Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #069: The Stain of the Savage Killers

Monday, September 21, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments (0)

Turok: Son of Stone #38


Turok and Andar do not model the latest in winter fashions, sorry to say.



The glow of the moon has sent the beasts of the Lost Valley loco, ill at ease and skittering like never before. The reason reveals itself in the morning: a blizzard! The first snow Turok and Andar have ever seen since their journey began! They’re well-prepared to brace it, armed with fire to heat up their cave, and arrows to fend off any beast that tries to muscle in.



… until a bull-headed tribe barge in and turf them out, without the courtesy to even give them back their weapons! Back to square one, and then some, they begin their trek for another safe spot to camp, only for a triceratops buried beneath the snow to take its chances at goring them!


Whatever the beast hoped to accomplish, it failed when it fell a gazillion feet to its death under collapsing snow. The snow isn’t just freezing, it makes even oft-trod environments a brand new hazard! Another honker also fuckin’ bites it when its pitiful bellowing brings an avalanche down on top of it, with Turok and Andar buried along with it. The two come out unscathed, but in an even worse predicament than before, now suspended on a narrow cliff ledge, with who knows what lying beneath them!


A crowd of hungry plesiosaurs, that’s what. They’re stuck solid in their frozen lake, but that’ll change once the ice thaws, and climbing back up is a no-go. All they can do is wait and hope…


… for another hapless honker to blunder off the ledge, giving them something to chew on. In the ruckus, our heroes slip down and clear off, figuring the safest place they’ve been this whole time was the very cave they were kicked out of!



If the tribe are left unattended, they might learn the ways of their bows and arrows, and then they’ll have dangerous enemies on their hands! Turok’s fire has stayed aflame the entire time they were way, so the pair block the entrance with snow, and the tribe effectively smoke themselves out. The snow is already melting, so nobody’s in any danger, but they have no reason to stay for fear of retribution.



The blizzard may be gone, but the damage it’s wrought won’t be recovered from quickly. There’s no fruit to be found, for a start! There must be some fruit, as they find a honker stained with red berry juice… and acting totally out of character! Moments later, an otherwise benevolent dimetrodon takes its chances at sampling human flesh, and even tiny creatures throw themselves at unwinnable odds. What’s gotten into the dinosaurs?

You’ll notice those are clearly hyenas (or something from the canid family) in the last panel, despite the text labelling them as “honkers”. While I’m definitely acquainted with some dogs that honk, it’s a rare appearance of a creature neither scaly or slithery; somewhere along the line all the other wildlife got fazed out of Lost Valley, and later stories will use this as a vital plot point. Never mind all the bear and wolf encounters in the early stories, just go with the flow.


The pair split up to investigate, and Turok’s suspicions are confirmed: a harmless honker pays him no notice until it scarfs down on a hunk of red berries, and suddenly turns on him. Apparently the only fruit to have survived the freezing temperatures, it’s no wonder the jungles have gone mad. Speaking of… Turok and Andar never stopped for breakfast, did they?


ANDAR YOU MEAL-SKIPPING FOOL


Having succumbed to the thriving food source, Andar’s become a savage, mindless killer, just like the rest of the beasts… only he has his hunting skills and human cunning to draw from! He picks his moments to strike, disappearing up the trees before Turok can get the upper hand, and continues to stalk him.
Though we saw a brief instance of Andar fighting Turok back in #24’s The Cliff Men, this is the first to paint it as a true skirmish with life-or-death consequences. One of the series’ recurring themes is not teaching the natives the ways of war, but even under the effects of the berries it shows that Andar, apprentice he may be, is still a fearsome hunter whose skills are not to be underestimated. It’s a good thing the two are inseparable friends, because if they were ever to split, Turok could potentially have created his own worst enemy. Cavemen can’t compete with guerrilla warfare!


At last, Turok knocks the wind out of his friend and ties him to a tree, hoping the effect of the berries will wear off. If they do, it won’t be in a hurry; Andar’s still a slathering, wordless mess. Turok pops off to fetch some water for his friend… who’s since come to his senses in the time he’s been gone, only for a dirty great honker to see a meal practically laid out for it!



Turok returns and snipes it in the nick of time, and Andar is able to loosely recall what happened. If he were a cynical man, he might be a little bitter at having experienced this nightmare scenario twice already — see last issue! — but Andar’s nothing if not forgiving. They set the berry patch ablaze, hoping to avoid an encore of berry-mad barbarians.

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