Super Dinosaur #1-2 and Origin Special

Super Dinosaur #1 by Robert Kirkman, Jason Howard, Rus Wooton. Super Dinosaur #2 by Robert Kirkman, Jason Howard, Rus Wooton. Super Dinosaur Origin Special by Robert Kirkman, Jason Howard, Rus Wooton.

By Robert Kirkman, Jason Howard, Rus Wooton

Robert Kirkman reaches back to 1980s kiddie cartoon formula in his latest comic book series Super Dinosaur. It's a high concept premise calculated to sell toys. Dinosaurs are cool. Futuristic weaponry is cool. Fighting dinosaurs using futuristic weaponry is extra cool. Imagine the action figures, lunch boxes, t-shirts, and video games generated from the intellectual property. If this sounds cynical, well yes it is. But as someone who grew up watching those cartoons, I won't deny the inherent appeal of a talking tyrannosaur being a lonely boy's best buddy - Super Dinosaur is a genetic experiment who turns against his evil master Max Maximus to side with his good-guy counterpart Doctor Dexter Dynamo and his son Derek Dynamo.

Super Dinosaur by Robert Kirkman, Jason Howard, Rus Wooton.
Dinosaurs firing missiles! How cool is that?
And the series is chock-full of the kind of dippy, playful ideas that my twelve year old self would have found absolutely enthralling: A hollow earth populated by prehistoric creatures. Mutant sentient dinosaurs created by mad scientists. The easy-to-grasp good vs evil plot-line involving family loyalties. The G-rated violence involving high-tech gadgetry (There's a lot of emphasis on the constant upgrades to the title-character's armor). Exotic power sources. The silly code names (Doctor Dynamo, Max Maximus, Dynore, Tricerachops, Breakeosaurus, Terrordactyl). The appealing designs of artist Jason Howard. Howard's clean, animation-style line art ably manages the already large ensemble of humans and "dino-men". Unfortunately, it's not quite matched by his cluttered color palette, resulting in unnecessarily muddy page layouts.

Next to the art, the characterizations are relatively weak. As the POV character, Derek suffers too much from the Wesley syndrome. It doesn't help that he keeps proclaiming that he's awesome at everything. Super Dinosaur doesn't say much, lacking any kind of personality other than a willingness to jump into action at every opportunity. Supporting characters in the form of a married couple of mechanical geniuses named the Kingstons and their two teenage daughters are barely fleshed-out at this point. As for the antagonist Maximus, he's the standard world-conquering villain, which is fine when considering the intended audience. So far, the only interesting character is the anti-hero Tricerachops, who works for a third party neither aligned to Dynamo or Maximus.

Super Dinosaur by Robert Kirkman, Jason Howard, Rus Wooton.
Shut up Derek.
As an "all ages" read, Super Dinosaur doesn't strike me as having a lot of crossover appeal with adults, unless they're the type who want something to feed their Dino-Riders, Centurions, GI Joe, ThunderCats, Transformers etc. nostalgia. Of course, I realize there are plenty of comic book fans who might fit that description. But everyone else can probably wait until their kids start bugging them about buying them the toys. Awesome!