Tag Archives: Steve Englehart


There’s no mention of it on the cover along with Michael Golden‘s image, nor in the editorial. In fact they’re still offering subscriptions to the comic, and there are just two little ‘The End’ captions attached to the final panels of each strip. But this is the last issue of Jurassic Park. As discussed last time, new publisher Manga Publishing knew this was going to be the end, so it’s rather misleading of editor Dick Hanson not to edit out the subscriptions!

We finish what was originally Dark Horse International’s series with another 40-page issue, although the inner 32 pages are of pretty poor stock compared to previous issues. Story wise the back up is the second half of last month’s Xenozoic Tales story, but first we’ve the final part of the four-issue American mini-series ‘Raptors Attack’, which is what is referred to on the cover. As mentioned before this meant nothing to us UK readers because we didn’t know how the comic series was broken up into mini-series over there, so this just confused us.

The first chapter of the mini-series was called Rush! but the following three had much more imaginative titles that changed to match the evolving storyline. Back in #14 we had Animals/Men, then Animals/Gods and this issue’s final story is Gods/Men as the now wild Velociraptors once more become the stars of the strip. Written by Steve Englehart who has been responsible for every chapter since the adaptation ended, it’s again pencilled by Chaz Truog and inked by Paul Fricke, letters are by new addition Brad K. Joyce (Marvel What The..?!, The Ren & Stimpy Show, The Sensational She-Hulk) and Renée Witterstaetter colours and story edits.

For a final chapter there’s more background character information than actual plot. There are quite a few pages given over to the history between Robert Muldoon and the late George Lawala, how even though they were rivals Lawala saved his life so Robert will avenge George’s. I don’t see the point in this at this late stage and it’s all rather predictable. Much better are the pages given over to developing our dinosaur characters Alf, Betty and Celia, mainly through a lengthy dream sequence as they finally sleep in peace away from us apes.

Clearly we’re getting a translated version of the information their mother passed on to them, correctly identifying the humans behind Jurassic Park as apes. The resting ‘raptors (only three of them left now) continue to dream about being captured and losing their family, reminding them that humans are their enemy. We get more chances to see them acting as regular wild animals too, drinking, playing and basically living and enjoying life. Then we find out one of the tribal men from last issue has survived and finds his gods, who are tempted to kill him as they did the rest, although he’s making such strange hand movements they begin to feel uneasy and take off instead.

“They’re so alien, so different from us — maybe they are gods — because it’s sure that we’re only men…!”

Dr Alan Grant

He was trying to warn the ‘raptors of the humans nearby, our main characters, and how they were in the area to hunt his gods. Drs Ellie Satler, Alan Grant and Ian Malcolm have joined Muldoon as he hunts, the three of them making it very clear they are not there to kill. There are local villagers tagging along to help and Muldoon comes across as a bit of a racist, although thankfully called out on it by Alan. I really don’t like this version of the game warden character from the film and novel. Much more entertaining, as always, is Ian.

Still flirting with Ellie, despite Alan being right there, it’s clear it’s meant in good jest and his continual talking annoys Muldoon which is a bonus. Yes I still have a bee in my bonnet over the return of Muldoon and I’ve already gone into the ridiculousness of his survival. Here, it’s also explained that the reason the ‘raptors already had a family of adolescents was because they were able to escape their cage in Jurassic Park, find a secluded spot to lay their eggs away from the humans and then… went back inside their cage?!

Clearly this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. It could easily have been avoided by having a larger gap between the end of the movie and the beginning of the comic’s continuation instead of picking things up only three days later (back in #6). The whole series hinges on these animals so it’s annoying to read this so-called explanation, it kind of ruins the whole set up. It’s ill-conceived and reads as a lazy way of getting the action going. Add in Muldoon’s survival and this official sequel is contradicting the movie it’s based on more and more.

Shoving these inconsistencies to the back of my mind, the race towards this particular story’s climax is exciting. They track the Velociraptors to a part of the jungle separated from the humans by a long rope bridge. Muldoon is stopped from sniping them from afar by the locals, which attracts their attention. The ‘raptors sprint across the bridge to attack, coming face to face with an unarmed Ellie first of all.

