A Look Back at Jurassic Park #2 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1993 for another look at Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park in the form of licensed comic books published by Topps Comics.

My previous retro review was the literary version of the film’s opening until the start of the iconic scene of the brachiosaur. The comic book was very exposition-heavy, had too few dinosaurs visualized and was ultimately a word-heavy experience with little entertainment value.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Jurassic Park #2, published in 1993 by Topps Comics with a story written by Walter Simonson and drawn by Gil Kane with ink work done by the late George Perez. This comic book was the second of a 4-issue mini-series based on the Spielberg movie.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on an island where John Hammond’s guests (Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, Ian Malcolm and lawyer Gennaro) cannot help but stare and marvel at the brachiosaurus walking in front of them. Soon enough, they spot five more dinosaurs of the same species moving around. As they stare, Dr. Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler can’t help but be amazed as the sight of living dinosaurs literally broke the limits of what they previously learned about dinosaurs through books.

Grant then asks Jurassic Park owner John Hammond how he was able to come up with dinosaurs. Hammond then takes his guests into the visitor’s center which has a 50-seat auditorium for the prepared pre-show he prepared for their orientation. With Hammond taking an active part in the program, a video presentation shows how Jurassic Park’s personnel extracted dinosaur DNA from fossilized mosquitoes (which drew blood from dinosaurs), used advanced technologies and amphibian DNA to complete DNA sequencing, and created dinosaurs…

Quality

The baby Velociraptor, John Hammond, Ian Malcolm, Dr. Grant, Ellie Sattler and Dr. Wu in a scene.

The most obvious thing about this comic book (which starts with the brachiosaurs reveal until the triceratops’ appearance) is that it is very wordy and has lots of expository dialogue and creative explanations which reflected the film it was based on. What makes this a slightly better reading experience over issue #1 is that it closely captured the essence of the best talk scene of Spielberg’s movie – the lunch meeting hosted by Hammond. To see Gennaro, Dr. Grant and Ellie give their feedback to Hammond with Ian Malcolm’s extensive opinion about Jurassic Park’s use of genetics, their revival of extinct species and their lack of humility before nature was easily the most compelling part of the comic book to read. In a way, a lot of exposition dump and build-up that started in issue #1 were paid off nicely in the said scene.

As mentioned earlier, this comic book’s story reaches the appearance of the triceratops and by then John Hammond’s grandchildren (Tim and Lex) joined Grant, Gennaro, Sattler and Malcolm on the basic tour in vehicles. That being said, the story moved at a moderate pace and the only comic book spectacle here are the images of dinosaurs which were decently drawn by Gil Kane. Don’t expect any action nor thrills here because those would not happen until the T. Rex’s first appearance.

Conclusion

Can you imagine how you would react if you ever see large dinosaurs walking in front of you?

I can say that Jurassic Park #2 (1993) is a slightly better reading experience than issue #1 mainly due to the way the comic book creators adapted the movie’s best talk scene. The same old issues of heavy exposition and excessive dialogue are here which reflect Simonson and Kane’s focus on adapting scenes from the movie closely. Other than that, there is still no excitement to enjoy here which can be disappointing if you are anticipating dinosaur-related thrills and action sequences. Readers who enjoy exposition and the Jurassic Park entertainment franchise’s approach on portraying science (distorted and fantasized to be more attractive than true science) will still find something to enjoy here.

Overall, Jurassic Park #2 (1993) is satisfactory.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at Jurassic Park #1 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1993 which was a wild time for entertainment not only because of the comic book collection craze of the time but also because the whole world marveled at Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi film Jurassic Park which was simply unavoidable.  

Jurassic Park was released into cinemas worldwide at a time when computer-generated imagery (CGI) was advanced enough to show and animated dinosaurs in a photo-realistic way on the big screen. Unlike films of today, CGI in Spielberg’s movie was sparingly used and they cleverly used computer graphics to show dinosaurs in their entirety especially on really wide shots that literally made human actors look really small compared to them. What added also to the photorealism of the dinosaurs was the use of animatronics (read: physical models) when capturing close-ups of the dinosaurs. For millions of people, Jurassic Park was a dream come true for those who wanted to see very convincing and lively dinosaurs on the big screen in ways that stop motion animation could not do.

As mentioned earlier, Jurassic Park was unavoidable as it was everywhere from the cinemas to the TV and print ads, to the stores that had licensed toys and merchandise of the movie, to the book stores that sold copies of the novel written by Michael Crichton, and also in the comic book stores that had copies of the comic book adaptation published by Topps Comics.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Jurassic Park #1, published in 1993 by Topps Comics with a story written by Walter Simonson and drawn by Gil Kane with ink work done by the late George Perez. This comic book was the first of a 4-issue mini-series based on the Spielberg movie.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at Isla Nublar, an island located over a hundred miles west of the nation of Costa Rica. Uniformed men and heavy equipment operators carefully moved a heavy containment unit that has a dinosaur inside. They are trying to connect the unit into an unusual looking containment facility which has vegetation inside. Their objective was to move the dinosaur into the facility and that includes lifting up the containment unit’s door.

