ADVANCE REVIEW! Super Dinosaur #15 will go on sale Wednesday, November 7, 2012.
Super Dinosaur is the best of Robert Kirkman's titles, a bright and bouncy adventure series with a giant dinosaur blowing things up and fighting monsters. The premise here is that the main character, Super Dinosaur himself, was found by scientists living at the centre of the Earth — which, rather than a molten core of fire, is actually a secret land of dinosaurs. Super Dinosaur is brought back to Earth and grows up as the best friend of Derek, the scientist's father.
Ever since, rival forces have wanted to find Inner Earth for themselves, so they can militarise dinosaurs for themselves. Issue #15 of the book ends the current storyline, which sees most of the main cast stranded in Inner Earth while their parents try and save them. And it's a fun fight issue, with Derek and Super Dinosaur facing down a hoarde of crazy talking dinosaurs who all want control of Inner Earth for themselves. The fight is drawn superbly by artist and colorist Jason Howard, who has a great eye for bold, cartoonish sequencing which delivers an exciting fight without the need for violence. This is knockabout Power Rangers-style fighting here, but with a whole lot more expression and way fewer floating heads.
Kirkman spends most of the issue having fun with some one liners, while making sure everybody here has something to do. There's a nice tag towards the end where the cast rejoin their parents and are delighted to see them which is a lovely touch, albeit one tinged with sadness. There's an interesting development for Super Dinosaur himself in this issue, and the way it catches readers is actually rather surprising. It's a testament to how much the creative team have managed to characterise the giant dinosaur, that they can make him an emotional centre equal to any of the humans.
Which is a victory against anti-dinosaur prejudice, if ever I saw one. The issue is well paced, smartly judged, and doesn't treat the readers as simple. There are full-on fights and emotional moments here, and Kirkman has a great handle on voice here. The science is silly, the exposition is light, and the story is an excuse for him to make monsters fight each other — while Howard draws it. Super Dinosaur has quite a bit of heart in it, and also it has dinosaurs firing rocket launchers at each other.
Steve Morris is the head and indeed only writer for Comics Vanguard, the internet's 139th most-favorite comic-book website. You can find him on Twitter at @stevewmorris, which is mostly nonsensical gibberish you may enjoy or despise. His favorite Marvel character is Darkstar, while his favorite DC character is, also, Darkstar. He's on Team X-Men, you guys.