Robert Kirkman has pretty consistently entertained me with both The Walking Dead and Invincible, the latter of which I could probably write a whole editorial on why it’s one of the best comics out there right now. He knows how to write a good, long-term story with big payoff, he knows the exact moment when he needs to drop the hammer and shock the reader. What I’m saying is I had high hopes before I even started reading Super Dinosaur, and what I got wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.
Super Dinosaur follows Derek Dynamo (who thinks everything is awesome), the young son of Doctor Dynamo, and the titular Super Dinosaur, a talking T. Rex with power armor. They fight against Max Maximus and his army of other evil dinosaurs for control of the ore Dynore. If this is sounding like a Saturday morning cartoon, that’s…about what it is. Believe me, I was expecting more. I kept expecting the Robert Kirkman twist, the sudden shock of violence or darkness or…anything. But no, it’s a cartoon in comic book form.
This isn’t to say it’s a bad cartoon. Robert Kirkman showed that he can create a full world from the ground up with Invincible, and he’s taken that same process here. A few minor characters like Squidious, an evil squid who Super Dinosaur has apparently fought in the past, show both his imagination and his world-building. And it never becomes a parody of the concept. There are definite flaws here, like the fact that Derek is too perfect and borderline annoying. But overall, it’s very straight-forward yet entertaining, and would be perfect for kids to get into comics and have a fun story…
…Is what I really want to say. But I’m worried. I think back to Invincible, and how the first volume was fairly standard superhero stuff, only for the twist to hit hard in the second volume. I’d hate to think that this is decent G-rated stuff from the first volume, only for the second volume to have Super Dinosaur biting Derek’s head off. But if that does happen, it seems like it really wouldn’t work. The comic just isn’t smart enough here to match even the levels of the better cartoons on TV right now. Would a quick change really make things that much better?
In the end, I really don’t know what to think. It’s an easy read, basic but fun, but it’s not the most fun comic out there and definitely doesn’t show off Robert Kirkman’s real abilities. Young kids would probably like it just fine, but anybody older can easily pass this by.