|AGE OF REPTILES: ANCIENT EGYPTIANS No. 3, August 2015|
Graphically brutal and undoubtedly not for the squeamish, Ricardo Delgado immediately imbues “this exciting new [third] instalment of the multiple Eisner Award-winning series” with an aura of grisliness by depicting the harrowing mutilation of a Carcharodontosaurus foolish enough to blunder into a herd of Paralititan with the corpse of the sauropods’ long-dead infant still lifelessly dangling from the carnivore’s maw. Surrounded, and arguably ambushed, the solitary dinosaur quickly finds itself easy pickings for the agitated gigantic herbivores, and despite its name meaning ‘shark toothed lizard’ is quickly upended and then grimly crushed by an avalanche of phenomenally heavy Titanosaurian hooves.
Such outright savagery is easy to comprehend, and even sympathise with, considering the ‘grief-stricken’ parents’ feelings for the arrogant killer of their younglings. But hauntingly the “kid from the East San Fernando Valley” has an even more gruesomely gory fate in mind for the defenceless theropod, as its quivering, partially disintegrated large frame is methodically picked to pieces by the smaller predators of this deadly realm whilst it’s still actually alive…
Interestingly, having established such a violent tone to this twenty-four page periodical’s narrative, and later reaffirmed the harshness of his Prehistoric world by having a pack of Rugops Primus molest a nursling Carcharodontosaurus, Delgado does somehow also manage to incorporate a little ‘loving’ tenderness into the comic’s storyline courtesy of a disconcertingly affectionate male Spinosaurus placing some carrion beside his mate's muzzle. This scene is so delicately delivered that there momentarily seems to be some genuine feeling developing between the two huge flesh-eaters; a mutual appreciation which is reiterated at the end of the book when the Spine Lizard fends off a voracious pack of Primordial crocodiles attacking his docile partner’s nest.
Notably the Los Angeles-born artist doesn’t just lavish the entirety of his considerable drawing talents upon just depictions of dinosaurs violently tearing one another apart either. For Issue Three of “Age Of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians” is absolutely packed full of some incredibly detailed panels which not only portray everyday life within the Cretaceous period, such as fish swimming through murky, heavily-weeded waters and lightning strikes bringing down both flora and fauna simultaneously. But also focusses upon tiny confrontations between Crustaceans and Pteranodons, as well as the comic’s cast running in between the illustrator’s actual breakdowns.
|Story, Art and Dinosaur Color Concepts: Ricardo Delgado, and Colors: Ryan Hill|