Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #086: Stronghold

Friday, November 20, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments (0)

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #27


Turok finally squares off with the Campaigner!



Emboldened by an attack on their lakeside home, Captain Red, Turok, and their companions launch an assault on the Campaigner’s stronghold, with the perimeter guards as their first targets… taken out in part by Andy singing hits from the rockin’ ’50s.


Their forces gather in the woods as they form their strategy, among them the muck-encrusted bog men. We last saw these boys in Turok: Son of Stone #33, which had also been reprinted in The Original Turok: Son of Stone #2 just a few months prior.


Turok fears they haven’t enough men to begin the fight, but Red is still reeling from yesterday’s destruction; to lose the love of your life is a painful thing. Despite their last words together being particularly unpleasant, Turok still carries a torch for Regan.



Chichak emerges with the remainders of the spider people still left in the Lost Land (unsullied by unscrupulous psychiatric conditioning), and they finally begin their siege on the rainbow tower. For the warriors, this is a feast of combat long overdue. Andy’s got nothing valiant to say, he’s just here ’cause he can’t go home.


The bombing squad put a cork on their good spirits, but another friendly face turns the tide — Archer and the winged men! That pony-tailed peacenik pulled through in the end!

The winged men appeared last ish, likely another holdover from the story of the same name in Turok: Son of Stone #25, also reprinted by Valiant not long before this, but not in their actual wingsuit getups. They’re given a far more sophisticated appearance here, probably the influence of the Lost Land’s clash of cultures; in the original comic they were just hairy dudes in loincloths like everyone else.




Campaigner himself joins the fray on the back of a pteranodon, and gives Red a taste of his axe. Turok takes his place by raiding a bomber pilot’s ride and giving chase.



The big bad gets reacquainted with the traitor to Mothergod’s reign, eager to see him pledge allegiance to her cause once more. Fat chance. The fight continues inside the tower as Turok is knocked off his mount, and he returns the favour, shooting Campaigner’s pteranodon and sending him careening against the far wall, taking a nasty scrape.


Enough to scrape the skin off… his metallic body?!



We might’ve guessed Campaigner wasn’t mere blood and bone, given the sparks from his arrow wound and his various macho quips regarding bodily functions. He was but a robot lifted from the far-flung future of the 41st century, in Magnus: Robot Fighter’s fighting grounds of North Am, but reworked into something so much more — a robot with a soul!


Then Seer shows up to take him down a peg. Seer — better known as Myrddin Emrys, or motherfuckin’ Merlin — demands Turok step down and leave this affair in his mystical hands. He’s only been grumbling this entire time about the little peons and their war, ignoring all of his cryptic nothings. Let him have this.


Nah.


With Campaigner thrown into the rainbow tower’s unstable energies, the construct begins to erupt, forcing Turok to leg it as Seer claims he has only brought about the beginning of the end. He’s brought peace to the Lost Land… for now. They’ll see each other again, no doubt.


With the Campaigner and his armies well and truly trumped, there’s nothing for Turok and Andy to stay for — not with a portal back to Earth at their disposal. Chichak is finally back where he belongs, and Keth, Red, and their families can continue to rebuild what they once had. For Turok, he’s got to rekindle what he lost with the one he loved.

A whiz-bang conclusion to this little arc! More gung-ho multi-man skirmishes in the Mothergod’s palace… it’s like Unity never ended! Rags Morales’ art really shines with some absolutely beautiful panels, giving every character a chance to shine. There’s a real visceral edge to the art that really brings out the intensity it’s going for; Chichak looks especially bestial, Red is spitting at every foe he encounters, and Keth is a ruthless son of a gun with his pistol.
Once again, Truman makes good of battle scenes as an excuse to learn about a character’s ethos. Andy and Keth work side by side, the elder encouraging his gunplay, but the youth insists he’s in it solely to defend his newfound family, further emphasising Truman’s anti-guns-for-teens angle, which is appreciated. Needs must given the circumstances, but it’s good that Turok doesn’t need to beat the sanctity of life into the kid’s head — or at least, he can count on others to do the needful on his behalf.

The pteradactyl bomb squad who’ve been a thorn in their side this entire arc are disposed of somewhat unceremoniously, though Turok does get his big throwdown with Campaigner. It’s sadly not quite as climatic as one might hope, especially when it’s Seer/Merlin who’s the one to deliver the debilitating blow, but Campaigner’s sheer bombast is hard to ignore. Morales goes whole hog on his panels, bursting with pizzazz and electric energy. No other villain has been given this amount of screen presence — not even Mon-Ark!
While Campaigner is toast and the Lost Land seemingly unified, the cryptic words of Merlin and the words from his friends suggest it won’t be long before the heroes return. Look at the toys we’ve got to play with now! Inter-tribe relations, relics of Mothergod’s reign, and goodness know what else lurking off-panel.

If you’ve read Wikipedia entries for the Turok comic, you might be wondering where the rest of the enemy forces are. Where’s Longhunter? Wasn’t there a bigger bionisaur among their ranks…? For ten years and counting, the Wikipedia article has had this… slightly colourful description of Valiant’s Turok: Dinosaur Hunter.

In the aftermath of the final battle between Mothergod and the Valiant Universe heroes, the Lost Lands begin to disappear. Turok and Andar are tossed into a post-apocalyptic future Earth, and a group of bionisaurs make it to Earth along with them. Following this, they become ruthless hunters trying to contend with the demons and aliens that exist in the future world as well as various Lovecraftian abominations and high-tech future warriors. Mothergod seizes power in this future and, with the help of The Campaigner, The Longhunter, Thunder (a biomechanical tyrannosaur) and Mantid (a 30-foot robot praying mantis), begins to rebuild her empire and attempt to hunt down and kill Turok and Andar.

from Wikipedia (edited 12:13, 19 July 2010)

I mean, it’s equal parts right and wrong, but if all you based your knowledge on were random covers and vague knowledge from the video games, you could almost get the impression this was the plot. Stop me now before I make it a reality through fanfiction.
The unnamed editor responsible for this also made dubious changes to other video game articles, including claiming the Jinjos from Banjo-Kazooie are pterodactyls (THEY’RE JINJOS!!!!) and proposing ludicrous names for the bosses of Altered Beast. Mothergod never enlisted Longhunter, we never see bionisaurs larger than utahraptors in the Valiant comics, the giant mantis was strictly a video game-only addition… and Mon-Ark aside, none of the animals get names, unless we’re to believe that pilot actually christened his pteranodon Enola Gay.

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