- Written by Patrick Gleason & Peter J. Tomasi
- Pencils by Doug Mahnke
- Inks by Jaime Mendoza
- Coloured by John Kalisz & Wil Quintana
- Cover by Doug Mahnke
“RETURN TO DINOSAUR ISLAND” part one! Father and Superson work on a science assignment with bizarre consequences that transports the pair along with Krypto to Dinosaur Island! Now, amid relics of World War II, Superman tries to keep Jon from the jaws of prehistoric predators! Worse, Kal-El can’t find a way to fly off the Island.
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So I can safely tell that you after the ending of the previous issue this is not where I expected ‘Superman’ to go! ‘Return to Dinosaur Island’ is an interesting sideways step in the storytelling most likely taken to allow more time to explore the relationship between Clark and Jon.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record this is another of DC Comics heavily characterised stories. It shifts focus away from big action set pieces, dinosaurs aside, and instead concentrates on finding its heart.
Of course ‘heart’ and ‘legacy’ are two words heavily banded around by DC creatives during the launch of ‘Rebirth’. These were two aspects that were felt to be missing during the ‘New 52’ era.
The story itself is a little contrived: Jon and Clark are working on a science project at the Fortress of Solitude, their experiment goes wrong and they end up on an island inhabited by dinosaurs. It sounds like something from a science fiction B-movie and it is.
As reader we are also still adjusting to this new Superman so taking him out of the action alongside the rest of the Justice League is a good idea to give us some alone time. I find him to be more likeable than the New 52 Superman, the New 52 version felt more adolescent and emotionally vulnerable. ‘Rebirth’ (or post-Crisis) Superman is much more the hero we deserve.
Jon is also the antithesis to ‘Batman’ comics Damian Wayne. He’s much more balanced and relatable. Damian may be a crowd pleasing character but taking a step back he’s little more than an arrogant child with some serious martial arts training. Jon is more the typical child with the added struggle of trying to control his powers.
Interestingly this is the first issue not to feature Lois heavily and I didn’t miss her. It would have been too heavy handed not to have brought her to this universe with her husband and child. But that doesn’t mean that she has necessarily found her place in the world. I hope there is a grand plan for how to help her be more of a typical Lois rather than a bored housewife.
Wit’s Doug Mahnke behind the pencils I feel much more comfortable with the artwork in this issue. Previous issues have suffered from overly exaggerated figures and very round facial features. Mahnke is a much more predictable artist in that his work is very realist. There’s a flow to his work which makes it much more visually pleasing.
The island itself allows for some more interesting locales than the farm where the family currently live. Yes we’ve been to space in this series already but I struggles with the way it was rendered. This issue evoked the feeling of watching films like ‘The Land That Time Forgot’ or ‘When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth’.
‘Superman’ #8 is a surprisingly good read. An unexpected story which really brings focus on to its characters rather than their powers. It’s a great beginning to a father-son story wrapped up in a classic sci-fi setting.