|Dark Horse Comics Launches Rexodus
Dinosaurs never go out of style, they just go extinct. Except according to Rexodus, they never did that, either.
Instead, the highly advanced thunder lizards of Dark Horse's new title for kids escaped the Earth. More specifically, they ran fighting a terrible menace they call the Black Blood, oily and evil. It calls itself The Darkness, and it turns Disaurians into evil versions of themselves.
Only the courage of their greatest warrior, K'vark, saved them as they fled. His last words to his son Kelvan: "Don't let the universe tell you who you are."
Wise words from a father to his son, whose journey to define himself carries through most of this first graphic novel in what should be a fun series. And I'll admit that the theme of fathers and sons resonates pretty well with me.
Kelvin Sauridian accidentally puts himself into deep sleep on Earth, waking millions of years later when a team of industrialists rediscovers The Darkness.
It's a brave new world for Kelvan and for Amber, the human girl he has to save from his ancient enemy. In a whirlwind adventure scripted by James Farr, the two get picked up by a scout ship from Kelvin's people. During Kelvan's sleep, his father has passed into legend and reverence, and his people have evolved, but not as much as they think.
On Terros Secundus (Earth is Terros Primus), the Disaurians have a society both space-faring and agrarian. That seems fitting when you have the genetics for both savage predators -- still hinted at underneath -- and peaceful plant-eaters.
And though the world-building done by Farr (with input from a team of concept creators) and artist Jon Sommariva is pretty impressive, it's the cast of characters they create that really resonate.
Their personalities are pretty distinctive, and if I were a kid, I'd probably be able to tell you exactly what dinosaurs they're based on. Suffice to say that they're all colorful, creatively rendered, and I like the scout ship pilot the best. Farr gives him some clever and poignant one-liners that might accidentally mine the philosopher in a young reader.
The adventure itself gets a little side-tracked in the politics of Terros Secundus, especially with the urgency of the menace back on Earth. But part of that is the world-building, and the panoply of Disaurians keeps things engaging.
And here's the thing -- it really is a great concept, aimed at an audience that Dark Horse has rarely pursued before. The publisher is better known for horror heroics like Hellboy, and for great licensed comics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and, until last year, Star Wars. If they caught kids' attention, it was more collateral than intended.
But Rexodus should change all that. It's got a great hook -- dinosaurs on spaceships with lasers, saving the Earth and roaming the galaxy. I know I shouldn't think like this, but I do -- this would make a great animated series. Though it has a little darkness to it, it's really not more than shows like Ben 10 or even (though not nearly as goofy) Gravity Falls. Kids are getting used to it.
And these would make a killer toy line. The Black Blood is more purplish, so you could make a fun ooze (that toy NEVER goes away) to battle -- let me say it again -- DINOSAURS WITH LASERS!
On top of everything else, as a story, Rexodus leaves things pretty wide open as to where it could go. Future installments could explore Terros Secundus, Earth, or ...somewhere out there. Is there a dinosaur-based constellation? My son would know.
And that's the thing -- this is a book I can't wait to show my son. Maybe his opinion would carry more weight. Dark Horse has made this a pretty reasonably priced package at $12.99 for a 96-page graphic novel.
My guess is that it's worth every penny because kids will go over its pages again and again.
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