes up nearly half of the issue. Most of this time is centered around his battle with his arch-nemesis Jokerzard (who, despite our very scientific efforts at AIPT, is not depicted as an oviraptorosaur). The rest of the issue introduces other members of the League in a similar manner, and then the issue ends.
This is the major problem hurting The Jurassic League: there’s no real story here. There’s nothing wrong with stories with dinosaurs — in fact, the world needs more of them — but Juan Gedeon and Daniel Warren Johnson spend most of the issue establishing a premise that is immediately apparent from the cover. Dinosaurs. Justice League. That’s what this is. That’s all this is. Beyond establishing the absurdist premise, The Jurassic League #1 offers little in terms of narrative. There’s an argument to be made for mindless entertainment, but this is pushing it, even if the target audience is meant to be children.
Fortunately, the book has one aspect absolutely nailed. The artwork by Gedeon and Spicer explodes off the page, bombastic in a way that superhero comics rarely are anymore. The battle between Bat Walker and Jokerzard is a standout, full of color and blood (the kind that kids definitely imagined as they smashed two dinosaur toys together, not the kind that makes you feel gross), and a few surprises that brought this reviewer a big smile.
Juan Gedeon’s figures really are the strong suit here. This premise needed big bold character designs and Gedeon delivered. Though the narrative of The Jurassic League #1 left a lot to be desired, Gedon’s craftsmanship almost makes up for it. The detailed linework and dynamic poses makes for a book that looks more exciting than it actually is. Readers looking for more substance will need to keep digging.
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