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Alien Bones by Chris Wyatt and Chris Green (graphic novel review).

October 21, 2019 | By | Reply More

Spaceships! Aliens! Dinosaurs! Pirates! Mix ’em together and what do you get? Well, in the hands of writer Chris Wyatt and artist Chris Green, a competently presented thriller aimed at young adults but with enough pizzazz to engage older readers as well. When schoolboy Liam loses his palaeontologist father in what appears to be an accident, he teams up with his best friend, a classroom joker and a friendly robot to find out what happened. In the process they get tangled up with cyborg space pirates, mysterious portal gems and an alien conspiracy dedicated to preventing the end of all life in the universe.

While the summary as presented here sounds a bit daft, the underlying premise is actually pretty cool. Dinosaurs, in the sense of giant reptiles, having evolved on many different planets and, that in most cases, they went extinct. Xeno-palaeontologists unearth their fossils and, in doing so, learn more about the processes that produced intelligent life on different worlds.

What the protagonists discover is that an ancient alien species has been preserving populations of dinosaurs, alongside other alien life forms, whenever mass extinctions took place. Unluckily for our heroes, the next species lined up for extinction is humanity.

The threat, while existential, is handled gently and the peril is implied more often than shown. So the book is definitely something younger readers would enjoy, from around age 10 upwards. Similarly, the artwork is bright and more cartoonish than gritty and the scary aliens consequently dark and creepy-looking rather than menacing or bloody.

Once the boy, Liam, is reunited with his father, the story more or less morphs into the typical hero’s journey. Having been informed of the situation and then entrusted with suitable allies and devices to help him complete his mission, he sets off to prevent the impending apocalypse.

There is a nice twist here in that his starting point is one of sanctuary and he has the option of staying here with his father and best friend, but immediately chooses to return back to the real world. On top of that, the cyborg pirate returns, having been humiliated earlier on by these ‘pesky kids’, complicating things further.

Surprising alliances and a reminder not to judge rivals or even pirates too harshly are quickly folded into the ending. Indeed, the ending, while not exactly forced, is perhaps a bit sooner than adult readers might expect, given the lively cast of characters and factions drawn up at the start. But as a book aimed at younger readers, the tidy ending and relatively low body count probably make sense. Overall, a quick, pleasant read and warmly recommended.

Neale Monks

October 2019

(pub: 1First Comics, 2019. 176 page graphic novel. Price: $24.99 (US), £19.61 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-61855-340-9)

check out website: www.Devilsdue-1first.com

 

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Category: Comics, Scifi

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