While the iconic heroes and villains of the DC Universe have been reinterpreted and reimagined in a plethora of different ways over the years, they may have just received their wackiest iteration yet in The Jurassic League. Written by Juan Gedeon and Daniel Warren Johnson and illustrated by Gedeon, the six-issue miniseries takes place in a prehistoric world where many of the familiar heroes and villains reign as towering dinosaurs. Judging by this first issue, readers are in for a freewheeling good time as long as they sit back and let the escapist fun wash over them with this brutishly original take on the DCU.
Set millions of years in the past, The Jurassic League #1 takes place in a primal fantasy world where early humanity and dinosaurs coexist in the untamed wilds. As villains begin to menace both dinosaurs and humans alike, a coalition of dino heroes forms to defend the planet from these sinister threats, forming an impromptu team. However, this team rallies together just in time to realize that there are far greater enemies that have targeted their world, including fearsome foes that come from across the cosmos.
Gedeon and Johnson know exactly what kind of story they're telling here, favoring bombastic action over any semblance of paleontological accuracy in their use of dinosaurs in this iteration of the DCU. There is plenty of dinosaur-on-dinosaur action here, with superhero origins and rivalries reimagined to fit the story the creative team is telling, while still wholly recognizable with the traditional DCU. Johnson and Gedeon waste no time in immersing readers in this cretaceous take on the DCU, introducing the core heroic trinity while setting the stage for even grander proceedings and redesigned familiar faces to follow.
Working with colorist Mike Spicer, Gedeon has depicted this prehistoric world as a particularly raw and violent one, albeit not too unsavory in its bloodletting. This isn't a world where its heroes cleanly punch or tackle enemies through skyscrapers, but one where they bite and claw their opponents for primal supremacy. Heroes are recognizable on a surface level, but the dino design comes strikingly first, with the familiar iconography and mannerisms woven in later. This isn't a story of Jurassic Park meets the Justice League, but one where Jurassic Park is the Justice League. That important distinction is unmistakably clear as the dinos rally together when their world needs them the most.
Yet, for all the primal rage permeating through the story and its characters, there are signs of genuine heart in this land that time forgot. The creative team instills a steady sense of suspense leading into big fight sequences while occasionally meditating on the horrors of this primeval world. This isn't to say that The Jurassic League isn't powered by blockbuster action, but it also knows how and when to breathe and check in on its characters before teeing them up for the next major conflict coming up on the horizon.
The Jurassic League #1 is a case of the premise being a completely accurate representation of what readers are getting, albeit one crafted with obvious passion for storytelling from its creators. The hero and villain dinosaur designs are effective in evoking their classic counterparts while leaning into the Mesozoic mayhem that's set to unfold, with this opening issue providing a promising taste of the action and heart set to come. For anyone that always kept sight of that childhood fascination with dinosaurs, the ultimate reinvention of the superhero genre and DCU is here to entertain and present its iconic heroes and villains as they've never been seen before.