In Review: Terrible Lizard #4

Terrible Lizard is everything you could want in time travelling monster fights.

The cover: Wrex, with Jess on his back, turn slowly to see what’s decided to make its presence known behind them. The big lizard doesn’t look like he’s up to the task in battling this newest challenger. All that’s seen of the creature are two lobster-red legs that are standing atop some trash. I’m liking this cover by Drew Moss and Ryan Hill. The building and all the debris before it is well done, informing readers that something major has gone down, while the look on Wrex and the lobster legs tell them the fighting hasn’t stopped. Good coloring too, by Hill. I like how the background is rendered in different pale blues to make Wrex, the title, and the unseen foe stand out. Well done. Overall grade: A 

The story: Wrex continues to take out mutant buggies, with the city paying the price for these conflicts. Still riding on his back, giving advice to the heroic monster and narration for the reader, Jess continues to be in the center of all the action. The first page shows one of the nasty bugs coming at him from the front, while another comes at his backside, though that one pays the penalty for sneaking up on him from behind. The dinosaur throws the crunched bug at its companion that’s still closing in for the kill, taking it out. Once the two mutant bugs hit the ground they begin to glow and then disappear, just as the giant ape did in a previous issue. I love Cullen Bunn’s narration and dialogue for Jess. Page 5 has her thinking, ‘Could my life get any more weird? You know, something tells me I’m gonna regret asking that question,’ just as another bug swoops by. When the bugs are dispatched, and let’s be honest–that’s not a spoiler, the soldiers then demand that Jess get away from Wrex. She continues to be the beast’s protector against humanity’s threat and I wouldn’t want her to do anything else. Four pages of the monster mayhem are interrupted by Jess’s father and Colonel Grayson who are trying to take Wrex down. Each is acting just as you’d expect a guilty scientist and a hawkish soldier to behave, though there is a storyline dangling at the end of Page 17. I can’t wait to see what the soldier has up his sleeve. There’s tons of monster fighting-stomping goodness to keep any fan of giant monster movies happy. Overall grade: A

The art: I want my giant dinosaur comics to be have fights between strange, giant monsters. The trick of this book, for the artist, is to keep the monsters from looking like the classic Toho creatures. Drew Moss has created a cornucopia of creatures to combat our heroes, and they look great and are unique. He combines and mutates familiar creatures into delightfully disgusting foes. I was loving the mutant buggies from the opening sequence, but was aghast in joy at the double-pages splash of villains created on 14 and 15. If the book had ended there, I would have been more than happy, but it doesn’t and I was ecstatic. There’s another double-paged spread on Pages 18 and 19 showing Wrex taking down even more creatures and it’s great. It looks so good, my brain was instantly inserting music to accompany the carnage. I never thought an artist could get an emotion out of a dinosaur, because–let’s be honest–they don’t exactly lend themselves to smiling or showing fear. Darned if Moss hasn’t done this successfully on the title character. I can tell when Wrex is angry, concerned, or frightened, and it makes him all the more relatable. The best page has to be the last one with the cover creature fully revealed, and the minions bouncing/flying about it are fantastic. This is a wonderfully drawn book. Overall grade: A

The colors: Ryan Hill’s contributions to this book are great. I have no logical explanation for it, but the oranges used to color Wrex make him lovable. If he were any other color, I don’t think he would be as cool. Using those colors makes him seem like a giant Labrador Retriever that you want to pet. Granted, Wrex wouldn’t tolerate thiat from anyone but Jess, but the coloring makes him so pleasant. The colors of the creatures include every gross hue of the spectrum: glossy and sick green, putrid violet, grey, black, and rotted cephalopod pea green. Even better than this motley collection of colors are Hill’s lighting effects when a dead or dying monster has to disappear. It looks powerful and it looks great. Hill is hitting all the right marks for me. Overall grade: A 

The letters: Opening title and credits, narration, sounds, and dialogue are done by Crank! They look great, and Crank! really excels at the sounds. Each monster has their own unique font, which is awesome, and he is masterful in the fourth panel on Page 17 with helicopter fire and a creature’s bellows. Reading this book’s sounds aloud will put a smile on anyone’s face. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Terrible Lizard is everything you could want in time travelling monster fights. The dialogue is fun and the art fantastic. Get this before it steps on you! Overall grade: A

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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