CAPTAIN RAPTOR AND THE MOON MYSTERY
Jurassic Park meets Star Trek meets Captain Nemo in this sci-fi comic about high-tech dinosaurs, which balances tongue-in-cheek cheesiness and earnest enthusiasm. After "a flash of light races across the sky and disappears on the dark side of Eon ," Planet Jurassica's "most mysterious moon," Captain Raptor (yes, the veloci-kind, wearing body armor) goes to investigate. He and his reptilian sidekicks, including the brainy half-robot Professor Angleoptorous, rocket to Eon in their sleek silver spaceship, the Megatooth . They crash-land in the ocean and withstand an attack by a giant octopus, vanquish their foe and emerge topside, where they encounter a laser-gun-toting team of human astronauts. Meticulously drawn panels chronicle the adventure, with rectangular inserts providing edge-of-the-seat exposition and hearty dialogue. O'Brien's (Fantastic Flights ) naturalistic watercolors parody museum murals of dinosaurs, while his outer-space images recall the pulp covers of sixties sci-fi novels.
O'Malley (Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude , reviewed Feb. 21) gamely alternates between hysteria-tinged suspense ("Could this be the end of Captain Raptor?") and gallantry ("Onward to the stars!"), with plenty of time out for pyrotechnics. Derivative though it is, this outrageous yarn will please the Dinotopia crowd. Ages 5-up. (Mar.)
Release date: 03/01/2005