Suddenly, the containment unit shakes as its door opened causing one man (who was responsible for opening the door from the top) falls down. It turns out, the dinosaur inside played a trick on them and it grabbed and pulled the fallen man inside which leads to tragedy.

A short time later, lawyer Gennaro arrives at an amber mind in the Dominican Republic searching for John Hammond for an important matter about a $20 million lawsuit from the family of the injured worker and an insurance company that thinks the accident raises serious safety questions about Jurassic Park.

Over at Montana, Dr. Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler are conducting work at a dig site not knowing that an unexpected visit will happen to them…

Quality

Nothing like entering a large gate going into a theme park.

I will start with what is very obvious about this first issue of the mini-series adapting the events of Steven Spielberg’s movie. This is one very wordy comic book filled with lots of details spilled all over by lots of expository dialogue clearly sourced from the movie. To be clear, this comic book follows the movie’s opening scene until the start of the iconic scene in which Dr. Grant, Ellie and Dr. Ian Malcolm saw the large dinosaur for the first time ever (note: this scene stunned and amazed viewers back then).

As the comic creators really pushed themselves to fill in the key details straight out of the movie most of the time, this comic book lacks spectacle and it is unsurprising that it has very few images of dinosaurs.

Like most comic book adaptations of movies, there were certain cosmetic differences between scenes adapted from the movie such as the traitor Dennis Nedry meeting with Lewis Dodgson in a very urban city street setting (as opposed to the location with lots of trees and vegetation in the film). Also notably different looking was Dr. Grant’s place where he and Ellie first meet John Hammond (in the movie, Dr. Grant’s place looked more lived-in).

In what looked like the creators’ attempt to emphasize something more than what was shown in the movie, the scene in which Dr. Grant scares a kid by showing what a Velociraptor would do to him was visualized with two panels of a dream sequence.

Gil Kane’s art looks good here but don’t expect to see the characters resembling their cinematic counterparts at all. I can only guess that Topps Comics had no authority to capture the likeness of the actors for this adaptation. Dr. Grant does not look like Sam Neill. Ellie Sattler looks nothing like Laura Dern.  

Conclusion

This is easily the most entertaining and the most intriguing page from the comic book. The comic book creators succeeded in making Dr. Alan Grant scare the kid more convincingly than the movie.

Jurassic Park #1 (1993) is not a fun read due to its heavy load of expository dialogue and explanations of key details. This issue, to say the least, was done mainly to get readers oriented with terms and details in order to help them understand Jurassic Park’s concepts. Due to the exposition and explanations, the storytelling here moved at a slow space which ironically provides readers opportunities to understand Jurassic Park. The way this comic book script was written, there was clearly too little space for entertainment. If you are the brainy type of reader or if you like junk science mixed with real science explained, then this one can still entertain you. When it comes to visuals, Gil Kane’s art made this one attractive and also established this comic book’s own look.

Overall, Jurassic Park #1 (1993) is satisfactory.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at Action Comics #545

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Action Comics #544 was, indeed, a very memorable comic book to read. For a comic book about Superman and the celebration of his 45th anniversary, Action Comics #544 was more about the drastic reform (and improvement) of the super villains Lex Luthor (gaining a powered suit of armor) and Brainiac (becoming fully robotic). That particular issue ended with Superman actually getting defeated and knocked down during his first encounter with the now metallic Brainiac (who also had a huge squid-like space ship of his own).

The story continues with this look back at Action Comics #545, published by DC Comics in 1983 with a story written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by Gil Kane.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Superman already down on the ground on an alien world in the presence of Brainiac and the strange beings (natives of the planet) standing near him. Braniac explains to him that his red-sun missile brought him down and states: With but the merest thought I can and will destroy you! For only with your death can I be victorious in my battle against he-who-created-us-all! With you dead, this universe and all others will be mine to rule!

After much talking, Brainiac puts the weakened Superman into his small ship and brings into him the main ship (Brainiac’s flyer). Before departing, Brainiac’s flyer fires a powerful blast killing many of the planet’s natives.

Superman is conscious but is too weak to get up. Brainiac then starts analyzing him using his ship’s state-of-the-art equipment…

Quality

11
The new Brainiac’s power is felt all over.

Let me start with the story. Written by the legendary Marv Wolfman (who went on to author Crisis on Infinite Earths), Action Comics #545 is the highly compelling extension of the first encounter between Superman and the highly enhanced Brainiac. Continuing from the events that took place in issue #544, this comic book further emphasizes Brainiac’s new technology and new capabilities complete with revisions in his programming which make him even deadlier than his previous form. While Brainiac is cold and very calculating like a computer, there are still threads of humanity in him, mainly in the form of expressions.

Along the way, Superman is portrayed to be very vulnerable and in more danger than usual. The situation is so bad for him, Superman realizes that attacking Brainiac would be suicidal. Since he could not afford to take the risk to defeat Brainiac, the Man of Steel relied more on his instinct and observations to solve problems.

