Written by Christian Bischoff
Ricardo Delgado returns with Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians, a new book that follows the daily life of a Spinosaurus in Prehistoric Africa. The comic features the characteristically detailed artwork of Delgado, who made a name for himself with his earlier work on the Reptiles series, (which garnered him two Eisner awards) as well as his successful turn as an artist on blockbuster hits like The Incredibles and Men in Black.
The book is a peculiar one, in the same style as his earlier Reptiles books. The comics are purely art-based, with no text throughout other than the title and the credit page. As a result, the comic relies completely on Delgado’s art to progress the narrative, an unorthodox form of storytelling in the comic book world.
The comic is named for a mural in the Yale Peabody Museum depicting the nearly 350 million years of history that dinosaurs ruled the earth. A scarred Spinosaurus serves as the protagonist of the issue. The book follows the creature’s struggle for survival in a seemingly routine day. The dinosaur battles with Brontosauruses, devours fish fresh from the stream, and fights off rival predators. The storytelling is purely visual, and relies solely on art work and the reader’s intuition to convey the tale. As a result, the story is relatively straightforward and free from any nuance.
Any reader craving a lively or compelling story will be left wanting by this comic, as the story itself is propelled linearly, with nothing more than a visual representation of lessons on dinosaurs most people learn of in grade school. The comic is more of an art showcase than anything else, a thin story used to showcase skillful and detailed art.
As a comic book artist, Delgado is a noteworthy master, using beautiful and vibrant artwork to weave a wordless tale. Fans of Delgado’s former work should expect delight when perusing the incredibly detailed panels featured in the first issue of this four part miniseries. Newcomers to the series may not have as pleasant an experience, as the book itself is largely lacking in any major storyline beyond that of mere survival.