Due to Ellie and Alan’s capture alongside the dinosaurs in previous issues and being forced to tend to Celia’s wounds, they’ve formed some form of cautious bond with these creatures. Indeed, we’ve seen Celia stop her siblings from killing them. But it looks like Alf and Betty no longer care about this. They’ve suffered enough at the hands of the apes. In the first of the two pages below I particularly like the ‘raptor on the bottom left, it’s a classic pose from the films and really gets across their ferocity.

Then the unthinkable happens. 

This genuinely shocked me. I half expected Muldoon to fire at this point despite currently being attacked and restrained by the villagers and it was still sad to see one of them fall, despite the fact they were about to attack. However, who actually fired was the shocking part! This went against everything Alan stands for, everything he was trying to achieve. But he had no choice, it was either Betty or Ellie.

This was always the dilemma in the Jurassic franchise, the danger of these wild animals against the need to preserve them, to understand they’re just acting naturally, to nurture their instincts and let them be themselves. But of course, a little bit of Chaos Theory always got in the way and made it more exciting for us. In the end Muldoon is subdued by the villagers and the ‘raptors are poised to attack again, no longer in any mood to discern friendly human from foe. But the villagers and their strange movements jump in front of them and kneel before their gods.

With the death of their sister, the confusion over friend and foe and now these strange people Celia and Alf decide to take off. There are only two of them now. They know they’re the only ones but the world is a big place, so they run across the bridge, chew at its ropes to collapse it and head off in search of more of their kind. The last word is left to Alan Grant.

In America readers got another mini-series and an annual before a short-lived ongoing monthly, altogether another 14 stories which we never got here. In fact, it wasn’t until I was researching the comic’s origins for the blog that I discovered there had been any more after this. Back in the 90s it was a couple of months before I realised the comic had officially finished, what with it having taken a lengthy break before between #10 and #11 and of course the Christmas season kept me busy after this issue.

When I eventually realised the next issue was overdue I went back and checked and of course there was no date for its release, but as discussed above there wasn’t really any finality either. But I have to say I ended up really liking this ending, with the three ‘raptors out in the wild they could pop up anywhere in the world. Who knew what chaos could be sowed from having extinct creatures back in the world. In fact, 24 years later this was how Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ended.

Before this comic series is over there’s the small matter of what caused the future cataclysm in Mark Shultz’s Xenozoic Tales: History Lesson, written and drawn by him and coloured by Christine Courtier. It was renamed Cadillacs and Dinosaurs for these final issues (although a story has been chosen without dinosaurs) because the cartoon based on Mark’s comics had begun in the UK, but these are the original comic strips, so the blurb on the cover is somewhat misleading. So, do we get our answers as promised last month? Annoyingly, no.

My annoyance isn’t Mark’s fault though. This was an early story of his, meant to drop hints, not offer an answer. It was this comic’s editor who decided to use it as a finale and hype it up for Jurassic Park readers last time. As a result of this I’m feeling rather short changed.

Hannah discovers a shell of an atomic bomb in the secret library within the catacombs and we’re led to believe this is what caused the world to basically end. This is also what some of those present believe. However, researching the books it then transpires the world was on the cusp of nuclear war when the cataclysm happened and stopped it, so it was a separate event (thus no straight answer). Then the library descends into chaos in a way that’s scarily prophetic of where we find ourselves in the world right now.

Hannah and most of those present know the bomb is just a shell. It’s been dismantled and emptied, they know it didn’t cause the cataclysm because of facts in the books. However, there are a band of people who don’t care about facts and instead believe the bomb itself is ‘evil’ and should be destroyed, even if that means taking the library and the entirety of human history with it, along with everything they could learn about their history, the actual cataclysm and how they can overcome it.

In other stories in this enjoyable back up it hinted that the cataclysm was caused by climate change, not least thanks to Hannah’s disgust at Jack’s garage of old cars. These mechanical relics may have been converted by Jack to run on dino doo-doo but they were referred to as being partly responsible for the destruction in the first place.

The Jurassic Park comic was a big deal to me as a teen and I’ve really enjoyed reliving it 28 years later

Back to this issue and Hannah’s frustration is palpable and I can imagine how this would’ve read in the early days of the original comic, so that’s how I’m reviewing it, instead of the disappointing climax it was never intended to be. She pulls a gun on one of the workers and demands to be taken to the sluice gate where she’s able to stop the flood and save about half the books from being completely destroyed, almost losing her life in the process.

Read in the correct order this would’ve solidified Jack and Hannah’s friendship (and perhaps more) for Mark’s original readers, with Jack’s concern for Hannah written as being something of a surprise to him. Then, as you can see on this final page he doesn’t understand the importance of the books, putting the two characters back to being at odds with one another as their relationship developed. Unfortunately we never got to enjoy this aspect of Xenozoic Tales because all our chapters were out of order.

So that’s it for the UK’s version of Jurassic Park. Back in the 90s the movie’s comic sequel was left hanging yet at the same time it felt like the perfect end. Taking these characters and dinosaurs so far outside of the confines of the movies had enthralled me and they’ve held up really well. Yes, I didn’t like the contradictions to the original film and so sadly by the end the strip simply can’t fit in with the movie sequels anymore.

Steve Englehart had been given free rein to do whatever he wanted, which is surprising given the high profile nature of the new franchise and the fact Amblin knew Michael Crichton was writing The Lost World novel. Clearly, having two sequels being written at the same time was never going to work. The Jurassic Park comic was a big deal to me as a teen and I’ve really enjoyed reliving it 28 years later.

The final back page finally announced the release of the movie on VHS to buy, which I’d very gratefully receive for Christmas in a special fossil box (you can see an image of it in the original introductory post), and let’s not forget you could also buy it on Laserdisc! How 90s.

As I close this final issue it’s reassuring to know that I’m not done yet with Jurassic Park on the blog. This isn’t the end, only a bit of a pause.

There was another, short-run UK Jurassic Park comic a few years later that I only recently discovered, so watch out for that in 2023 and while I can’t see me being able to collect the rest of Xenozoic Tales, thankfully the same isn’t true of the main strip. IDW reprinted the series in graphic novel form over a decade ago and I’ve finally been able to collect the ones I needed to finish the story. I haven’t read them yet, I will when I’m covering them but I’m sure they’ll make an excellent addition to the blog. They’d better, given what they cost!

“Spared no expense.”


Another exciting cover from Michael Golden, right? Shame it has absolutely nothing to do with what’s inside. In fact, Drs Ellie Satler and Alan Grant don’t even see the Velociraptors, none of our regular human characters do, so this is a somewhat misleading choice by editor Dick Hansom to pull readers in. That’s not to say the strip isn’t entertaining, it’s just not Ellie-holding-on-for-dear-life entertaining.

After last issue’s ‘Animals/Men’ story comes Animals/Gods!, as ever written by official sequel scribe Steve Englehart with the same art team as last time I’m very happy to say. Chaz Truog is on pencils, Paul Fricke is inking, letters are by John Costanza with Renée Witterstaetter bringing it all to colourful life as well as being story editor.

We have two completely separate stories happening here, our people becoming reunited while the ‘raptors enjoy life as wild animals. Things kick off with the dinosaurs hunting down a cheetah. Naturally the big, powerful cat comes off the worst against these new-old predators but it’s still a thrilling chase. We get four pages of Alf, Betty and Celia living free, ending with them relaxing as they finish off their meal, having a roll about in the sun and simply enjoying time together as a family unit without us humans ruining everything.

They really are the stars this issue, but then Alf starts to become ill, sneezes and collapses. During the human half of the story we find out there’s been a severe flu virus going around and both Alan and Robert Muldoon have come down with it. As Ian Malcom suggests, the Velociraptors aren’t predictable, they aren’t simple free animals (despite the animals thinking this themselves). Interacting with humans, something dinosaurs were never meant to do, will change them.

Ian’s scenes are the most interesting in the other half of the story. I still take issue with Muldoon having survived and his explanation just doesn’t make any sense, completely contradicting what we saw with our own eyes in the film. It’s also rather insulting for the reader to see him up and about perfectly fine, yet have Ian tells us he was laid up in hospital for months on end with his injuries, and he didn’t have a raptor’s jaw squeeze his skull! Anyway, we have to live with this for now and we find out Muldoon knew big game hunter George Lawala, the man whose work started this whole mess back in #7.

What I do enjoy though is any chance Ian Malcolm gets to talk Chaos Theory. If you haven’t read Michael Crichton’s original novel I highly recommend it for the pages and pages of monologues we get from Ian describing the intricacies of Chaos and his predictions for the park. It’s fascinating stuff. The movie did a great job of distilling these into short little scenes to get the essence across and here we get something of a cross between the two extremes. It’s clear Steve has gone back to the original source material when writing this.

That’s basically the entirety of the human story this time, to give some context to the story of the ‘raptors who take up a whopping 19 of the 27 pages of Jurassic Park strip. As I said, they really are the stars this time. We catch up with them as a local indigenous tribe watches these unknown animals succumb to their illness from a safe distance, believing them to be their gods taken animal form. Celia realises they’re being watched and attacks but despite the anger in her eyes she’s too weak to take them all on, reminding us that she may have shown a kindness towards Ellie last time but she’s still very much the same animal.

She finds a dead, sacrificed animal and tries to drag it to her siblings but struggles to do so and collapses. We get a few pages of the tribe gathering around their gods, feeding them elixirs, bringing idols of worship, generally looking after them and taking part in religious chants to impart strength. A long time passes and slowly they return to full strength. The tribe gather tentatively but it doesn’t quite go as they’d thought.

Everyone is slaughtered, but not eaten. These human creatures are now the enemy after all they’ve done to them. It’s as simple as that. The chapter concludes with the Velociraptors disappearing off into the jungle once more, one simple caption underneath: ‘It’s good to be free and wild again…’

While I do enjoy seeing the ‘raptors portrayed in this way I have to say this is probably the weakest of the strips so far because not enough happens. The main bulk of the story could’ve been told in a fraction of the pages without losing any of its impact and the human half is simply a (albeit good) speech by Ian and that’s about it. It feels like a stop-gap, like the comic was taking a beat while it puts the pieces into place for the next story. Transformers would sometimes do this for example and you’d know what it was up to. But with the gift of hindsight there’s one key difference here: the next issue is the last.

At the end of the strip is the line, ‘Next: The Thrilling Climax!’. As a teen I just thought it meant the end of this particular story before the next one kicked off, so this issue’s breather felt like it was gearing up for an awesome finale with the Veliciraptors before leading on to further adventures with the human characters. I now know this meant the end of the comic. Only for UK readers though, which I’ll get into next time.

It’s sad to think this real time read through is almost over

While not designed as the penultimate story it was for us and in this regard it’s lacking. Previous back up strip Age of Reptiles told a better story in a fraction of the pages in any one issue, which is a hard thing for me to say because I’ve been such a fan of the main strip up until the moment they brought back Muldoon, and now it feels like it’s padding itself out, treading water. Maybe it’ll make sense next month and read better as a result, but as it stands this was a fun strip but not worth the 26 pages it took to tell it and would’ve worked much better as a shorter, additional back up.

Moving on and after an advert for the soon-to-be-relaunched Manga Mania (now that the new publisher had gotten their hands into it properly) we move on to Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, or Xenozoic Tales by another name. History Lesson is one of those rare things, a quite lengthy story by creator Mark Shultz (coloured by Christine Courtier), lengthy enough for it to be split into two parts over these final two issues. Taken from #4 of Mark’s original comic it takes place before some of the strips featured already in Jurassic Park.

In fact this picks up directly from the story in #7 and didn’t make a lot of sense to me at the time. It made it seem like they’d had all these other adventures before realising Gorgostamos was missing. I now know better but in the days before having the internet to research it just felt off. Obviously it wasn’t Mark’s fault. What is also not his fault is the fact nothing much of consequence happens here either. Perhaps when both halves are read altogether the story will be much more interesting, but it’s cut off before it gets going.

After finding Gorgostamos’ remains Tenrec and Hannah debate whether the Grith killed him in order to save them, and Hannah once again wants to know more (remember, this happened long before last month’s story). Tenrec tells her of catacombs underneath the city where a library has been found, guarded by keepers of knowledge who don’t want outsiders let in. They fear that with knowledge of how to rebuild humans will just cause another cataclysm. Hannah insists on seeing it and these ten pages are about Tenrec meeting with allies to get them inside. Then, just as they do get in the story frustratingly stops for now.

The only really exciting part is the caption beneath the final panel! As a teen I looked forward to finding out the mystery once and for all but now, knowing the previous strips were actually later chapters in the story and the mystery wasn’t solved in them, I don’t think we’re going to get as many answers as this suggests, which actually makes me all the more intrigued as to what the caption means. If it gives at least a hint of what happened (or maybe the answer without the characters knowing) then at least that would explain why it was used as the final story for this comic.

