— THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS.
Jurassic Park: Redemption #4 ends with Dr. Backer riding up on horseback and lassoing a dinosaur.
It’s a cliffhanger finale, and Backer might well be torn from his horse and thrown several metres through the air at the beginning of the next chapter. As it stands, though, he hasn’t been; as it stands, he’s simply ridden onto the scene and lassoed a goddamn dinosaur — and that’s f**king ridiculous.
The thing, though, is that much of what goes on in this issue is also f**king ridiculous, and so by the time I reached the end of it, I was letting myself have fun with it. I’d let go, accepted it.
It was the opening that tipped me over the edge. Picking up immediately after the previous issue, with the aftermath of the prehistoric stampede through Glen Rose, the opening sees two familiar faces arrive on the scene: Alan Grant, and Ellie Sattler.
Great to see them though it is, it was their arrival that did the aforementioned tipping — not the revelation that Grant still has trouble with seat belts (amusing, but just as on-the-nose as Lex having gotten into the vegetable business), but the fact that Ellie shows up with an apparent army in tow. Clearly that perennially controversial husband of hers still has friends in high places…
Admittedly, her doing so is plausible on some level, but there’s such a cheesy, Charlie’s Angels vibe to the panels in which she and Grant show up that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud —
— something that happened quite a few times as the issue went on. Quite a few times indeed…
A Carnotaurus chews on a car before invading a Country Fair; one of its herbivorous cousins licks a window before plodding off with its tongue lolling like a big, leathery dog; Ludlow’s henchman is knocked the f**k out with the ball of amber formerly known as the top of John Hammond’s cane, and Lex punches the excrement out of a purple haired woman for giving her lip. ‘POW!’ indeed.
The thing about all this, though, the real meat of it you might say, is that there is — in amongst all the aforementioned ridiculousness — some truly compelling stuff to be found here, the best of which is a fair bit of backstory for the villain formerly known as Mr. L. Would.
If you’d asked me prior to having read this one, I would’ve told you, without a shadow of a doubt, that Ludlow had been born into the Hammond family. Here, however, he’s presented as having married into it in order to secure a ‘place at the table’ of Hammond’s Jurassic Park project.
Whether this lines up with the film-canon is, I suppose, up for debate — personally, I think The Lost World heavily implies that he was born into the family. Whatever the case, though, the comics’ version of events serves its purpose in establishing him as a villain through-and-through, and also presents a believable enough scenario for his having survived being chewed on by the baby Rex.
I found his post-incident feelings towards dinosaurs to be satisfyingly believable, too — the ‘warm, fuzzy’ feeling of seeing the ‘magnificent creatures’ tarnished after his encounter with the juvenile tyrannosaur. He’s almost like the dark side of Alan Grant, and, though Ludlow admittedly spends most of his time being as spectacularly cartoonish as his former anagram, that particular aspect of his character is truly compelling.
And then there’s the revelation of Hammond’s second back-up plan: Henry Wu having absconded from Nublar with a full set of prehistoric DNA.
It’s a twist that might have been merely interesting in 2010, when Redemption was first released, but which became an amusing coincidence five years later with the release of Jurassic World.
Ultimately, Redemption’s penultimate issue may have veered, for me, well and truly off the rails, but — as with the previous chapter — I genuinely enjoyed my time with it.
Oh, and Dodgson got gored by a Triceratops, so I guess we don’t got Dodgson here anymore.
UNSUNG HEROES: THE WOMAN ON THE COVER
Look, ladies and gentlemen, the car attack is cool. It is. But let’s be honest with ourselves: the real star of the show is that poor woman hanging on for dear life as a dino tries to tear her from a balcony.
Just look at her. She was having nice day probably, going about her business — simply stepped out to see what all the commotion was, and then… that…
I’m sure she won’t be thanking John for a lovely weekend anytime soon.
I hope she made it.