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Comic Book / Flesh

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By the 23rd century, most animals had been destroyed, and men survived on synthetic foods alone. But he still craved for real meat... With the discovery of time travel he was able to go to search for it. Back 65 million years - to the age of the great Dinosaurs!

Flesh was one of the early stories written for 2000 AD by Pat Mills, and borrowed extensively from Mills' earlier work for Action, Hookjaw — although not to the extent of a follow-up story called Shako.

The first, and most popular, arc of Flesh told the story of greedy ranchers from the far future using a time machine to travel back to the Cretaceous period, where they farm dinosaurs for their meat. Eventually, the dinosaurs overpower the time-travelers and kill them all, predominantly a malevolent female T. rex named Old One Eye.

The second arc was set during the Triassic period, and featured a similar premise in which people have once again traveled back in time to hunt prehistoric animals. This time, though, the animals in question are fish and marine reptiles. This arc also brings back a character from the first one, in the form of human villain Claw Carver, as well as introducing a new prehistoric threat— the giant nothosaur Big Hungry.

Other stories in the series have been published more recently, most of them focusing on the same Cretaceous setting as the original arc.

Tropes Include:

  • Anachronism Stew: In the earlier issues, the dinosaurs come from various time periods and very few of them are actually from the end of the Cretaceous, when the series is supposedly set.
    • Could be that Trans-Time deliberately stole and deposited populations of dinosaurs from various eras into the same time period for convenience of harvesting operations. They do have the ability to Time Travel in bulk, after all.
  • Animal Nemesis: Earl Reagan earned one in the form of Old One Eye, a 120-years old T-Rex matriarch out of his and other Humans blood for poking out her right eye and taking away their food supply. Old One Eye eventually became this for the rest of the Humans of the Trans-Time Base as her sheer persistence and ferocity caused the other hungry and angry carnivorous Dinosaurs to instinctively rally around her leadership when the conflict between Dinosaurs and Humans escalated to an all-out war.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Big Hungry, the anti-villain of Book 2, is downright humongous for a Nothosaurus. He's stated to weigh 50 tons, and is big enough to bite a good-sized submarine in half. Even the largest real life nothosaurs would have barely reached half a ton, and probably wouldn't have been a threat to a human.
  • The Antichrist: While not openly stated, T-Rex matriarch Old One Eye's son Gorehead is given this vibe between his seemingly supernatural powers (due to being unanchored in time from being caught in Time-Base 3's time reactor meltdown), demonic-looking appearance (There's a reason why he's called Gorehead), and becoming a figure rallying T-Rexes and other dinosaurs around him to wage war against Humans in their era like his mother before him. To add to the imagery, he was branded with the Number of the Beast by a cowboy trying to kill him and he is last seen readying to fight Humans with a horde of Dinosaurs during an actual apocalypse brought about by the Cret-ending comet impact. This is all Lampshaded by the insane religious Serial Killer Pastor Sunday, who's absolutely convinced Gorehead is the Beast of the Apocalypse mentioned in Revelations after seeing his branding (Fittingly considering he is also convinced the Cret is Hell).
  • Antimatter: Hand-portable antimatter weapons size of bazookas were used by the Humans against the literally bloodthirsty giant spiders which attacked Trans-Time Base Three from the inside during the Siege against it.
  • Anti-Villain: Both Old One-Eye and Big Hungry qualify. While they serve as antagonists to the human characters, they both have relatable backstories that make them more than just bloodthirsty monsters— Old One-Eye wants revenge against the humans who destroyed her food supply and blinded her right eye, while Big Hungry likewise wishes to kill the person who killed his babies.
  • Anyone Can Die: Almost any human character in the comic, named or not, ended up buying it over the course of Book 1 and 2, up to and including a Spoiled Brat named Orville, as well as Earl Reagan's buddy Joe Brontowski, who spent the whole series sympathising with the Dinosaurs, had his life saved several times by Earl, only to finally die fighting and being killed by a giant spider when they and the dinosaurs finally broke through and invaded the Trans Time base at the end of Book 1.
    • In Book 2, basically the entire Human cast of Atlantis station in the Triassic Era died. Even Claw Carver bought it at the end of Book 2 when he ran into the Nothosaur Big Hungry.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Claw Carver previously lost a hand in a fight with a Deinonychus. He replaces it with the dinosaur's claw.
  • Arch-Enemy: Both Earl Reagan and Claw Carver in Book 1 knew and hated each other for past transgressions. Not helped by the fact Claw Carver is a mean and despicable scumbag of the highest order, whom Earl Reagan can't stand. And of course, Old One Eye served as an Animal Nemesis version of this trope for not only Earl Reagan but eventually all humans of the Trans-Time corporation.
