SMALL PRESS REVIEWS AND CEREBRATING LIFE'S LITTLE WONDERS
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Review -- BLASTOSAURS: WELCOME TO FREAK OUT CITY PART ONE
Blastosaurus: Welcome to Freak Out City Part One
(Richard Fairgray / Terry Jones / Tara Black)
Mutant Dinosaurs! Robots! Time Travel! Action! Gore! Science! Jokes! Annoying Kids! You get all this and more in New Zealand writer Richard Fairgray's Blastosaurus: Welcome to Freak Out City Part One. It's a club sandwich of comics, it's got layers, man, layers.
The story revolves around a mutated triceratops who, I gather, is trying to save us from a gang of mutated raptors, an evil corporation, and a future dominated by robots. That, and along the way avenge the brutal murder of his mother. It's an origin tale as much as it is an introduction to all the aspects of the larger story line, and it moves and it grooves through introductions, characterizations, and narrative time slips. There's a lot going on in this first issue. As Blastosaurus says, “ya gotta pay attention cos it gets complicated.”
Blastosaurus is an all-ages title as much as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was an all-ages title, but it has got some unique quirks that make it stand out, the time-travel aspect of the narration being the most interesting. This first issue is told simultaneously in the past, present, and future. Fairgray does a remarkable job of keeping his reader fixed through these time changes with his coloring – the future is notably gray, as one would expect it to be in a world ruled by robots, while the past is full of lush and plump greens and browns. For the present, interestingly, Fairgray goes beige adding a soft familiarity to the comforts of home.
While focused on the heroic story-line of the Blastosaurus character himself, Fairgray and Jones also seem to be enamored with their side characters. From the pathos of the time-traveling scientist who's partially responsible for the ensuing tragedy, to the interactions between the wise-cracking and irritatingly cute kids who are bound to play an important role in this book, each one of these characters is alive, full, and realized. Though painted in broad strokes, there is a certain level of detail work in their portrayals that add a third dimension to their easily flat cliches.
By creating the fully realized worlds of past, present, and future, and populating it with actual people (be they human or mutated dinosaur), Fairgray and Jones have set a fictional stage full of fantastic possibilities through which we can easily maneuver.
So while crime-fighting, time-traveling, mutated dinosaurs may not be the most original story being published right now (the fact that I've just written that opens up a rather startling realization, now that I think about it), Fairgray and Jones bring a personal touch to this tale; they know when to caress, when to tickle, and when to punch.