I may have been none the wiser but it’s clear the new Manga Publishing knew the end was nigh, even if they were still offering subscriptions on the contents page. It’s sad to think this real time read through is almost over. This is the first issue I’ve been disappointed with as a whole, but after 15 of them that’s not a bad track record. It feels like no time since I was reviewing the very first issue and thinking back the comic has changed a lot in a relatively short amount of time. Let’s hope for a spectacular send off. Well, a send off for the time being anyway. I’ll elaborate in #16’s review on Thursday 3rd November 2022.


It’s all change this issue as Dark Horse International has now become Manga Publishing. The UK arm of Dark Horse had gone out of business but the success of its Manga Mania comic and the rapidly growing interest in the UK for the art form saw a purchase of the titles and a rebranding across them all. (The company changing hands could account for the delay between #10 and #11.) I’d assumed all their comics were cancelled by the end of 1994 but Manga Mania (at #15) would carry on all the way through to #39. Jurassic Park wouldn’t be so lucky.

But at least this temporary reprieve enabled our comic to reach a decent ending point in #16 instead of just stopping on a cliffhanger (I’m looking at you, Havoc!). Michael Golden’s cover would’ve been better suited to last month’s issue but it’s still a striking image, even if it’s somewhat disappointing to lose that distinctive border on the left. You’ll notice ‘Cadillacs and Dinosaurs’ is mentioned, is this a new back up strip? Not quite, as you’ll see below. Finally, the mysterious free gift mentioned last issue ended up being temporary tattoos, long lost to the mists of time.

The contents page retains its atmospheric design and still offers up subscriptions so the plan must’ve been (initially at least) to carry the comic on for some time to come. In reality, the boast of “Now With Extra Pages” on the cover meant we were up to 40 pages which, while a good increase over the previous three, is only four more than we had in the first ten issues. It does mean we now get a full chapter of the American story per issue though, with the aforementioned back up bringing up the rear.

There’s now a whopping 26 pages of Jurassic Park to enjoy but it’s still listed using the name of the US mini-series comic it was taken from, rather than the name of the story itself. This was confusing because we were unaware of the mini-series’ name, so to the uniformed (like me) it looked like laziness on the part of UK editor Dick Hansom, like he didn’t check what the strip he was printing was called. As you’ll see over the course of this and the next two issues, Animals/Men was the beginning of a trilogy of stories, the title of each a variation on this theme.

It feels very much like the Jurassic Park movie had been given a cartoon makeover in the same way Ghostbusters had with The Real Ghostbusters

As you can see the art team has changed. Steve Englehart is still the writer of this official sequel, John Costanza is still letterer and Renée Witterstaetter remains as colourist and story editor. However, joining them are penciller Chaz ‘Atlas’ Truog (Green Lantern Corps, Animal Man, Coyote) and inker Paul Fricke (The Fly, El Diablo, Secret Origins). At the time I was a little disappointed in the change from the more scratchy, hard-edged artwork but nowadays I absolutely love this.

Even Renée’s colouring appears to have changed to suit the new style, boldly coloured backgrounds highlighting each frame. The cartoonier style put me off initially as a teenager but it did grow on me. Today, it feels very much like the Jurassic Park movie had been given a cartoon makeover in the same way Ghostbusters had with The Real Ghostbusters. It’s great. It’s a lot more animated and dynamic, and as you can see having better defined facial features means our characters now actually look like cartoon versions of the actors.

Drs Ellie and Alan Grant attempt to escape from Rafael’s compound deep in the Columbian jungle but accidentally set off a hidden alarm, in response to which Rafael immediately unleashes his supposedly trained Velociraptors. Trying to escape their reach up a tree, a vine Alan clings to is grabbed by one of the ‘raptors and suddenly he finds himself flat on his back, exposed and an easy target. That is, until Rafael catches up.

During the attack we find out Alan and Ellie have named the dinosaurs. The alpha is called Alf, the beta is Betty and the injured ‘raptor who is still within her cage is Celia. If this rings a bell you’re not alone. Much later in Jurassic World, released 21 years after this comic, Owen Grady named his four Velociraptors after the second to fifth letters of the alphabet too (Blue, Charlie, Delta, Echo, with Owen as the ‘alpha’). Was the movie inspired by this comic, or was it just a coincidence? Either option is likely.