  • Arc Words: From Book 1, "There's gonna be a reckoning" or similar phrases are often repeated as various characters, starting with Earl Reagan, noted it's only a matter of time before Human dino-hunting/herding activity starts a conflict which would decide the fate of both Humans and Dinosaurs in the prehistoric eras. Said reckonings finally came in the later parts of Books 1 and 2 when whole hordes of prehistoric dinosaurs launch all-out assaults on the Trans-Time bases.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Leaving aside instances of the work becoming outdated, there are a lot of things the comic gets just plain wrong. For example, none of the dinosaurs depicted in it lived in England. And out of them, only Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, and Alamosaurus were actually present at the very end of the Cretaceous. Most of them are actually North American, but the African Ouranosaurus is inexplicably thrown in too. Additionally, pterosaurs and marine reptiles are regularly referred to as dinosaurs.
  • Asshole Victim: Claw Carver is an violent, manipulative and greedy scumbag whose selfishness and belligerence often cause and contributes to the worsening crisis as much as he helped other survive it (and even then only out of self-preservation or self-gain). Needless to say, no one in-universe mourn him when he was sent to be lost across time in his time shuttle at the end of Book 1, and no reader likely had any issues with him getting eaten by the Nothosaur Big Hungry whose children he killed at the end of Book 2.
  • Badass Boast: Trail Boss Earl Reagan is fond of dropping these.
    Earl Reagan: Nobody makes Earl Reagan extinct!
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: Earl Reagan is briefly forced to fight for his life against Old One Eye when after burning the town to drive the dinosaurs out, Claw Carver ended the truce between them and left Earl Reagan at the mercy of Old One Eye, unarmed and with the T-Rex matriarch out for blood. Earl Reagan barely managed to hold his own long enough to escape, using a large wooden beam to hold her jaws open as she came in to chomp him and almost breaking her jaw.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: While the dinosaurs are depicted as dumb animals whose intellect are no match of that of Humans, the narration noted that this by no means make them harmless. They survived for millions of years in a prehistoric Death World, and their 'kitten-sized brains' are more than enough for them to hunt prey and kill anyone and anything that stands in their way, and even ultimately defeat the Humans for all their advantages with a combination of sheer ferocity, enemy complacency and good fortune on the dinos' side.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Book 1 ends with one arguably for both Dinosaurs and Man. By destroying the Trans-Time Base and driving the Humans back to the 23rd century, the Dinosaurs have for the time being got their world back, although this is implied to likely be temporary as the Humans would eventually come back and continue hunting/herding them for their meat, leading to their extinction. While Old One Eye never truly got to avenge herself on Earl Reagan, she still finally got the carnivorous Dinosaurs' food supply back, and when the exertion proved too much for her old body she was still able to make it to the T-Rex Graveyard and die on her own terms, undefeated and triumphant. Meanwhile, although Earl Reagan lost his buddy Joe Brontowski and was arrested upon returning to the 23rd century for his 'part' for the disaster, his efforts still ensured he and the remaining Human survivors of the base make it back home, and he's at least content to know Claw Carver, whose Time Machine controls he sabotaged, would be lost in time and would never come back (indeed, he would meet his end in Book 2 to a Triassic creature whom he crossed).
    • Book 2 is a general Downer Ending overall, but Big Hungry arguably got the best deal out of all the characters. While he was cast across time and space by the Humans' desperate (and doomed) attempt to escape back to their own time and would go on to become the Noch Less Monster, he at least managed to have his revenge on Humanity by driving them away and eating Claw Carver, who killed his children when he arrived in the Triassic Era.
  • Blood Knight: Claw Carver is the biggest example among the Humans, always itching to fight and kill Earl Reagan for past grudges and almost relishes battles with Dinosaurs whether with his own prosthetic claw and bare hand or armed with any weapon he could get. Earl Reagan arguably shares this status as well, but his sense of reason and morality kept him from being as Ax-Crazy as Claw Carver. Meanwhile, many of the carnivorous Dinosaurs like the T-Rexes are also this towards the Humans and even each other, their bloodlust stoked by hunger (as the Humans kept stealing their food supply of herbivorous Dinosaur prey) and/or a thirst for revenge (In Old One Eye and Big Hungry's case, the former for losing an eye and the latter for his children being killed).
  • Casual Time Travel: Played with. Time travel is heavily regulated; Certain periods of history, such at the 20th century, are off limits to time travellers. This doesn't stop rogue Trans-Time employees from running illegal safaris back to the Cretaceous and Triassic eras for extra profit.
