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Jurassic Park: Dangerous Games #5

Reviewed by Patrick Hayes

The covers:
Jeff Zornow provides both choices. The Regular Cover has Espinoza on a motorcycle trying to outrun two giant predators. It's really cartoony, which is really different from what Zornow has done in the past. It makes me think it was rushed. The coloring doesn't help because the muted colors seem to be hiding incomplete or lackluster work, rather than improve it. Cover RI is the same art, just without colors. Now my store didn't have this cover, so I'm basing my review on the inside front cover image (which I'm eternally grateful when IDW includes these in their books). This looks much better than the other, but I could waffle up or down if I actually saw it. Overall grades: Regular C- and RI B.

The story: Writer Erik Bear (with Story Consultant Greg Bear) wraps up this saga neatly. It's a conclusion I was glad for because I don't want to revisit, see, talk about, or encounter any part of this series ever again. There are three major things that fly in the face of the established Jurassic Park universe, and they hurt the franchise and its future. One, Dr. Frances White's control of the raptors. Earlier in the series I went along with it, but I can't anymore. By having a human master the dinosaurs undercuts all established threat of the nature of these animals and how their reactions to our (people's) presence cannot be predicted. She and her power are too much Jules Verne and not enough Michael Crichton. Mr. Bear, do you even remember the final line you wrote for the computer screen on Page 20? Please re-read it! Two, the bottom of Page 5: there's no chance in Hell this would/could/should happen. This is the action of a Marvel or DC superhero, not a man in a "realistic" battle with a dinosaur. This jumped the shark for me. Three, Page 19. Now this could be the artist's fault, but the distance between the cold start of that engine and the pair's attack is too slim for salvation. He should be dead. Another issue is Cazares' dialogue. Try this, fellow readers: What would you have the book's villain say to the protagonist in their final confrontation, if this series was titled "Dangerous Games"? How should our hero respond? Now read Pages 13 and 14. Dollars for donuts says you nailed it. Wait! How do you think the villain would phrase his final taunt? Read Page 21. Got that, too, huh? Why didn't you write this comic? And what happened to the stooge atop Page 11? Never addressed, so why include? Why wasn't this better thought out? Overall grade: F

The art: I've been biased against the art since Issue 1: the manga look (or maybe this manga look) by Jorge Jimenez is awful. The first panel on Page 9: Look at it in isolation. What is going on here? Did the dino overshoot? Are those rocks or clouds below? And if you use a tazer on a dino would the entire body smoke after it's unconscious? Page 16's bottom panel: Is that the front or rear of the tire? Is that a cloud of debris or a cliff? I have no idea where this bike is in relationship to the dinosaurs in this panel. This is poor layout. Page 20: Is this a cave or a bar? It just--consistently--doesn't work. Overall grade: F

The colors: Studio C-10 hasn't been doing too well, either. Page 1 should pop, but it's drab, as is most of this book. For the first time in this series, the majority of the scenes are outside in the daylight. Can't things be brightened up? Limited palates get a limited response. Overall grade: D

The letters: Shawn Lee, thank you for your work: Dialogue that includes words in italics to indicate stress (always more than welcome!) and enjoyable sound effects. Thank you. Overall grade: A+

The final line: I don't want to read another comic written, drawn, or colored by those involved with this book. If you love Jurassic Park don't even open this book, let alone purchase the trade. IDW, you really need to think long and hard about what you want to do with this franchise. I am naturally inclined to want to see new JP tales, but if they're like this I'll favor extinction. The final grade: F

Jurassic Park Episode Studies