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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
"Dark Cargo"
Jurassic Park: Raptor #2 (Topps Comics)
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Armando Gil, Dell Barras, and Fred Carillo
Cover by Michael Golden

Lawala kidnaps Grant and Ellie as he also smuggles the raptors off the island.

Story Summary

Grant and Ellie are caged and held prisoner on Lawala's boat, with the five young raptors caged right next to them. Grant begins trying to pick the lock of the cage with the bit of his belt buckle and soon one of the raptors mimics him with its claw in its own padlock. But Grant's bit breaks off inside the lock.

Just then Lawala shows up in the hold, informing them they're about to dock in Panama. He uses a can of knockout gas to subdue the raptors and humans both for the transfer to a cargo plane.

On Isla Nublar, General West institutes a search for the two missing scientists.

Grant and Ellie wake up aboard the plane, still caged. But, to their surprise, the raptors are free in the cargo hold, having successfully picked their cage lock. The carnivores attempt to grab the two humans through the bars but can't quite reach them in the center of the cage. One of them then begins attempting to pick the humans' lock to get at them. They're unsuccessful due to the broken bit of Grant's belt which is still stuck in the lock.

In the cockpit, the pilot registers a shifting of weight in the hold. Lawala goes back to investigate, armed with his rifle. When he enters, he is attacked by a raptor, but he manages to shoot it in the head, killing it. He releases Grant and Ellie to help him with the remaining raptors and arms them both. A search of the hold ensues, with human and dinosaurs hunting each other. Lawala kills another raptor.

The pilot sets the plane on autopilot when he hears the shots. Entering the hold he is attacked and killed by a raptor which then attacks Lawala. Lawala shoots it in the neck but is killed by the raptor's claws in the process. The raptor lies bleeding and dying. Ellie runs to the spot and is about to finish off the raptor, but realizes it is too badly injured to cause further immediate harm and decides to bandage the injured animal with the sleeve of her shirt.

Grant traps the last two raptors in a wooden crate. But when the raptors threaten to tear their way out through the wooden slats, he has to suspend the crate on cables out of the cargo hatch in mid-flight. This unbalances the planes aerodynamic profile and the autopilot begins to lose control of the craft and, though Grant tries to bring the plane up, it crashes into the jungle below.



Didja Notice? 

On page 2, Ellie says she couldn't get Grant to wake up after he'd been knocked out by Lawala and she was worried he had a concussion. He responds, "No--but a hell of a headache!" Actually, the relatively long period of unconsciousness and headache he's suffered are among the symptoms of a concussion, so he really couldn't know if he has one or not without a head x-ray.

On page 4, Grant tries to pick the lock of his and Ellie's cage with the bit of his belt buckle. Then the young raptors in their own cage nearby, having observed him, try the same with their claws in the lock!

On page 7, we see that Lawala's ship is named the Agua Brooha. Agua is Spanish for water, but I can't find a reference to brooha.

On page 8, General West phones in to the United States Central American Command Center (CENTAMCOM). As far as I can tell, this is a fictional organization.

On page 9 we see Malcolm being treated at the CENTAMCOM base hospital (revealed in "Animals/Men" to be in Panama). But in the previous issue ("Aftershocks") Ellie comments to Grant that everyone else who survived the events of Jurassic Park are back in the States now, with Malcolm in the hospital and Hammond on his estate with Tim and Lex. I guess she was wrong, at least as far as Malcolm's location.

On page 10, the raptors have apparently proven successful at picking the lock on their cage. Really? C'mon, it's not that easy to pick a lock!

The artists use an interesting trick on page 15, with the white panel border doubling as the cage bar gripped by Ellie while she and Grant talk to Lawala about the escaped raptors.

Grant has understandably grown a 5 o'clock shadow since the story began, but in panel 8 of page 15 he suddenly seems to have a full-on beard! Then in the following panel and pages he's back to the 5 o'clock shadow.

On page 21, considering his odds of shooting two raptors in rapid succession, Grant thinks to himself, I'm no Clint Eastwood. Eastwood, of course, is an American actor well-known for his tough guy cowboy and cop roles in the movies.

Grant traps the last two raptors in a wooden crate. But when the raptors threaten to tear their way out through the wooden slats, he has to suspend the crate on cables out of the cargo hatch in mid-flight. But how did he manage to get those four cables looped around the crate in time, without the raptors either breaking out or slashing him through the holes they've already busted?

On the last page of the issue, someone is watching the plane crash though binoculars and says, "Hey, Patron--get a load o' this!" "Patron" is Spanish for Captain or boss.

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