TERRIBLE LIZARD #1 FCBD EDITION (Oni Press) Written by Cullen Bunn. Illustrated by Drew Moss. Twenty-two page story.
Terrible Lizard is a light-hearted and amusing tale of a friendship between a teenage girl and a T-Rex dinosaur pulled out of space-time. This is an all-ages story that really does offer something for everyone. Jessica Anders is a typical teenage girl, part tomboy and mischievous. She’s lonely and bored with her life at Cosmos Labs. Her single father is a respected scientist dedicating too many hours to a temporal displacement project. Due to the impatience of the military funding his research, a lab accident brings several dinosaurs and giant monsters from their time-line into the present. Teenage girl and T-Rex (nicknamed Wrex) instantly bond. She becomes its’ champion/defender and the favor is returned.
COVER APPEAL: With a tiny girl riding on the back of a huge dinosaur, there is just enough of a cartoony look to the cover to appeal to the right audience without making it look silly or childish. Dinosaurs have a lot of magnetism with the younger set, and older. Hey, who doesn’t like a good dinosaur yarn? With the promise of a Godzilla-like monster that is toned down for a younger audience, this cover should also help parents give a little nudge and recommend their kids pick this one up. 3 Points.
STORY: This is both entertaining and engaging. I’m way too old for this type of material, but not too old to enjoy and appreciate it. I actually want to know what happens next. Writer Bunn does an effective job of setting the stage, introducing the characters, and building some suspense and mystery. 2.5 points.
ART: Without cramming too much into a single panel, there is actually some nice detail here. It’s several steps up from your standard kids comics - - good facial expressions, interesting use of colors and shading, depth and shadows used effectively. 2.5 points.
YOUTH APPEAL: Teenagers. Parents that don’t understand them. Dinosaurs. Friendships. Mis-understandings. I think younger readers can be hooked on this book if they check it out. 3 points.
NEW READER APPEAL: Since it’s a reprint of Issue #1 of the monthly title (the first trade paperback just came out) it’s not hard at all. This feels like a fresh beginning because it is - - starting at ground level. 3 points.
PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS: Oni doesn’t show their entire hand here, as they are a very diverse comics company covering a variety of genres and mature titles. However, they appropriately dedicate some back pages to featuring ads for other titles aimed at younger readers and continuing to target those age groups = the Courtney Crumrin series, Part-Time Princesses, Princess Ugg, Mermin, and a brand-new title debuting in July - - Junior Braves Of The Apocalypse. (Too bad no one caught the typo on the back cover. 2.5 points.
WOULD I PERSONALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? I prefer more mature content, but I don’t object to reading material aimed at a younger audience as long as it’s well written and has something to offer. I really enjoyed Terrible Lizard and have no qualms at recommending the trade paperback, even though I haven’t read any other issues yet. Cullen Bunn is a writer I trust to tell a good story. (See Sixth Gun from Oni for a delightful supernatural western.) I wasn’t familiar with the art of Drew Moss before, but I’m impressed with this. YES! Please check out Terrible Lizard. 2 points.
FINAL RANKING FOR TERRIBLE LIZARD FCBD = 18.5 POINTS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED