Analysis of Dinosaurus
Warning! Some spoilers ahead!
If you’ve looked over the more recent posts of the site, you’ve probably noticed I’ve gotten into Robert Kirkman’s Invincible comic. I can’t help myself, it’s just that good.
And one of the bigger characters to show up in issue #68 is Dinosaurus. Yes, you read that right probably. Similar to Marvel’s character The Lizard or Batman’s Manbat (Yep), Dinosaurus is a villain that goes from a somewhat innocent human then transforms into a giant animal of some kind. In this case, a dinosaur-like creature.
A lot of readers saw his appearance and importance around issue #100 to be a bit random, as Dinosaurus hadn’t been given a backstory or been established much past his goal of wanting to kill a lot of people to help save the earth and it’s future generations. But I think there’s a lot more to this character than Kirkman lets on, whether he meant to or not.
Though the details may be vague, what we know about Dinosaurus is that he transforms from a scruffy looking “kid,” whose age isn’t given but he looks to be late high school/early college years. With the lazy stoner appearance, this is a drastic change when he inexplicably turns into Dinosaurus, the red dinosaur humanoid whose sole purpose is to kill as many people as he can to make room for future generations whose supplies would otherwise be used up by wasteful humans in the present.
At one point he nukes the city of Las Vegas, instantly turning the entire area from the neon-lighted city of sin to pure glass. This act, actually took no lives as he’d literally scared everyone out of the city. And from this, a massive solar powered plant was created, in the process creating thousands of jobs. It’s what cause Invincible to think that Dinosaurus actually had a point and wasn’t just some scaly megalomaniac. Not that he’s not that, but there’s more to him.
And remember what makes Dinosaurus transform from a lazy kid to the destructive red beast he is? Indifference.
Anytime the kid goes into a state of indifference and stops caring, this is what he gives birth to- Dinosaurus. When I first read that, it just seemed funny. “Okay.” I thought. “Moving on then.”
But then I started thinking about old people are often called dinosaurs and why. That’s when I was reminded that the villain is meant to be the opposite of our hero in the first place. While Invincible is a younger man, full of hope for what the world is and what he can do for it, Dinosaurus doesn’t care about the current state and wants to better the world for the future by destroying and doesn’t even mind killing.
While the kid that turns into Dinosaurus says the he’s “pure evil” Mark “Invincible” Grayson remarks that he doesn’t think Dinosaurus is pure evil, but pure intelligence.
And yet his alter ego is a kid that isn’t shown to have much going for him while Invincible is going nonstop all the time, constantly trying to save the world. There’s not much shown to the kid and he’s not even given a name, but when he wakes up, his attitude is that of a hung-over teenager, worried about what’s happened in his unconscious state.
So we’ve got the kid on one end of the spectrum, seemingly lazy. And we’ve got Dinosaurus on the other- unstoppable, brilliant, and cold to human life.
And then there’s Invincible right in the middle. It’s even an ongoing plot point that Invincible’s Viltrumite race is not only strong but violent as well. And those around him, specifically Cecil (We’ll get to him), are quietly worried that Invincible is going to exhibit more of his people’s behavior, as time goes on, to achieve his goals. After all, it’s what his dad, Omni-Man, did after being on the planet for twenty years of supposedly protecting humans and it’s what Invincible had been becoming; more prone to violence when solving problems. Mark began to wonder what the good of letting certain villains live is when they just come back and hurt more people. An understandable thought.
So while the kid isn’t shown to have much of a life, Dinosaurus is calculating and brutal, and Invincible walks a line that’s becoming increasingly hard to see. Hasn’t it seemed like older generations have black and white solutions to things that aren’t as simple as they’ve made it out to be? People bicker and argue about global and political issues endlessly, but the older way often disregards any emotional appeal in favor of what “should” be done and often times it leaves out the human element.
The first thing that comes to mind is the war in the middle east, where often times a “kill’em all” stance is taken, much like the dinosaur’s outlook on the current inhabitants of earth.
It’s also important to note where Invincible was during this time in the stories. He started off as most superheroes do; ready to fight and morally upstanding. He does his best to make the right choice as often as he can and he’s mostly succeeded in everything he’s done. And while some he’s had to make a few hard decisions along the way, he’s been able to get away with doing the right thing and nothing hanging over his head.
But when he finds out his government connection and friend, Cecil Stedman, has been lying about some pretty serious matters involving Invincible’s former villains not rotting in cells but working for Cecil, he’s pissed, naturally, which leads to a falling out. Invincible is under the belief that the right thing to do should always been done and there’s no room for the gray area…which is where Cecil lives.
What does this have to do with Dinosaurus? Well, before the solar power plant was created, Invincible sees Dinosaurus as just another villain. But he can’t help but tell himself that Dinosaurus was actually right when he sees all the good that’s come from a seemingly bad thing. He even goes so far as to break Dinosaurus out of prison (which pisses Cecil off, of course) to work with him and try to make the world a better place in ways other than just punching bad guys in the face.
And eventually it blows up in Mark’s face, as Dinosaurus is okay with murdering innocent people, not just destroying uninhabited cities. It’s here he realizes that “the gray area” isn’t a place where people who don’t know how to make a good decision go to excuse their bad behavior, but it’s where we all lives as humans from time to time. Everybody makes decisions they’re not happy with but they didn’t know what else to do. Or maybe they thought it was the right thing at the time but look back and know a better choice could have been made.
The way I see it, Kirkman is telling us that indifference in your younger years can turn you into a an old, unsympathetic dinosaur in your later years. Not literally of course, but looking at the hero can tell us everything we need to know-
Invincible isn’t perfect but he does have a life he cares about, while his vision for the world needs to remain a hopeful one, regardless of the bad things that happen in it. We’ve seen what happens with Invincible’s alternate universe selves(They’re bad), and Invincible’s own race (They’re also bad), but he doesn’t quit trying to do the right thing.
Invincible even points out to Dinosaurus that it won’t do future generations any better if you don’t care about the people that live here now. It’s when you stop caring about the people that make up this planet is when your reason for living is a cold and unforgiving one that doesn’t have a purpose.
Invincible isn’t always right but he’s always trying to do the best thing while Dinosaurus had been choosing the “right” answer that left no room for the people he was trying to save.