  • Cattle Punk: The series practically oozes this. The dino hunters and herders of the Trans-Time corporation are the new cowboys of the 23rd century and acts like them, albeit armed with futuristic technology. The prehistoric eras also has the feel of a much more dangerous untamed wild Weird West filled with prehistoric monsters. The entire conflict between the Humans and Dinosaurs is reminiscent of the conflict between Cowboys with Native Americans - except this time, or at least for a time, the natives actually wins.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Claw Carver frequently betrays those whom he worked or fought together for his own gain, being ultimately only in it for himself. Many characters like Earl Reagan know this (and Claw Carver more often then not straight up tells him any alliance only lasts as long as necessary), but are unable to do much about it due to circumstances and Carver being under protection of big shots fool enough to actually trust him.
  • Cold Equation: A twisted version of this comes into play when the survivors of Carver City attempted to get away from a pursuing Old One Eye by raft, when they found out said raft is simply too heavy with all of them on for Earl Reagan to peddle away fast enough. Claw Carver, being the selfish expedient bastard he is, 'accidentally' pushed one of the survivors into the river for Old One Eye to chow on to make the raft lighter, much to Earl Reagan's outrage.
  • Cool Train: Trans-Time runs Dino Express train tours for holiday tours into the prehistoric past. The trains in the Cretaceous Era have special horns which emulate the roars of T-Rexes in order to scare away other Dinosaurs crowding around their tracks and blocking the line. This proved to be a mistake as REAL T-Rexes like Old One Eye which heard the horns ended up thinking the Dino Express trains were rival T-Rexes coming to challenge them in their turfs and went after them.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Trans-Time is run by them, both on site and off in the 23rd Century. They refused to send help to Earl Reagan and Claw Carver's town when they were under attack by Dinosaurs as they prioritised processing the herd of Dinosaurs they were rounding up first. When the Trans-Time base is being threatened by the Dinosaurs and the situation has gone completely out of control, the other company executives left their own executive running the show as well as all the remaining Humans there to their fate rather than sending reinforcements or helping with their evacuation, all because it wouldn't be profitable to do so.
  • Death of a Child: Orville, a Spoiled Brat from the 23rd century brought to the Cretacous Era on holiday by his family, ends up among the Humans being eaten by the Dinosaurs. Orville's (censored) death highlights just how brutal, vicious and dangerous the Dinosaurs and the prehistoric Death World they lived in are and can be, even though the Dinosaurs are ultimately still the more sympathetic party of the series being herded and hunted to extinction by Humans. The dinos don't give a damn whether you are a child or not: flesh is still flesh, and they are hungry as they are angry.
  • Death World: Earth in both the Crestaceous Era in Book 1 and the Triassic Era in Book 2 are portrayed as prehistoric versions of this, being worlds filled with giant dangerous prehistoric creatures who would had killed off any Humans in their way were it not for their intelligence and technology. Every time the Humans got complacent or weakened by circumstances beyond their control, the Dinosaurs get the upper hand and someone gets eaten.
  • Dented Iron: The T-Rex matriarch Old One Eye, on account of being 120 years old and clearly well past her prime from years of surviving, predating and fighting. Indeed, her accumulated wounds and exhaustion over the years and over the series ultimately kills her after the dinos won against the humans. She's still the most dangerous creature the Humans faced throughout the story, being the undisputed queen among not only her pack but also among the other Dinosaurs through experience, determination and sheer ferocity.
  • Determinator: Trail boss Earl Reagan among the Humans in Book 1, and his Animal Nemesis Old One Eye is also one. Both of them refuses to lay down and die even where they should had bought it, and would survive and persist no matter what it takes to achieve their goals, even if it means taking on giant man-eating prehistoric monsters or futuristic technological defences respectively.
  • Domed Hometown: Carver City is a trading post/frontier town founded by Claw Carver built under a great transparent dome which isolates and protects it from any marauding dinosaurs who might want in to attack its inhabitants. The dome getting pierced and broken by a misfiring blaster led to the town being overrun and destroyed by the dinosaurs it had previously kept out.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Flesh" can refer both to what dinosaurs are hunted for, and to what the human characters inevitably become thanks to said dinosaurs.
  • Downer Ending: Book 2 doesn't end well for anybody (except, perhaps, Big Hungry). Peters ends up drowning trying to return Atlantis Station to the 23rd century, Claw Carver gets eaten by Big Hungry, the rest of the crew end up eaten by Nothosaurs or drowning when the station goes down. JM Grose survives, but is stranded on a tiny lifeboat 200 million years from home. Peters' attempt to bring the station back doesn't even count as a Heroic Sacrifice, as all he succeeds in doing is dumping Atlantis station into the ocean in some random time period drowning any potential survivors, where it becomes the legend of Atlantis and diverting Big Hungry to Loch Ness.
  • Dumb Dinos: The dinosaurs are portrayed as instinct-driven and unintelligent, if incredibly violent in the case of the predators and still dangerous. It's deconstructed since as the narration noted, they had survived for many millions of years, and their kitten-sized brains are more than enough to help them thrive in their prehistoric Death World and fight the Human intruders.
  • Egopolis: Claw Carver named the frontier town Carver City he built following retirement from his Trail Boss career after himself.
  • Enemy Mine: Earl Reagan and Claw Carver knows and despise each other, but both often find themselves forced to team up in the face of greater threat of rampaging and aggressive dinosaurs, only going back to fighting and trying to kill each other as soon as the dinosaurs are dealt with. Many of the carnivorous Dinosaurs themselves were also ended up united by their collective hunger and hatred for the Humans, as well as their fear of powerful Dinosaurs among them like Old One Eye whom they rallied around instinctively as their leaders and dared not cross.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Claw Carvers backstory in the Hand of Glory arc reveals his first murder was a Serial Killer who had tortured and maimed his mother. The female protagonist of the Texas arc is his daughter, whom he adored whenever he was home with her.
  • Expy: The Chronocide arc features a Tylosaurus nicknamed "Bloody Mary", characterized by a harpoon embedded in her jaw, making her essentially a prehistoric version of the titular shark in Hookjaw.
  • Eye Scream: Old One Eye wants to kill the dinosaur hunters in part because one of them, Anti-Hero protagonist Earl Reagen, gouged out one of her eyes, hence the moniker.
  • Fatal Flaw: The Humans collectively suffered from Greed and Hubris, wanting all the Dinosaur meat they could get for food and profit and believing the Dinosaurs are no threat to them due to being dumb animals. This combination led to complacency and recklessness which endangered Human lives and ultimately costed the Humans their entire operation when the Dinosaurs got lucky.
  • Feathered Fiend: Book 1 had "furry tyrannosaurs" living to the north of the Trans-Time base, possibly the first feathered dinosaurs of any kind to appear in popular fiction. The more recent issues have added feathered dromaeosaurs as well.
  • Food Pills: People in the 23rd century live on these. Trans-Time's operations subvert this trope by hunting dinosaurs to bring people actual meat and fish to eat.
  • Future Copter: In the newer issues, TransTime operates these.
  • Future Slang: The cretaceous period is called the "Cret" by Trans-Time workers.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Earl Reagan is the closest thing to a hero among the humans, but he's still a rough and tough dino-herding/hunting cowboy who don't take insults and threats lying down. One example was when Claw Carver threaten to kill him for bringing his sick buddy Joe into his town for treatment (as he could infect them all with a Crestacous Era disease). Earl's response is to pounce at Carver and try to kill him first.
    Earl Reagan: You don't kill Earl Reagan without a fight!
    • Joe Brontowski is no slouch either. Though he sympathise with the dinosaurs, when a Pteranodon attacked him and is too close for him to use his blaster, he instead jumped it and tried to throttle the flying reptile, leading to a brief High-Altitude Battle between man and beast.
      Joe Brontowski: I'll claw the evil breath outta ya - before you kill me!
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Several characters in Book 1 remark that the mass dinosaur attack on the Trans-Time base could be considered this. The villain of the Chronocide arc considers himself to be this.
  • Genre Shift: While there is a Western motif in the original strip and the modern stories, Book 2 was set on a giant sea platform where Trans-Time runs its fisheries operations, giving the strip a Moby-Dick feel.
  • Giant Spider: A colony of huge spiders lives underneath the Trans-Time base, and like everything else in the comic, they find humans delicious. While they had grown fat feeding on the blood and other leftovers from the dinosaurs being processed, the Humans were not aware they were around, which bit them in the rear when a brief 24 hour suspension of the Fleshdozer operation in order to get more men to fight the dinosaurs besieging the base led to them rising up and invading the base, opening a second front which compromised the defences.
  • Gorn: Definitely lived up to the Action! standard for graphic violence. One of the earlier issues has a T-Rex's head blown clean off and the neck stump gushing gallons of blood even as it flailed like a headless chicken for several seconds out of reflex.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Many horrific deaths of Humans getting eaten by Dinosaurs are shown in a discretful way to avoid showing excessive carnage, but one particular death by munching dino was outright censored by 2000AD (under the rather sarcastic notification that 'No Earthlet has the necessary 100G nervous system to see this picture in full'). Justified in this case as it has Old One Eye eating a Human child during the Dinosaurs' attack on the Trans-Time Dino Express tourist train - He was shown earlier as an unlikable Spoiled Brat, but still.
  • Green Aesop: It's hard to believe, but it's there. The comic was written specifically as a satire of modern-day depletion of Earth's resources. See Humans Are the Real Monsters for more.
