Xenozoic!

Xenozoic is a post-apocalyptic tale by Mark Schultz. Dinosaurs and other extinct creatures have repopulated the planet, and mankind is no longer the biggest and baddest hunter around. The story follows two characters: Jack Tenrec and Hannah Dundee. Their adventures span everything from surviving encounters with monsters in the wild, to the political intrigues that constantly plague the human tribes. Xenozoic offers entertaining stories and very good artwork.

Though stories of dinosaurs repopulating the earth after an apocalypse caused by man’s negligence may not sound like the winning mixture for a story, the adventures portrayed by Mark Schultz prove to be exciting and the characters lifelike and vibrant. The stories do have a linear plotline, even though they are episodic. Shultz does a good job in developing his world, and the environments that his characters must survive in are very believable while still being extraordinary. Also, Schultz creates believable characters, giving them unique personalities and motives that come into play throughout. Though some may find his “evil politician” and “man must protect nature” messages a little cliché, Schultz still manages to weave stories that do not feel silly or preachy. Schultz’s stories mostly have clean dialogue but do have some profanity. Most of the violence is not overly graphic in Xenozoic though a sequence where a man “mutates” is pretty grotesque. Despite the fact that the stories are mostly devoid of inappropriate content, I do need to mention a few things. First, there is a sequence where both Jack and Hannah have nightmares, triggered by poisonous gas, in which they are nude. Finally, and sadly, there is one panel towards the end of the book which depicts Jack and Hannah having sex. This inappropriate content ruins what would otherwise be a clean, acceptable story.

I will be frank, the main reason I even picked up Xenozoic in the first place was for Mark Schultz’s artwork, and Xenozoic does not disappoint on that front. Mark Schultz has a wonderful brush and ink style that is unique and yet reminds me of the quality of art found in many older comics such as Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant and Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon. His comic panels, especially ones packed with action, are very fluid, and none of his images suffer from a feeling of stiffness or awkwardness despite a high level of detail. Mark’s panels are easy to follow, and his skill with the brush is so great that he can easily tell whole sections of stories without dialogue.

Xenozoic by Mark Schulz presents an entertaining story and exceptional artwork. The stories contain interesting characters and settings, and with the exceptions of the inappropriate content already listed, offers clean reading. Mark’s artwork is very well done. Overall, I have to say that this book was entertaining, but because of the nudity and sex I cannot recommend it as wholesome or worthwhile.

Sincerely,

-flint-

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