Everything is better with dinosaurs. Whether it’s movies, amusement parks, birthday parties, or the Marvel Universe, adding dinosaurs is always an improvement. Maybe I’m still a 9-year-old boy at heart, but I’ve never fully grown out of my dinosaur phase. That’s one of the reasons why Fantastic Four #12 (written by Ryan North and penciled by Iban Coello) was such a joy to read. Between television shows like Loki and movies like Across the Spider-Verse, we’ve spent a lot of time exploring the Marvel multiverse. Well guess what – what if I told you that there was an entire reality where every Marvel character was a dinosaur?
If your first thought is “Holy mother of Kirby, I want to visit that world,” then you’re in luck. Fantastic Four #12 gives us a guided tour, and I’m going to break it down for you.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Fantastic Four #12
Who are the Dinosaur Avengers?
While investigating a mysterious portal, the Fantastic Four get sucked into a vortex that lands them in another world. They’re surprised to find themselves surrounded by dinosaur versions of the Avengers. I know you’re probably all curious about which type of dinosaurs they are, so here’s a brief breakdown.
- Iron Man – Brachiosaurus
- Black Widow – Quetzalcoatlus
- Thor – Parasaurolophus
- Captain Marvel – Lambeosaurus
- Captain America – Spinosaurus
- Doctor Strange – Shantungosaurus
As you can see in the images, each of the dinosaurs has their own superhero uniform. I never knew how much I needed to see a Brachiosaurus in Iron Man armor until Iban Coello penciled it. Well played Marvel
This reality isn’t a prehistoric jungle, or a mysterious 'lost in time' realm. This is a world where dinosaurs never went extinct, and humans never evolved. We see New York City with sprawling skyscrapers. Airports, hospitals, and science labs all exist. In fact, as the Dinosaur Avengers compare notes with the FF, they quickly realize the history of their realities are identical, minus the dinosaur extinction.
For example, the dino version of Doctor Strange studied sorcery after injuring his hooves instead of his hands. Like her human counterpart, Black Widow’s dino variant is a former assassin who became a superhero. The dinosaur Tony Stark explains how he built his armor to escape terrorists. By the way, this means dinosaur terrorists exist, and now I can’t stop thinking about them.
We don’t see Galactus, but we’re told he looks like “a big purple dinosaur.” I can’t hear those words in that order without thinking of Barney, so now I’m imagining the planet devourer singing 'I love you, you love me.' Folks, this comic has electrified my imagination.
What's next for the Dinosaur Avengers?
Do you think this dinosaur world is fun and exciting? Well, I hate to break it to you, but these dinos are in danger of becoming extinct. Reed and Dino-Iron Man run some tests and learn that the mainstream Marvel Universe is colliding with this world, which could destroy both realities.
The Fantastic Four are pretty good at solving problems like this, so I’m sure they will find a solution. However, the path to victory won’t be easy. The cliffhanger to Fantastic Four #12 introduces a dinosaur version of Doctor Doom, and it’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex in Doom’s traditional armor. As if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, the cover to Fantastic Four #13 features an Alex Ross illustrated image of Doctor Doom riding the Doom-Dinosaur. This may be one of the greatest comic book covers of the past decade.
The solicitation reads, “Two universes, human and dinosaur, are colliding - and if one universe isn't sacrificed, then both will be destroyed! And making matters worse, an incursion point between universes has swapped the dinosaur and human versions of the Fantastic Four! But there is another incursion point elsewhere...in Latveria. And Doctor Doom has plans of his own - after teaming up with the only person in the universe he can trust...himself! The FF and the Avengers are brought to their knees, and only the Brothers Grimm can save the day! Plus: The dinosaur Fantastic Four versus the Avengers!”
All of that sounds exciting, but I’ll be honest, I was going to read the book no matter what the solicitation said. The cover has Doctor Doom riding a T-Rex Doctor Doom, how could anybody skip this?
Dinosaurs in the Marvel Universe
Dinosaurs have always been a big part of the Marvel Universe. This makes sense, since Marvel regularly deals with adventure, fantasy, and action. Those genres practically beg for dinosaurs to be included. For example, there’s the Savage Land, which acts as a lost world where extinct dinosaurs roam. Anytime writers need to use a Skull Island or Jurassic Park type setting, the Savage Land is the standard destination.
A few Marvel villains are dinosaurs themselves. Stegron the Dinosaur Man is a mad scientist who transformed himself into a human/Stegosaurus hybrid. Sauron is another mad scientist, who transformed into a Pteranodon after being bitten by a mutant pterosaur.
There’s also heroes like Spider-Rex, a Spider-Man variant from Prehistoric times. It’s a T-Rex who web-swings, which is pretty epic. You might have caught Spider-Rex’s cameo in the film Across the Spider-Verse.
Now we have an entire dinosaur universe to play with. Maybe this Fantastic Four story will be their only appearance, but I doubt it. Who knows, the Dinosaur Avengers might be a concept that gets revisited often, similar to other variant heroes like Spider-Man India or Captain Carter.
Kevin Feige, here’s a free tip – greenlight a Dinosaur Avengers film. It will easily topple Avatar’s box office score. Not bad for a group of creatures who went extinct 65 million years ago.