In Review: Terrible Lizard #1

The only thing terrible about Terrible Lizard is waiting 30 days for the next issue.

The covers: A pair to stomp all over your collection if you can find a way to catch them. The Main cover is by interior artist Drew Moss with Jess loving her ride atop Wrex. Even the dino looks pleased as they run through a cave. If only they could look behind them on this wraparound cover, because there are several plant-sea anemone things, a spiky blue squid, a giant bat thing, and a huge crab right on their tails. If you want monsters, you’re getting them in spades with this cover! Fun image with bright coloring make this great. The Incentive Variant cover is also a wraparound, but by Erica Henderson and it has Jess skateboarding down Wrex’s tail with the temporal displacement portal behind them, blasting out a tremendous amount of energy. Wrex is much more realistic looking on this cover, but I prefer Moss’s version of this title character. The coloring on this is even brighter than the Main, if you can believe that. Overall grades: Main A and IV B+

The story: Jessica–Jess–Anders is the teller of this tale. The book opens with fire and destruction in a city being overrun by some of the creatures seen on the back of the Main cover. But as her narration states, “This is not how our story begins…” and the story goes back in time one week. Jess has no friends because her father works for Cosmos Labs, which doesn’t employ many people with families, so she’s on her own when dad’s not around. What happened to mom isn’t said, but I’m sure it’s coming. After eating her breakfast of Fruity Pom-Pom cereal (great name!) she takes her board out for a ride. The perspective then switches to her father who’s being pestered by a military man who wants results after all the money that’s been given to Dr. Anders for his time and space experiment. Jess arrives on the scene and then stuff happens. This was a really fun story by Cullen Bunn for anyone of any age. I picked this book up because of its resemblance to Jack Kirby’s Devil Dinosaur comic, and Bunn just brought all the fun from that old book into his book. This book has the military, a “rebel” of a daughter, a super laboratory, a cast of hundreds, and a giant terrible lizard! This could have been played straight, but Bunn is just having fun with these characters. Highlights include the last panel of Page 15, the second panel on 18, the fourth panel on 20, and the reaction to the name on 21. The final page is all that I could have hoped for in a tease. Just a blast. Overall grade: A

The art: A giant monster book that focuses on a giant dinosaur has got to be fun. The visuals have to be playful, yet maintain the immensity of the characters. The opening three pages show that Drew Moss is the right artist for this book: giant monsters, chaos in the city, people running, debris flying. Monster stomping fun in every way! After this initial madness, the story goes into the normal, boring world of Jess, and Moss does a great job with this. He makes things as humdrum for the girl as possible, but sneaks in a bit of the sci-fi with a shot of her living quarters from the outside. The laboratory is fantastic! AIM or Hydra would kill for these facilities. When the title character appears it’s big, bold, and loud. I love Wrex’s reaction shots, which are the same pages I mentioned in my story review. Additionally, the splash page on 14 is perfection. What an introduction! I didn’t think Moss could make this any better until I got to the last page and saw what’s soon to be in the pair’s immediate future. I can’t wait! Overall grade: A

The colors: The title character is wonderfully bright in orange and brown. Every panel he’s in, regardless of its size, he dominates with his colors. That’s as it should be with a character this big. And I have to stand and give some applause to Ryan Hill for that bright red gum line on Wrex that only makes the comedic moments all the stronger. The opening three pages make great use of yellows and oranges to highlight the destruction that’s occurring, and this makes the transition to Jess’s home all the more dramatic, with its bland blues. Sound effects are also colored well, with yellow being used the most to stand out against the dark backgrounds. Hill is doing a super job on this. Overall grade: A 

The letters: Opening title and credits, narration, dialogue, sounds, and yells are expertly done by Crank! I like how the two leads’ sounds have that street graffiti look to them. Overall grade: A

The final line: The only thing terrible about Terrible Lizard is waiting 30 days for the next issue. This is hoot, hollering fun with giant monsters, army men, and scientists. Christmas has come early from the past. Overall grade: A

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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