Review: Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians #1 (Dark Horse)

IMG_8008.JPGPublisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Ricardo Delgado
Artist: Ricardo Delgado, Ryan Hill (Colours)
Release Date: 3rd June 2015

Surely, the greatest test of any artist in the comic medium is to attempt to convey a story simply through the power of the images, to drive a narrative through the art, convey emotion, intent and motivation without the use of words. That is exactly the task Ricardo Delgado has undertaken here in ‘Age of Reptiles’, a story that centres on a lone dinosaur making its way across the ancient African continent.

Initially, the concept threw me for a loop, but after a quick reset of my expectations, I soon became thoroughly engaged in the story. This is not simply a gallery of fantastically rendered prehistoric beasts (which it certainly is) there is also a compelling narrative at play, and an ‘anti-hero’ to root for. It brought to mind the work of Ray Harryhausen in those old monster movies, and how he was similarly able to elicit our sympathy through his expression of certain creatures (King Kong, for example) as a ‘heroic’ figures, by placing them in dangerous situations opposite a threatening, imposing ‘villain’. Given that I care what happens next in the story, it would seem that Delgado has been successful in establishing a meaningful premise.

Some neat design sets the central character apart, and for me, he’s the John Rambo of dinosaurs (yeah, I’m making that a thing!). Clearly a veteran of many battles, he’s heavily scarred and his demeanour keeps potential predators wary, and weaker animals at a safe distance. His story is epic in scale, and as such requires a large canvas, so it’s fitting that Delgado’s story plays out within large cinematic widescreen panels for the most part, whilst he controls pacing through a fairly diverse range of layouts. It’s a richly populated world he’s created, from the dense vegetation of the jungle floor, to the murky depths of the river bed there are creatures of every size and shape, and the naturally balanced colour work by Ryan Hill really helps bring the world to life.

Conceptually, ‘Age of Reptiles’ is perhaps not the kind of book I would actively seek out, but I was genuinely surprised by how quickly I became engrossed in the story. I’m not really sure of it’s broader appeal, but with the release of ‘Jurassic World’ sure to spark interest, it might be the perfect time to give it a go. Highly recommended for all ages.

Rating: 4/5.

MDAVThe Writer of this piece was: Martin Doyle
You can follow Martin on Twitter
You can check out more of Martins reviews and thoughts on random retro things over at Retromuse

1 Comment on Review: Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians #1 (Dark Horse)

  1. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this blog.
    I really hope to view the same high-grade content by you in the future as well.
    In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own website
    now ;)

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