Having game warden Robert Muldoon alive and well is just stupid

Ellie and Alan are ordered to return and look after the injured Celia, who continues to let Ellie do so, knowing she saved her life. But our doctors think if she wasn’t restrained they’d be on the menu. They’re very aware of how they’ve romanticised the dinosaurs’ place in nature, but they’re still killers. This leads on to a dark scene in which one of Rafael’s men suggests they take it in turns raping Ellie to relieve their boredom and he’s immediately shot and killed by his boss, telling his men to feed him to one of the ‘raptors, so he clearly wants his creatures to maintain their taste for human flesh. But why?

Then, after all the action, tension and interesting story developments the strip unfortunately takes a turn for the absurd.

Even as a teenage reader I didn’t find this to be the thrill it was hyped as on the cover and my opinion hasn’t changed since. Having game warden Robert Muldoon alive and well is just stupid. Remember that “clever girl” scene in the movie? He looks awfully healthy after that, doesn’t he? What elaborate explanation is given for him surviving a Velociraptor jumping on top of him and apparently eating his head? He raised them. I hate this. Not only is it ridiculous to think he survived but if he did it completely ruins that whole scene in the movie.

According to #10 Ian Malcolm had to spend months in a hospital after his injuries but Muldoon gets the kind of return we’d expect from a superhero comic that finds some trick to retcon a character’s demise. I remember feeling let down by this but thankfully it isn’t dwelled upon beyond this one page (for this issue anyway) so we can get back to the meat of the story which is much, much better.

“It seems ‘raptors can remember a kindness”

Celia’s training commences but she isn’t cooperating. She responds to commands but doesn’t go for the head of the human-like hay dummies like the others, instead biting an arm or leg, never going for the kill. The ever-paranoid Rafael thinks it’s a trick but we’ll find out the real reason soon enough. Meanwhile the government’s leader is planning to announce new indictments against him in the murder of dozens of law enforcement officials, and the next day as the judges leave the courthouse a van pulls up and out of the doors rush Alf and Betty!

During the attack an electrical cable is damaged which zaps one of them. As the two animals looks quizzically at the electrical sparks they come to realise something and they run off. Rafael’s men can’t take control, somehow the ‘raptors realised the collars were no longer being controlled, the broken power lines causing interference. Free of their painful, torturous shocks they immediately run back to free Celia, taking out with relish the men who previously had all that power over them.

They kick in the large metal doors holding their sister and in no time at all everything has changed. Rafael had thought he was in control, but during the execution of his own plan something unpredictable happened and within minutes all three of the dinosaurs are free to roam and hunt, killing Rafael and the remainder of his men as they unsuccessfully try to shock them into submission once more.  Another perfect example for Ian Malcolm’s Chaos Theory.

We see Celia wince from the shocks, but the others’ collars no longer work well enough to stop them. When Alan and Ellie come out to see what’s happening and make their own escape they’re cornered by the three ‘raptors. Alf and Betty prepare to pounce, after all these two humans are just another part of all this, but in a surprising moment Celia steps up to stop her sisters, even though she isn’t the alpha herself.

I remember this aspect of the story. Celia stopping her sisters from attacking Alan and Ellie would resurface and emphasised (once again) how the Jurassic franchise treats its dinosaurs as real animals rather than simple movie monsters. Was this also why she wouldn’t ‘kill’ the hay dummies? Does she no longer see all humans in general as prey? Either way, it’s clear the ‘raptors saw Rafael as a means to an end, to get out of the compound to freedom. The sly looks at each other and the development of their own characters over previous issues now clear with hindsight.

This was even before the Tyrannosaurus rex got off Isla Nublar to run amok through San Diego looking for his baby

The story ends on a superb cliffhanger as they take off into the jungle; three Velociraptor out in the wild, on the loose! Of course, this is now the conclusion to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and the starting point for the final film in the series, Dominion, but this was published in 1994. As a teenager this was even before the Tyrannosaurus rex got off Isla Nublar to run amok through San Diego looking for his baby in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, so I can’t emphasis enough how excited I was for the next issue back then.

Despite the unnecessary return of Muldoon this was a hugely enjoyable adventure strip for Jurassic Park and one of the best so far, reading like the proper sequel to the original film it was intended as. It’s certainly a worthy follow up, continuing to build upon its story month after month and now, with the new art style bringing a freshness, a larger sense of excitement and better representations of the characters, I’m looking forward to seeing where it all leads.

