REVIEW: Neozoic: Trader’s Gambit #1


Neozoic: Trader’s Gambit #1 is the latest offering from Red Five comics, continuing the tale of dinosaur fighting and fisticuffs delivered in the first Neozoic volume. Does this comic have teeth? This Major Spoilers review has the answer.

NeozoicTradersGambit1CoverNEOZOIC: TRADER’S GAMBIT #1
Script: Paul Ens
Art: Jae Korim
Colors: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: Troy Peteri
Publisher: Red 5 Comics
Price: $3.50



Previously, in Neozoic: 65 million years ago, a meteor did not hit Earth. 65 million years ago, dinosaurs did not go extinct. In the current day, mankind tries to thrive in a world filled with giant, man-eating lizards and underground-dwelling telepathic albino people, protected only by giant walls and the Predator Defense League.


The first Neozoic volume was a fun read, a good piece of pulp about athletic people with swords jumping around on dinosaurs and generally kicking ass. There was a little world-building, some political twists and turns, but the selling point was the action. Paul Ens’ second foray into the world of Neozoic continues that trend. Rebuilding amidst the fallout from the first series, most of the characters in Trader’s Gambit are undergoing training as new members of the Predator Defense league while ace dino-killer Lilli Murko is tasked with guarding a trade convoy. And she’s still kicking around with a telepathic albino child who has the handy ability to mentally control dinosaurs. To be honest, most of these characters are broad as a barn, and the plot in this first issue is paper-thin.

However, the first volume had a rather slow build, but gained steam on the way to a satisfying conclusion so perhaps this miniseries will follow suit. With three more issues to go, it will need to do so quickly. But when all is said and done, this series is mostly a vehicle for interesting and inventive action featuring sword-on-dino mayhem. This issue delivered plenty, so I cannot complain too much. I was definitely entertained, as Neozoic: Trader’s Gambit is a no-frills, pulp adventure that knows how to deliver fun.


The major selling point of Neozoic is the art. It’s not perfect. The color scheme is too muted at times. For some reason the speech bubbles are rendered in varying shades of brown, a stylistic choice that is brave but does not actually work. But those are essentially the only flaws; Jae Korim’s art is fantastic. This sort of title lives or dies by the energy an artist can bring to the page and Korim brings it in spades. The style is a little rough and sketchy, but very detailed with some clear manga influences. Korim is at his best when he’s illustrating movement. He has a good understanding of what makes an exciting page as he couples dynamic blends of close and long shots with a clear sense of space. His character work is appealing and attractive, too.


If you’re looking for a comic book where people punch the crap out of dinosaurs, Neozoic: Trader’s Gambit #1 is unquestionably the series for you. It makes no pretensions beyond being a delivery vehicle for high-octane, dinosaur-involved action set pieces. If you haven’t caught up on the series, I highly recommend getting caught up with the first trade paperback, but you shouldn’t be too lost if you jump on here. Neozoic: Trader’s Gambit #1 is a fun, fast-paced, energetic read. It earns four out of five stars. Check it out.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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