Jurassic Park: The Devils in the Desert #3 (2011)
By: Tristan Jones on April 5, 2011  |  Comments ()  |  Share 
Cover Art
Writer: John Byrne
Art: John Byrne
Publisher: IDW
Up until now, Jurassic Park: The Devils in the Desert has only been very loosely tied to the core Jurassic Park story presented in the three movies: genetically deviant Pteranodons have flown across from the islands of the movies and come to roost in the mountainous regions of Southern California's deserts. This leads to trouble for the locals (come on, did you really expect - or want - anything else?), but now, as the series draws to a close, the ethically dubious company behind the creation of Jurassic Park's main attractions enters the picture, making a book that until now seemed only tangentially related to its source material come full circle.

I know I've said it before in other reviews, but there's a stigma attached to licensed comics that is arguably justified. Some companies tend to use licenses as a quick and easy option, putting out any old garbage that takes the basic premise of whatever property it's based on and giving just enough to rope in fans and cash in on a name without really taking a look at the product going out there, but thankfully some companies like Dark Horse, Boom! Studios and IDW Publishing (there are more) have started to really up the game when it comes to licensed comics, and Jurassic Park: The Devils in the Desert is a great example of this.

Continuing his surprising and very solid run on the book (surprising only because John Byrne was the last name I expected to see on Jurassic Park), Byrne's penultimate issue is probably the most eyebrow raising of the lot. No, it doesn't do anything controversial - nobody gets killed (actually, they do, but you see it coming), raped or anything like that - but what's interesting is that for a four issue mini-series, this issue feels very conclusive. There's another issue to follow, but given how this issue plays out, it's really left me scratching my head as to how this book is going to end. Our team of heroes has managed to contain the core Pteranodon problem (with the uninvited help of the InGen corporation), and all that remains is to round up the stragglers still roaming SoCal, but with the majority of this issue being focused on the chasing down of the errant pterosaurs, I can't imagine Byrne retreading the same territory to close the story off. Anyway, we'll look at that when the final issue hits, let's see what we've got here.

As I said, the majority of this issue focuses on the tracking down and capturing of the rogue Pteranodons, and InGen going into damage control over the whole debacle. We also get the rather predictable involvement of a handful of "good ol' boys" looking to bag themselves a pterosaur, but seeing stock characters like these cop it is usually worth their irritating appearance. There's a twisted sense of gratification in seeing one of their numbers having their head taken off and another having his face mauled. All you gore-hounds out there might be a little disappointed though, this isn't Dinosaurs Attack!, and much like the Jurassic Park films most of the hard violence and gore is off-panel. It doesn't make things any less effective, and it probably wouldn't feel like Jurassic Park if we actually saw what was happening or what people were looking at.

Byrne's art and presentation of events still holds up as strong as it did in the previous two issues and the scripted dialogue does have that slightly elevated sense of reality to it that the films had as well. None of it can really be faulted, as even characters or moments that might seem clichéd fit right in with the Jurassic Park universe and are pretty much expected of a book like this. In fact, the only real problem I had with this issue was a minor one during one of the death scenes, and all that was was a simple panel choice (you get what's going on, the image itself just felt a little awkward).

I realise this is probably the shortest review of the lot, but there's not all that much to the issue; we get a really solid chase involving four wheel drives and mutant Pteranodons across the Southern Californian desert, we get a brief glimpse inside InGen HQ and we're left a cheeky tease of what's to come in the final issue and still, looking at the structure of this issue, the last line of dialogue and the preview for the conclusion - I have little clue what that last issue's going to entail outside of polar bears and an aeroplane.

On it's own, it's not much (outside of the great art) but definitely worth reading with the other issues and so far Byrne's take on the property has been the most interesting to date. Three and a half stars on it's own, but this is still gunning as a top tier read collectively.
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