On the art, Gil Kane delivered pretty good visuals. While his take on Superman makes the icon recognizable, it is his art on Brainiac and the futuristic technologies that really shined. Even by today’s standards of comic book art and sci-fi concepts, Brainiac, his ship and all other forms of technology still look futuristic!

Conclusion

4
A very vulnerable Superman being scanned by Brainiac.

Very entertaining and compelling! That’s how I describe Action Comics #545 and it definitely is a great continuation of the Brainiac story that was featured in issue #544. Lots of action spectacle and intrigue all through the story. While Brainiac’s new abilities and revamped personality were compelling to read, it should be noted that Superman in this comic book thinks more, becomes more strategic and makes decisions knowing he has been weakened. This is a Superman who strives to survive.

As for Brainiac, this comic book shows his rise as one of the premier super villains of DC Comics leading to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. The ending here has a very powerful image!

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Action Comics #545, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $18 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $36.

Overall, Action Comics #545 is highly recommended!


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Action Comics #544

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

I just love it when comic book creators really pushed their creativity and bold concepts to make an anniversary celebration comic book fun, engaging and memorable. As seen in the history of American superhero comics, such great comic books become essential when their concept sets a new standard of quality or when it sets its series (and its featured superhero) to a new and well accepted direction (which then opens up many opportunities to keep the series and the superhero fresh creatively).

Such greatness was achieved by DC Comics and its creators with Action Comics #544 published in 1983.

AC544cover
The cover.

As seen in the cover above done by artists Gil Kane and Dick Giordano, Superman in the background could do nothing but be surprised to see his two foes Lex Luthor and Braniac presented in doubles reflecting a change of design – Luthor getting his now iconic powered suit of armor and Brainiac having a more robotic design.

So you must be wondering…how is the quality of the story and art of this particular comic book that celebration Superman’s 45th anniversary?

We can now start with my retro comic book review of Action Comics #544.

Early Stories

This special-sized comic book features not one but two separate Superman stories titled “Luthor Unleashed!” (written by Cary Bates and drawn by Curt Swan) and “Rebirth” (by Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane).

“Luthor Unleashed!” begins with Luthor already down on the ground hurting from the crash of his aircraft and with Superman present. Even though Luthor’s already helpless, Superman flies away to an unknow destination confident that the super villain will still be there once he returns. However, Luthor got assisted by a robot of his who took him to a secret lair and rode a spacecraft going into deep space. Luthor arrives on the planet called Lexor.

“Rebirth” begins with Superman saving a lady and dog from getting hit by a car on the city street. Afterwards, he flies into space and arrives at a computerized planet that Brainiac created. Just nearby, the star of Epsilon 4 is about to go supernova which prompts him to do something so that many lives will be saved.

Quality

Visually, the art of both stories, respectively done by Curt Swan (arguably the most memorable artist to draw Superman during the pre-Crisis age) and Gil Kane is still good to look at. Both artists knew how to frame the action in interesting ways, put enough details on the people and environment surrounding Superman or Luthor or Brainiac.

When it comes to the storytelling and characterization, not only were both stories really well written, they succeeded in humanizing Luthor and Brainiac. In “Luthor Unleashed!”, the portrayal of Lex Luthor as a family man (he has a wife and a child) as well as a highly revered leader among the citizens of Lexor was excellently done. By just reading that story, it really looked like Luthor could have been a great contributor for the good of the DC Multiverse had he not been a super villain. What writer Cary Bates made clear was that Luthor’s hatred for Supermen was deeply embedded within him.

AC5441
Lex Luthor the husband and father.

The story of Brainiac meanwhile was very engaging. Marv Wolfman really went all-out on portraying the death and rebirth of Brainiac who got reshaped in the form of a futuristic robot armed with his own octopus-like spaceship. What is great about this cybernetic form of Brainiac was that he not only looked more sinister but also proved to be a more dangerous super villain than before. Also, Superman’s first encounter with Brainiac in his new form is very memorable.

AC5442
A great debut for Brainiac in his new form.

Conclusion

While Action Comics #544 is a celebration of Superman’s 45th anniversary, it is truly a showcase of the two classic super villains who not only got new looks but also went on to become more challenging to Superman on a new and higher level. Before he got his iconic powered suit of armor (designed by the great George Perez), Luthor was not much of a physical challenge to Superman. Before he got his robotic body, Brainiac was not as deadly and had much less resources to be cause chaos to Superman and others. To say the least, this comic book is a true classic of superhero literature!

If you are a collector, be aware that as of this writing, a near-mint copy of the newsstand edition of Action Comics #544 is now worth $77 while its other edition’s near-mint copy is worth $39 at MileHighComics.com.

Overall, Action Comics #544 is highly recommended. This great comic book also has another thing of value: great inspiration and references that Warner Bros. should use when making a new Superman movie with Luthor and Brainiac as the super villains.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com