— THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS SPOILERS.
Last July, it was revealed that IDW Comics will publish a series of Jurassic World comics in 2017. Today, roughly six months after the announcement, still precious little is known about these comics. Will they bridge the gap between Jurassic World and its upcoming sequel? Will they act as a prequel to the film? Or will they simply tell a new story set in its world? Your guess is as good as mine.
Before setting out on this (S.S.) venture, I must admit that comics aren’t really my thing — but I do sit up and pay attention when they’re dealing with stuff I’m interested in. A while back, I gave Dark Horse’s first Tomb Raider run a go, but stopped in my tracks when it was revealed that Rise of the Tomb Raider would be, for a time, exclusive to Xbox. Since then, I’ve toyed with the idea of revisiting the medium a few times, but never really found myself enthused enough to actually do it.
That changed with July’s announcement. The proverbial lightbulb flickered to life above my head as I realised that IDW already had quite a few Jurassic comics to their name; having never delved into them, what better way to fill the time until IDW’s tales from Jurassic World than by exploring their existing repertoire? The problem, of course, was that, back then, I was between websites. As evidenced by the fact that you’re reading these words, however, that’s no longer the case.
Between June 2010 and January 2012, IDW published three Jurassic stories, each made up of multiple issues. The first of these was known as Jurassic Park: Redemption, and so that’s where we’ll head… well, first.
Hold on to your butts — it’s probably going to be bumpy ride.
SHE HAPPENS TO BE A VEGETARIAN
The bulk of Jurassic Park: Redemption takes place in 2006, thirteen years after the events of Jurassic Park — amusingly, if it were canon, this would set the tale one year after the opening of Jurassic World — but the story opens in 2004, as an adult Tim Murphy takes a mysterious call from an equally mysterious caller, who assures him that something they’ve been working on will be up and running within two years.
It becomes obvious as the conversation continues that this ‘something’ is a resurrection of Jurassic Park (later revealed to be based in Texas), one that Tim has stipulated will only feature docile herbivores — and ‘… absolutely no Velociraptors…’, a profoundly strange-looking trio of which show up in the very next panel.
I must admit, while a part of me wanted to roll my eyes at the thought of Tim working to resurrect the park, another — that connected to the very young version of myself who wrote the opening line (and nothing more…) of a story in which that was exactly what happened — was immediately intrigued. What could possibly go wrong, eh?
In 2006, an also-adult Lex addresses the United Nations about the importance of keeping — though they aren’t mentioned by name — Nublar and Sorna safe, lest their dinosaurs cause the extinction of mankind. Hey presto: conflict! Well, eventual conflict, that is; as of the beginning, Lex has no idea what Tim is up to.
In the course of her address, Lex assures the ambassadors that she will continue to use her personal finances, and those of her company, to meet these ends. What is that company? Lexxcorps, a leading supplier of organic vegetable products. She does happen to be a vegetarian, you know.
That one really did make me roll my eyes.
Still, despite this somewhat on-the-nose direction to have taken the character, I came away from this first issue liking Lex (more so than Tim, in fact — a complete reversal of my feelings towards their Jurassic Park counterparts); she’s determined, takes no shit, and her closing remarks to the United Nations drew a genuine smile.
Lex and Tim, however, aren’t the only Jurassic Park alumni to make an appearance here. Henry Wu is working with Robert Burke lookalike Dr. Backer to create a maintain a stock of dinosaurs for the new park, and Lewis Dodgson — alarm bells! — is assisting with their maintenance, proving himself to be a massive, animal-abusing asshole in the process.
Predictably, things aren’t quite as they seem.
Despite Tim having been assured by that mysterious business partner that only the ‘most docile’ herbivores have been bred, Wu and his cronies have been tampering with dinosaurs of the carnivorous variety, too — one of which, of course, escapes.
Taking the city of Glen Rose, Texas by storm, the Carnotaurus gobbles up almost everything in its path as it drags the issue to a cliffhanger ending.
As of the end of this first chapter, I’m not sure how I feel about Redemption. I’m certainly interested to see where it goes, and to find out just who Tim’s shady associate is, but I already have some reservations — one of which being that I just don’t like the idea of Jurassic stories that aren’t set on the islands.
For me, dinosaurs marauding in modern cities — though there is the possibility that it could be done well — just doesn’t seem particularly ‘Jurassic’. Of course, with future Jurassic World films promising to spend less time on the islands, I’d better get used to the concept, and perhaps Redemption will help me to. I’ll just have to keep reading, I suppose, and find out.
The biggest of my reservations, though, is an apparent lack of attention to detail. Redemption’s blurb states that it’s been thirteen years since Lex and Tim escaped from Isla Sorna.
I’ve got news for you, IDW:
There’s also a panel in which a headline that should likely read DINO DILEMMA DEFUSED instead reads DINO DILEMMA DIFFUSED — dictionary time… — and Lex’s full name, which is Alexis, is mentioned as being Alexa.
These may not be huge errors, but they certainly should have been caught, and with the Jurassic franchise continually suffering from an at times obscene lack of attention to detail — continual use of inaccurate fonts, Bob Peck being referred to as Bob Cook in some official material, the logo’s tyrannosaur not having any teeth on the expanded soundtrack release’s accompanying booklet — they have me more than a little worried about what’s to come.