REVIEW: ‘Reptil,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Reptil #1 - But Why Tho?

Reptil #1 is written by Terry Blas, penciled by Enio Balam, inked by Victor Ozabala, colored by Carlos Lopez, and lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino. It is published by Marvel Comics. Following the events of Outlawed, Humberto Lopez-aka the dinosaur-powered superhero Reptil-moves back to Los Angeles to take care of his uncle Vic. Reconnecting with his cousins Eva and Julian, Humberto’s new life is threatened when a mysterious figure with a connection to his missing parents appears, seeking the amulet that gives him his powers.

Reptil is one of the most prominent Mexican-American heroes in Marvel’s stable, alongside Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider and Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099. For him to get a push like this-and specifically with an all-Latinx creative team-is a big deal. I’ve often spoken about how the people telling stories are just as important as the characters those stories are about; certain creators can bring a level of authenticity to the proceedings that others can’t. In Blas’ case, he makes sure to touch on the various aspects of Humberto’s heritage. Humberto and his cousins visit Los Angeles’ downtown fashion district, where Eva and Julian converse in Spanish with the local residents. Humberto also recalls a saying his mother told him at the beginning of the issue: No se puede apreciar lo que esta escondido or You cannot appreciate what is hidden-which takes on a double meaning given his superpowers. Even the small details, like Humberto wearing a Selena sweatshirt, stand out.

Blas’ script also takes great care to flesh out Reptil’s supporting cast. Julian is a fashion-forward vlogger who is genuinely curious about Humberto’s dinosaur powers, even pushing him to add an app on his phone that recognizes dinosaurs. Eva, in addition to being a top-notch student, has heart-to-heart conversations with Humberto about his feelings. Humberto struggles with a sense of purpose and dormant anger issues-which flare up when he confronts his uncle about the fate of his parents. The superhero without direction is not a new trope, but given Reptil’s youth and the various issues he’s dealing with it takes on a new angle here.

Balam and Ozabala bring Humberto and his family and by extension, the Los Angeles setting to life, and seem to have had a blast drawing Humberto’s dinosaur powers in action. Humberto’s powers allow him to mimic various parts of a dinosaur’s anatomy; one minute he’ll have the long spiked tail of a Stegosaurus, or the next his head will transform into a Triceratops, allowing him to ram into his enemies head-first. Balam and Ozabala also design a two-page spread in the shape of a maze, which helps readers catch up on Humberto’s whole history. This is especially helpful for readers who haven’t seen Reptil in Avengers Academy or Avengers: The Initiative.

Rounding out the artistic team is Lopez on colors. I’m thankful that he gives the Lopez family the same shade of brown skin, as it helps underline both their familial connections and Latinx heritage. Los Angeles also is the bright, vibrant center of life, with its multiple buildings and food trucks having various shades of color. And I appreciate that Lopez gives Humberto a blue-green hoodie and jeans as a nod to his Reptil costume.

Reptil #1 puts the dinosaur-powered hero back into the spotlight, with an all-Latinx creative team highlighting his heritage. I’m glad that Reptil has made a return after all these years, and with the mystery of his missing parents on the horizon, his absence from heroism looks to be a short-lived one.

Reptil #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

 

Reptil #1
5

TL;DR

Reptil #1 puts the dinosaur-powered hero back into the spotlight, with an all-Latinx creative team highlighting his heritage. I’m glad that Reptil has made a return after all these years, and with the mystery of his missing parents on the horizon, his absence from heroism looks to be a short-lived one.