Thursday, 29 October 2015

Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens Review (Grant Morrison, Mukesh Singh)


Aliens arrive on Earth during the time of the dinosaurs – what happens next? Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens. 

Wow. I had to keep checking the cover of this one. Grant Morrison wrote this? THE Grant Morrison? Wow. I think I’ve found the worst Grant Morrison book ever! 

This comic was created purely as a storyboard for a potential film option. Barry Sonnenfeld, the director of the Men in Black movies among others, says as much in his introduction. He had a meeting with his then-new agents, the William Morris Agency, who suggested he create his own creative properties to sell to studios – comics are really big now! etc. So he came up with some half-baked idea about a Native Americans/European settlers analogy starring dinosaurs and aliens and hired Grant Morrison to write it up and Mukesh Singh to draw it. Real creative, Barry! 

Because the dinosaurs are the Native American stand-ins, they wear war paint, jewellery and armour – fucking DINOSAURS! How did dinosaurs create any of this shit?! They have talons and claws not digits! How did any of them paint the intricate patterns on their skins and why would it occur to them to do anything like make-up or armour?!!?! 

Singh’s art is actually quite nice – very cinematic, epic and detailed. The concept art at the end is clearly meant for Sonnenfeld’s film. Except it looks like when it came to the aliens’ designs he literally went to Alien and ripped off HR Giger’s space jockey! The other aliens have this generic robot-spidery look anyone familiar with sci-fi will have seen before, and there’s a heavy Predator influence in the alien hunters. Not very imaginative at all, but then that’s representative of this entire endeavour. 

There is no story. Morrison attempts some hackneyed crap about survival which is beyond tedious and then the rest of this slim book is taken up with shots of the T-Rex chomping on first smaller dinos and then aliens. Ho hum. He really doesn’t make this concept work beyond what any reader hearing the title would expect. Amusingly it says on the last page “End of Part 1” – aww, they thought there’d be a demand for more! 

Morrison writes in his introduction: “In a year or two when the whole world's talking about this whole immense dinosaurs versus aliens thing you'll be digging this out and boasting how you saw it here first.” That was four years ago. A quick look on IMDb shows the project as vaguely “in production” and the plot is “unknown” which, having read the book, is actually a very accurate description! 

Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens is pure cynical commercialism in the vein of Cowboys Vs. Aliens (which also started life as an incredibly shoddy comic). I assume the critical and commercial failure of the latter is what put Sonnenfeld’s movie in production limbo – good! Garbage like this shouldn’t be rewarded! Also, I expect this kind of crap from Mark Millar but not Grant Morrison so I’m disappointed he’s stooped to that level. Like most books blatantly made to spin a quick profit, Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens is complete rubbish – basically avoid anything with “’Something’ Vs. Aliens” in the title!

Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens

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