After a huge chunk of dino action the issue is rounded off with Foundling, our nine-page back up Cadillacs and Dinosaurs strip. A quick glance at the first page will show regular blog readers this is actually Xenozoic Tales (second back up in six issues from #4) under a new name. The Cadillacs and Dinosaurs cartoon series was based on creator/writer/artist Mark Shultz’s cult comic and had just started broadcasting on the Cartoon Network in the UK, so while the strips were still the same, the cover and contents page changed the name to try to entice fans of the cartoon.

Christine Courtier is back on colouring duties and, while I miss Steve White’s colours, in an episode told mainly in flashback Christine’s darker, more atmospheric palette perfectly suits the story. Again Jurassic Park is selective about which stories from the original comic series to reproduce (page count could be a major reason) and in this case we jump forward to #6 of Xenozoic Tales, missing out a handful of tales from the last time we saw Tenrec and Hannah.

“I could feel his hot breath on my neck, then he galloped past me as if I wasn’t even there.”

Hannah Dundee

At points the story is actually a flashback within a flashback. Hannah is telling Tenrec about Maia Abrelatas, a lady whose son went missing years before when he was only three-years-old. She’d begged the governors to renew the search but they’d refused and Tenrec apparently just looked on as they did so. Within this flashback we flash back again to the time when the boy went missing out the back of her home. Later they’d found hyena tracks and blood and concluded he’d been dragged inland, where it was too dangerous for humans in this future world populated by dinosaurs.

Back to the original flashback and Hannah went out to track him after Maia saw him at her window. The governors dismissed this claim but Hannah found a child’s footprints and tracked them. She was almost about to turn back after a day when she eventually found him. Unable to speak, the boy instead drew words using stones, each letter inside a square. This instantly reminded Hannah (and me) of the Grith using Scrabble tiles to communicate with Tenrec. Just like them the young lad can understand her but can’t speak.

Above, the dinosaur that charged her was just a distraction (she does comment how this was strange for that animal) because she then lost the boy in the think forest, spotting him latter with the Grith far off in the distance. Continuing to track them to the entrance of a cave the scene below is terrifically designed by Mark, full of atmosphere and thrills. The story ends with Hannah confronting Tenrec, his association with the Grith and apparent nonchalant attitude earlier leading her to the conclusion he knew about the boy all along.

It turns out the Grith saved the boy after he was mauled by the hyenas and raised him, but now they can’t let him return home because he knows too much about them, even thinks like them. However, he’s at that age where his curiosity is putting him in a dangerous position as he tries to find out more about his origins, so the only solution is for them to take him far away from his mother and for Tenrec to continue the lie. What started out as another adventure strip ends on this heartbreaking reveal, which is a complete surprise.

Then, so it doesn’t end on too much of a downer the last two panels reveal all that horror faced by Hannah was actually the Grith trying to make sure she found her way back home, all finished off with Tenrec being his usual, casual self and asking about food. I’m sure any child buying the comic after watching the cartoon would’ve got a bit of a shock at the tone and the mature storytelling. As a Jurassic Park comic reader this is a great return to the unique and original Xenozoic Tales, no matter what name the editor gives it.

The last three pages are all advertisements, beginning with the latest issue of Manga Mania which I mentioned earlier and the first issue of a new comic based on the Street Fighter II videogame which was all the rage. I saw this and thought that couldn’t have lasted long but I was wrong, Manga Publishing in the UK released 16 issues altogether, the same as Jurassic Park in the end. I know which one I thought deserved to run longer though.

Finally for this month there was big news for fans of the movie on the back page.

I love the way the Velociraptor‘s eye is made to look like the amber that was so important to the film’s plot. Even though I visited our local rental store every single Saturday (because it was closed on Sundays you had the tape for twice as long for the same price) I never rented Jurassic Park. The reason was simple, I knew I was getting it for Christmas to own so I wanted to wait for my own copy before seeing it again for the first time since the cinema. So I waited (im)patiently instead.

While getting a much lengthier main strip was exciting I still prefer the comic’s three-strip format. To this day my favourite issues belong in that first handful after the sequel began in #6. But with hindsight, knowing we’ve only two issues left I’m very glad it changed so we could get three more full stories before the rug was pulled. The next of those stories will be reviewed inside Jurassic Park #15 on the blog on Thursday 6th October 2022.