Devil Dinosaur #5

Devil Dinosaur #5, August 1978

“Journey to the Center of the Ants!”

Moon Boy has been captured by the aliens and is held helpless in a giant test tube. The damaged alien that was attacked by Devil in issue 4 is brought in. Moon Boy cries out for his dinosaur pal, but is gassed unconscious.

Moon Boy in a test tube!

Outside, Devil and his companions, Stone-Hand and White-Hair, are viewing the alien spaceship, pondering what to do next. Suddenly they are attacked from the air as the aliens firebomb them!

Blammmm!

They run for safety. Along the way, Devil kicks a boulder into an open geyser. The pressure builds up and explodes just as a pair of aliens fly overhead. One of them is destroyed.

Geyser

The trio continue their journey, and head towards the Tower of Death, a place that holds much fear for White-Hair as it is the place where the “Swarmers” live. The other alien arrives and confronts them. At that moment, he is overcome by a swarm of huge brown ants: the Swarmers!

Swarmers!

Under the weight of such vast numbers, the alien explodes.

Back in the spaceship, the aliens examine Moon Boy’s brain. It reveals that he is unusually intelligent. Fearing that the big red dinosaur outside might exhibit similar smarts, the boss alien orders him destroyed once and for all: “He is too dangerous to tolerate!” He calls for a huge airborne tank, the Land Crusher, to get the job done — and it’s soon carving up the landscape in search of Devil.

Land Crusher

Meanwhile, Devil and his chums have realised a slight flaw in their plan: they are themselves now targets of the marauding ants! A scout attacks Stone-Hand, but he clubs it with a huge bone he’s found. Finally, Devil dispatches it with a swoosh of his mighty tail.

The ant is swiped

More and more ants arrive. Stone-Hand and White-Hair seek safety riding atop Devil’s back, but they’re shocked when Devil heads right for the Tower of Death. Explosions are heard nearby, and the trio realise that the Land Crusher is on its way.

Inside the Tower, Devil movers through the dark passages avoiding the Swarmers. The ants soon find the trio though, and they are surrounded. “Only the will to fight shall help us here!” cries White-Hair. Things are looking grim for our heroes.

Suddenly, there is an explosion directly overhead, and the Tower starts to collapse. The aliens and the Land Crusher have found them. More explosions rack the structure of the Tower and the ants swarm outside. The aliens come down for a closer look: they don’t have ants on their world. Unfortunately for them, they get a little too close and the ants leap and take them down!

The ants swarm

Devil and his pals manage to climb out of the ruins of the Tower. They collapse from their exertions, but are secure in the knowledge that the ant swarm is heading directly for the alien spaceship: it is doomed.

Sadly, what Devil doesn’t realise, is that Moon Boy is still alive — and on board the ship!!!

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Another cracking issue of Devil Dinosaur, Kirby was really cooking on all cylinders here. He’d already used the aliens on prehistoric Earth riff twice before in the last few years: in his 2001: A Space Odyssey adaptation and series, and again in the backstory for The Eternals. Still, a good idea is a good idea, and Kirby wasn’t afraid to reuse it. His take on all three occasions was slightly different anyway. It must be remembered that Kirby was doing each series as separate entities, rather than building a consistent universe. At that time the pseudo-science books of Erich Von Daniken (Chariot of the Gods, etc) were flying off the shelves as some people convinced themselves that God was an ancient astronaut.

A big movie of the day is referenced when it’s stated that Devil and Moon Boy are facing “a close encounter of the fourth kind!”

Inker Mike Royer was employing an unusual technique by this time. He would select what he considered the most important panel on a page and would ink it with a big black border. The result is not unpleasing.

This issue also contained the first letters on the series. Prior to this the text page had been made up of essays by Kirby on his thoughts about prehistory. As Jack was editing the letters page himself now, the letters are universally positive — he had previously been very unhappy about the number of negative comments he got on letters pages when they were prepared at the Marvel offices.