  • Götterdämmerung: The recent stories had the comet which destroyed the Dinosaurs arriving a millennia earlier than expected due to Trans-Time's mucking with the timeline, with the Dinosaurs and Humans continuing to fight each other (and amongst themselves) even as the Age of the Dinosaurs ended all around them.
  • Hero Antagonist: Earl Reagan is arguably one if we consider the Dinosaurs like Old One Eye as the primary protagonists. He's rough on the edges, but also constantly showing himself a man of honour and reason who tries his best to protect and save his fellow Human coworkers and subordinates, standing out among other Humans who often show themselves to be greedy, foolish, vicious, or all three at once. He is still an enemy of the Dinosaurs by being a cowboy who's herding/hunting them to be processed for food, but for him it's just a job he's good at, and even then while not hesitating to kill them he still treats them with considerable respect, if only by seeing them as the legitimately ferocious, powerful, and dangerous creatures they really are.
  • Hero of Another Story: The Furry T-Rex Alpha of the northern packs is implied to be a ferocious and mighty predator with a resume to rival Old One Eye herself, as both of them instinctively treated the other as an equal after a 'traditional T-rex greeting', and the two were the undisputed leaders of The Horde besieging the Trans-Time Base. Both lead the final charge together which finally breached and overran the Human stronghold.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Inverted with the female rancher Stand Alone Sally, well-known for detesting men.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: While the Humans' own complacency and ineptitude resulted in this many times, Claw Carver's own self-own early in the series takes the cake. Claw Carver's fight with Earl Reagan in Carver City led to the destruction of the former's own frontier town, as his own android was programmed to stop fights with lethal force if necessary (even the one started by his own owner), and when the android's aim was deflected by Earl throwing Claw at it, the android fired its laser gun skywards and breached the dome protecting it - conveniently when Old One Eye and her pack of T-rexes had just arrived to settle their score with the Humans for stealing their prey (and Earl Reagan in particular for blinding her).
  • The Horde: An enormous horde of carnivorous Dinosaurs gathered around and laid siege to the Trans-Time Base as the Humans dwindle their prey supply to critical levels and their hunger and hatred for the Humans instinctively unify them against the 23rd century intruders.
  • Humanlike Animal Aging: Old One Eye is 120 years old, but real tyrannosaurs rarely lived for more than 30 years.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Arguably the point of the comic. The dinosaurs are pretty nasty in their own right, especially Old One-Eye, but the author never misses an opportunity to remind us of how greedy and selfish the humans are. The collected edition even includes a fake advertisement for Trans-Time dinosaur meat, which ends with author commenting that "the biggest monster of all is the one sitting at the table!". Some like Claw Carver openly gloried in it.
    Earl Reagan: This hell world's turned you into an animal!
    Claw Carver: So what?
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How "Nailbomb", a minor character in the Texas arc, dies, courtesy of a Quetzalcoatlus. Subverted with Joe Brontowski in Arc 1, as while a Pteranodon nearly stabbed him with its beak, he managed to avoid it by grabbing hold of its neck and trying to throttle it mid-air.
  • Informed Species: A forgivable case, given when the comic was written, but still worth mentioning that the Deinonychus, Deinocheirus, and Spinosaurus in Book 1 bear no resemblance whatsoever to the real animals. Big Hungry the Nothosaurus in book 2 also counts— ironically, with his crocodile-like snout, tailfin, and massive claws, he looks more like a real spinosaur!
  • It's All About Me: There is only one person Claw Carver ever really cared about other than his old mother, his wife and his daughter first, second, and all the way down the list, and that's Claw Carver.
  • It's Personal: Earl Reagan and Claw Carver had a history between them that left them both with a deep animosity with each other. When they aren't fighting dinosaurs they are often fighting and trying to kill each other.
    • Also for Old One Eye and Big Hungry - the former with Earl Reagan for blinding her in her right eye, and the latter with Claw Carver for killing his children, and both with Humans in general for poaching their food supply.
    • Years later, one of Old One Eye's many sons Gorehead is set on a warpath against Humanity (again) after the Humans returned to not only steal their food, but also killed his mate and branded him.
  • Kaiju: Big Hungry probably qualifies—he's big enough to bite a submarine in half!
  • Kill It with Fire: How Earl Reagan and the very few Human survivors of Carver City managed to survive the frontier town's invasion by carnivorous dinosaurs at all, as Earl Reagan realised while the dinosaurs don't have to worry about their guns, they still fear fire, and apart from the breached dome Carver City is mostly made of wood. True to form, burning the town drove Old One Eye and the other dinosaurs out of Carver City.
  • Legacy Character: Old One Eye's would-be usurper son whom she killed and ate would be reincarnated via a cloning process, going on to terrorise the Cursed Earth in the Judge Dredd arc of the same name as Satanus. After that, he'd go on to be a pet to the son of Nemesis the Warlock.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Being the Blood Knight he is, Claw Carver relished fights against dinosaurs he could take on. In Arc 1 he fought a Deinonychus in the general store claw with no weapon except his prosthetic right claw, outright proclaiming he's going to enjoy it before going mano-o-dino.
    Claw Carver: [Deinonychus leaps at him with claw] Claw against claw - I like yer style! Yer got CLASS!
  • Lightning Lash: Several characters use a weapon called "electric-whip".
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: The villain of the Chronocide arc wants to use a disease to wipe out humanity before it can become a threat to the planet.
  • Mammoths Mean Ice Age: Downplayed. During the Chronocide arc, mammoths are mentioned but never shown.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: It would be a lot easier to name the species that aren't misplaced in the early volumes. The TransTime Base in Book 1 is located in England, but none of the dinosaurs shown are from there. Later stories have retconned it into being somewhere in North America, but even that doesn't account for the presence of Ouranosaurus and Deinocheirus.
  • Named After the Injury: Old One-Eye is a female T. rex named after her missing eye, which the human protagonist gouged out.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Old One Eye, who is over 120 years old and still the main human-munching machine during the course of the series. Even when she was 80, she was still vicious and powerful enough to kill and devour one of her own sons who thought to challenge her for dominance.
  • New Old West: Straddles the line between this and Space Western, seeing as how the 'verse has an old west theme to dealing with dinosaurs.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: An important theme of the series, as it was in Hookjaw and would go on to be in Shako.
  • North Is Cold, South Is Hot: There are furry tyrannosaurs living to the north of the Trans-Time base, while Spinosaurs come from "the deserts of the south".
  • Nothing Personal: Despite calling them dumb animals like the other Humans, Earl Reagan has nothing really against dinosaurs in particular, with his role as trail boss being a job he's good at and seeing the whole meat-harvesting operation as an unfortunate necessity to feed Humanity in the 23rd Century. Subverted with his Animal Nemesis, the T-Rex matriarch Old One Eye, which became very personal between the two of them.
  • Offing the Offspring: Old One Eye had many, many children over her 120 years life, and she shows zero remorse or reservation in killing and eating any of them. In her defence, the offsprings she killed and ate tried to kill and eat her first.
  • Papa Wolf: The Nothosaur Big Hungry in the Triassic Era. His entire Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Humans in Book 2 was started when Claw Carver, whose Time Machine finally deposited him in the Triassic Era, killed his children while making his way to the Humans operating in the era. Big Hungry would finally have his revenge at the end of Book 2 by eating Claw Carver.
  • Panthera Awesome: The Chronocide arc adds saber-toothed cats to the mix of prehistoric animals featured in the comic.
  • Pet the Dog: While Claw Carver remain a mean, selfish bastard, he notably treated Joe Brontoski much nicer than many others after he saved his life from Old One Eye and a prehistoric crocodile during their journey from the ruins of Carver City to the Trans-Time Base.
  • Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: They were hunted to extinction.
  • Prehistoric Monster: This is the default way the dinosaurs are depicted.
  • Raptor Attack: A rare pre-Jurassic Park example, featuring Deinonychus as the token dromaeosaur. Claw Carver once got in a fight with one and replaced his hand with its claw.
  • Pushed at the Monster: Claw Carver in Book 1 pushed a fellow survivor of Carver Town off the raft they were on at a pursuing Old One Eye in order to distract her and lighten up the raft so they can get away faster. Earl Reagan was not amused nor grateful in the slightest.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Earl Reagan in Book 1 is presented as the most reasonable person among the Humans in the Trans-Time operation to harvest dinosaur meat (sometimes to the point of being the Only Sane Man). As a Trail Boss he often put the safety and welfare of other Human beings first before himself or the company's profits. Even in later stories where his flaws are more apparent is presented in a somewhat sympathetic light, such as his devotion to Trans-Time Corporation which stemmed from gratitude as he and his poor family survived on the cheap food they provided when he was young, leading to him idolising their Trail Bosses and becoming one himself.
  • Retirony: Early in the strips, one Human character named Maverick noted during a trail run for dinosaurs that it was his last day on the job, and he's confident that he would make it through and then go home without being killed by a Dinosaur. He ends up getting eaten by a prehistoric crocodile instead while he was alone and separated from the others, and the other rangers never even figured out what happened to him.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Literally, in all the Dinosaurs cases for the Humans poaching them or their food supply in their respective eras. In the case of Old One Eye and Big Hungry, it was over Earl Reagan poking out her right eye and Claw Carver killing his children. Either way, this left them both and their fellow Dinosaurs out for blood against Humanity.
  • Scary Scorpions: The giant underwater scorpions from Book 2. They're considered The Dreaded not only by the Trans-Time workers, but also by every other creature in the sea, including Big Hungry.
  • Sinister Minister: Preacher Sunday, a crazy preacher who constantly rants about how the Cretaceous is actually hell and, oh yes, is actually a serial killer who murders the girlfriend of one of the protagonists.
  • Smug Snake: The controller responsible for the Trans-Time Base Three processing dinosaur meat and sending them back to the 23rd century is one of these, being insufferably arrogant and self-assured about the superiority of Human technology and the dinosaurs being no threat and being more concerned about meeting company quotas for meat supply then the genuine threat of the starving carnivorous dinosaurs gathering into a horde to besiege the base, ignoring Earl Reagan's warnings and even having him and Joe arrested for trying to stop him hanging some of Earl's own men for perceived cowardice. He suffers a massive dose of Break the Haughty and Villainous Breakdown over the course of the last third of Arc 1 as the Dinosaurs repeatedly prove his assumptions wrong and eventually overran the base.
  • Sole Survivor:
    • Out of the possibly hundreds who lived or were present in Carver City trading outpost/town when the dome was breached and the Dinosaurs poured in, there were only six depicted survivors including Earl Reagan, his friend Joe, and Claw Carver, and even then only Earl, Joe and Claw are definitively confirmed to have made it back to the Trans Time Base. Everyone else were presumably eaten by the dinosaurs or died in the fire burning what's left of the town which Earl and Claw were forced to set in order to drive the rampaging Dinosaurs away and have any chance of survival.
    • JM Grosse is the only Trans Time employee to make it off Atlantis Station alive by fleeing in a lifeboat before it can sink. However, since Peters sends the platform forward in time, Grosse is stranded 200 million years from home.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Of the "don't destroy nature, or nature will destroy you" variety. This is most evident in the first and second arcs, where Old One-Eye and Big Hungry deliver karmic death to the greedy humans.
  • Spoiled Brat: One of the guests on the Trans-Time Dino-Express is a bratty kid who clearly doesn't appreciate his parents taking him on a vacation millions of years in the past. He ends up as dinosaur food.
  • Stable Time Loop: Humans hunt/eat large modern-day animals out of existence, thereby necessitating the need to invent time-travel and do the same to the dinosaurs living in the Late Cretaceous, reducing their numbers beyond what is ecologically sustainable and paving the way for mammals to take over, leading to the evolution of humans who go on to hunt/eat large modern-day animals out of existence, thereby necessitating.....
  • Stock Unsolved Mysteries: The extinction of the dinosaurs, the lost city of Atlantis, and the Loch Ness Monster are all caused by Trans-Time mucking about in the timeline.
  • Storming the Castle: What the Dinosaurs did to Trans-Time Base Three in the penultimate episodes of Book 1 when their defences faltered due to complacency and unforeseeable circumstances beyond their control, with Old One Eye and the Furry T-Rex alpha commanding the northern furry T-rexes both leading the final charge. This happened concurrently with a surprise attack from giant spiders which had nested under the base for years unnoticed and started preying on the Humans when the suspension of dino meat processing in response to the dino-siege cut off the blood and leftovers supply they fed on.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Surprisingly averted for Big Hungry, who initially seems like an aquatic answer to Old One-Eye, but who quickly diverges into a very different character.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Though the Dinosaurs are vicious and dangerous, Earl Reagan's younger buddy Joe frequently found himself feeling sorry for them as they were merely animals trying to survive and are being threatened with extinction by them Humans hunting and herding them to be killed and processed for their meat, or taking away their food supply doing so. Earl shares this to a lesser degree, agreeing with Joe that it's a sorry state of affairs but notes that Humans had always hunted other animals for food to survive, and pointed out that many of the Dinosaurs would do the same to them as well given the chance as it's their nature to do so as well.
  • Terror-dactyl: The pterosaurs seen in Book 1 and Book 2 are able to carry people off in their claws.
  • Time Machine: Standard Trans-Time Time Travel technology involves special 'Time-Ray' projectors which could transport goods, people and vehicles in bulk across time and space, often doing so in special chambers or hangars where they are mounted on ceilings. It is far from safe: being caught outside protection of special time-travelling vehicles when the time-beams hit could result in dire consequences like those frequently found a Teleporter Accident. The end of Book 1 has one ghastly example of three Humans fusing with a T-Rex, resulting in a horrible chimerical abomination that had to be put out of their misery when they arrived in the 23rd century. Damage to the Time Machine's navigational mechanisms can also cause time-travelling vehicles to careen through the timestream suspended out of time, condemning whoever's trapped in it to 'a living death' in Earl Reagan's own words. Such was the fate of Carl Carver, at least until Book 2 came along.
