Love, Volume 4 The Dinosaur written by Frederic Brremaud and illustrated by Frederico Bertolucci
Love, Volume 4 The Dinosaur (2017) is the newest in a series of wordless graphic novels written by Frederic Brremaud and illustrated by Frederico Bertolucci, each of them following an animal type (a tiger, a lion) through their days. Dinosaurs, thanks to their massive popularity would seem an obvious choice in the series, and they get prime treatment in a gritty, vividly illustrated adventure tale.
Interestingly enough, the story starts small, focusing on an insect and a small shrew-like mammal. They’re quickly disturbed though by the massive foot of a sauropod crashing down as it wanders by while munching the foliage. Just a few panels later, a smaller dinosaur (a bambiraptor I believe, though I’m not sure) enters the picture, and over the next 60 or so pages, we follow these two, and then a T-rex tracking them, as they move through various terrain and past various dinosaur types. All of it culminating in an epic battle against a stormy backdrop, which in itself presages what we all know is coming — the fiery end of an era.
Although there are no words, one truly gathers a sense of narrative here as the images progress and though they’re not anthropomorphized — the creatures consistently act as animals — one does feel a sense of individuality and if not “personality” something roughly akin to it, even if it’s our own nature that puts it there. Because these are animals presented as such, we get the full “red in tooth and claw treatment”: predation, goring, jugular-izing (as my son once liked to call it), and entrail-ripping. Brremaud does a nice job with tension/suspense balanced by moments of peace, and it all builds wonderfully to a truly cinematic ending.
Bertolucci’s illustrations, as mentioned, are wonderfully, colorfully vivid and realistic. The dinosaurs are unique and individualized and the terrain sharply depicted, creating a true sense of place. As well, the visuals show a wide range as Bertolucci zooms in and out between close-ups of individual bodies or even parts of bodies and wide-open landscapes. We also get the full range of physical settings, following animals in the sky, along the ground, and underwater. And the depiction of the firestorm at the end is done on an epic scale.
Despite the wordless nature, the situational narrative combined with the vibrant illustrations makes for a compelling story filled with action and. Highly recommended.
The previous volumes in this series are: