Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #081: Escape to Nowhere

Monday, November 2, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments (0)

Turok: Son of Stone #44


Turok’s biggest, longest, great battle, with a gully of the most gol-darned guest stars that you can shake a bow at!


The sky over Lost Valley is filled with shooting stars, a sight that has poor Andar anxious of the end of the world. Turok quells his fears; he’s no stranger to this spectacle, and he’s still kicking, isn’t he? Just sit back and enjoy the lightshow.



One shooting star turns out to be a meteorite, its impact zone not far from their camp! It strikes the valley wall with explosive force, enough to tremble the earth and send the wildlife upgrading their panic levels from “unease” to “just freakin’ go bonkers”. The pair are forced to take shelter in a tree, where an opportunistic hypsilophodon gets the jump on them! After a restless night, the pair awake to a sight they could only dream of…



An exit from Lost Valley! The meteorite didn’t just make a splash, it torn down the wall that’s locking them in here! They aren’t the only ones to take notice, though: from all the shadowy biomes crawl their respective tribes — the spider men, the monkey men, the beaver men, even the last survivor of the race of giants — all fascinated by the molten crater left by the impact site…


… and then they start beating the crap out of each other. This is their meteorite! They wouldn’t dare let the sky god’s gift fall into the hands of some punkass tribe! This all takes a turn when the valley wall crumbles, nearly pasting them all beneath boulders. The giant takes this is as a sign: the sky god is upset with their behaviour. Fighting at a sacred shrine like this is disrespectful… and the tribes unanimously lay down their arms.
Is this a turnabout in tribe relations? Will the denizens of the land finally open borders and begin communicating in ways other than thumping and violence? Will Lost Valley finally see… peace?


Nah, because a honker falls into the lava-filled crater and everyone decides this’d make a great place for sacrifices. You gotta have a little sacrificial bloodlust in your life, y’know? As a treat.


This is bad news for Turok and Andar, who quite fancy visiting the big gaping hole in the valley wall that’s just beyond the crater. During the night, our heroes jimmy up some makeshift clogs to withstand the scorched earth, but that barely registers to the giant and his big nasty feet, who catches them in an instant. Why, it looks like they’ve found their first sacrifice!



In a rare show of good fortune, the rain has already cooled the pit, but the valley wall continues to crumble; it’s given them something to climb up to escape, but it could just as easily kill them, between the falling rocks and the projectiles hurled by the angry mob! The tribes wouldn’t dare step on sacred ground, and despite a glancing blow on Andar’s leg, the two make it beyond the valley wall…


… and escape the Lost Valley. At last! At last! Free from carnivorous behemoths and tribal warfare! Who knew life could ever be so… peaceful? The two take a moment to soak in their newfound freedom; it has been a long time since they enjoyed tranquillity like this.


oh for flip’s sake
They may have escaped, but the valley wall is still breached! Nothing’s stopping the scores of honkers from stampeding through it, playing merry hell with their idyllic surroundings; I’ve heard of invasive species, but this is ridiculous! If they don’t stop them, these beasts will tear their homeland a new one.



The pair start a fire to wall off the scaly invaders, shepherding them back towards the valley — but the fire encircles them, too! Caught between the blazing inferno and the crumbling valley wall, they’re left no choice but to retreat back inside. When this all blows over, they can make another bid for freedom; it’s not like the tribes will notice.


Fate is not on their side; between the footfall of multi-tonne beasts and the quaking earth, the exit has collapsed in on itself, sealing them off once again from the outside world. It might not have gone the way they wanted it, but Turok and Andar take a moment to relish the fact, for just a brief, treasured moment, they were free.


How’s this for a blockbuster of a story! As one of the earliest double-length tales, this one sets the bar extremely high; these aren’t just longer stories, these are grander stories! Full of dynamite setpieces and wham-bam action, running our heroes through one wringer of an emotional rollercoaster.
It’s so rare to see the series acknowledge past encounters so overtly, but seeing the various enemy tribes come together like this is a heck of a treat, presenting a threat unlike any our heroes have encountered before… at least, not like this. A unified coalition all with the same goal: to protect their shrine, which in turn specifically screws over Turok and Andar’s goals! I want to make a woeful comparison to Spider-Man’s nemeses the Sinister Six, only instead of superpowers they’re all just different shades of ugly. This issue is dated fourteen months after the Sinister Six’s debut, too!

For those keeping track, the spider clan and monkey men made their debut in #39’s Mortal Combat return, and we last saw the giants in issue #19 (and if this guy’s the last of them, it sure seems like warding them off had dire consequences, huh). An unnamed tribe are shown emerging from “the shadowy jungle”, possibly the same blokes from #26’s The Deadly Jungle. I don’t believe the beaver men have been namedropped yet, but they’re clearly based on Rex Maxon’s distinct flavour of prognathous Neanderthals; they wouldn’t star in a story of their own until issue #51, nearly a year later!

For Turok and Andar to finally escape back home, and have a whole two panels to enjoy it… it feels sweet, like a weight has been lifted. You know it can’t last, and they have to sacrifice their freedom for the greater good, but the fact they even make it past the valley wall without fate cruelly twisting the knife (for three whole panels, at least) is something to be treasured. You almost want to argue they could potentially hunt down all the invading dinosaurs if the barrier sealed off quickly enough, but that’s not a story, is it. Leave that to the Valiant comics!

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