    • The end of Book 2 reveals Trans-Time's Time Machine technology extends to the ability to teleport entire resource rigs and bases like Atlantis station across time and space, but it requires cautious human supervision and guidance to properly execute, without which they could drift out of control through the time-stream until they hit something or something disrupts the time-stream's flow (like the enormous Nothasaur Big Hungry poking its neck out of Atlantis station's wreckage to find out what's going on outside), causing the station and whatever/whoever else that remain to be violently ejected at random points across the timeline.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Humans are frequently shown to be this if not being Too Clever by Half, constantly underestimating the Dinosaurs and overestimating their own technology and intellect in their complacency and letting their greed and selfishness override sense and reason, giving the Dinosaurs which would otherwise couldn't stand against them and their superior technology a chance to actually win.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: Invoked. The main selling point of the series is that despite the Humans possessing all the advantages, the Dinosaurs ultimately came out on top through their ferocity, Human complacency/incompetence and a bit of luck.
  • Undying Loyalty: Displayed on both Humans and Dinosaurs ends on occasion. Otherwise, there is plenty of treachery and backstabbing on both sides which causes problems for everyone involved.
    • In recent Flesh stories taking place in the Cret, Earl Reagan is revealed to be very loyal to the Trans-Time Corporation and believed in their work, since he grew up in desperate poverty in the polluted 23rd century and his family survived through the cheap food products Trans-Time provided harvesting meat from dinosaurs, while he grew up hearing tales of their harvesting operations, all of them inspiring him to become a Trans-Time Trail Boss himself. Carl Carver for his part simply believed Earl Reagan is an idiot who got himself brainwashed by Trans-Time's corporate propaganda, even as Earl Reagan continued to make excuses to defend Trans-Time's business practices and condemn those who oppose them like Carl Carver's eco-terrorist daughter.
    • Old One Eye's packs of T-Rexes are described as being very loyal, willing to follow her 'to the death', and set off hunting Humans to sate Old One Eye's hunger for revenge (and their hunger in general) without question. Any exceptions or challenges to her authority - even those who are her many children - are quickly dealt with in typical animalistic brutality and cannibalisation of the loser.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: While a 'reckoning' was coming between Humans and Dinosaurs anyways, Earl Reagan himself lampshaded that a lot of death and destruction could had been avoided if he had actually killed Old One Eye, as the old tyrannosaur matriarch's survival and her subsequent vengeful hatred towards Humans for the loss of her one eye started the chain of events that led to the dinosaurs overrunning and destroying the Trans Time base.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Smug Snake base controller of Trans-Time Base Three responsible for harvesting dino meat breaks down increasingly in terror when the dinosaurs repeatedly proved him wrong about their capabilities over the course of the siege, going mad when they finally overrun the base.
  • Villainous Legacy: Long after the T-Rex matriarch Old One Eye passed away at the end of Book 1, the consequences of her actions continued to be felt. In the most recent stories Gorehead, one of Old One Eye's many sons in her long life, ended up fulfilling his mother's role as the Humans' biggest Animal Nemesis in the Cret between being unanchored in time rendering him immune to many of their weapons as well as rallying other T-rexes and dinosaurs to fight the Humans.
  • Villainous Valor: Claw Carver is a violent, lying, and greedy scumbag who exemplifies the general villany of the Humans in Flesh, but his courage cannot be overlooked. He would take on even the meanest and deadliest dinosaurs without hesitation if it meant his self-preservation or gain, literally fighting them claw to claw or mowing down rampaging dinosaurs with whatever gun or turret he could get his hands on or into.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: There is initial unity among the Humans, but mistrust, grudges and disagreements (Such as Earl Reagan's feud with Claw Carver and conflicts with the Base Controller) often end up tearing apart Human cooperation at the worst moments, giving dinosaurs opportunities to exploit. Conversely, there are no alliances between Dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts, with the predatory Dinosaurs often fighting each other as frequently as they fight the Humans, but as prey populations dwindle and hatred for Humans grew they instinctively started working together more and more, culminating in a massive siege of the Trans-Times Base by a horde of carnivorous Dinosaurs.
  • Whip of Dominance: The dino cowboys working for Trans-Time have whips to help herd Dinosaurs, and they are electric to boot. Earl Reagan used one to stop a herd of stampeding dinosaurs they were herding from going off a cliff.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Repeatedly with Claw Carver. Him saving the life of a ranger from giant spiders? Turns out that's because he owed Claw money from a poker game. Claw helping with evacuations of the Trans-Time Base? Nope, turns out he was looting. Joe Brontoski was literally the only one/instance he really wasn't doing this, on account of legitimately owing Joe for having save his life.
  • Your Size May Vary: Present in most of the dinosaurs, but especially egregious with Big Hungry, who may appear anywhere from the size of an orca to the size of Godzilla.