Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #093: The Monster From The Past

Monday, December 14, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments (0)

Turok: Son of Stone #50


A momma dinosaurs goes ape on anyone who dares touch its eggs.


In medias res strikes again! One panel in and Turok is already in fatal peril, ready to be munched in twain by the jaws of a man-handlin’ honker! The narration already purple proses it up, so I’m left out of a job.


Of course, that wasn’t how our heroes first met the beast. traversing an unexplored, shadowy region of Lost Valley reveals great pools shrouded in ice, dooming its denizens to an icy grave, including the big boy above. Figuring mother nature has already taken care of the threat for them, Turok and Andar venture on and try not to think about it.


The beast leaves their mind entirely when a spur-of-the-moment earthquake rocks the valley, tearing down the great mountains surrounding the path and nearly plunging them into a fatal abyss. This is par for the course for their everyday life, but the great quake also does a number on the frozen pools, cracking and thawing them thanks to their first exposure to the sun in generations… and out of it emerges a monster with the morning munchies.


LOOK OUT TUROK!
THERE’S A BIG MONSTER BEHIND YOU!!
JUST TURN AROUND TUROK!!!
IT’LL ONLY TAKE A SECOND!!!!


As the prehistoric predator bears down on them, now’s a good time to find out they’re out of poison arrows! T & A book it into the nearest cave, prompting the beast to bugger off in favour of easier prey. Inside the cave, our heroes learn this isn’t just any old honker — it’s got LORE!
Ancient cave etchings aren’t just for sweet deer-hunting illustrations anymore; these ones depict the creature’s oviparous patterns, showing it laying eggs every two months and leaving them to hatch under the surface of the water… until an influx of sea life gobbled the lot of them, suggesting the terror that chased them in here might be the last of its kind.



Today’s towering threat may have a tragic backstory, but don’t think it deserves pity — it’s a badass mama jamba! The pair emerge to watch it take on a triple threat of t-rexes, but even those giants aren’t tough enough to even scratch the beast. When a momma’s itchin’ to lay a new brood, no force on earth can stop it, apparently!



Just as the cave painting stated, the monster marches into the river to drop a load of eggs before looking for a fight elsewhere. Turok and Andar venture in to ensure a new generation of ecosystem-demolishing monsters never see the light of day, but are warded off by hungry sharks and a testy gator, which momma dino tackles to perform a choke slam on.

Yes, sharks! We’ve seen a decent variety of prehistoric sea life throughout Son of Stone, but sharks (or more specifically, “shark-like fish”) are a new one. Sharks were probably around millions of years before even the dinosaurs started larking about, yet for some reason they’re not treated with the relic-life reverence as the good ol’ croc.
For some reason we just don’t see them as evolutionarily-unchanged the same way, even though most sea life has probably gone countless generations without the need for a refurb. Plesiosaurs, kronosaurs and zeuglodons are just a few of the few of the beasts more commonly associated as prehistoric sea-menaces, so it’s intriguing that the story just settled for sharks… or shark-likes, at least. Easier to find reference images, probably.


also HOLY SHIT

SHE SPLIT THAT CROCO IN TWAIN!!


With momma on the prowl again, the pair brew up a fire to ward it off, giving them the time to attack the eggs unhindered… until a bloody plesiosaur shows up to give chase. Once again they hoof it into a cave for safety, only this one is unfortunately big enough for the beast to follow them in…


… only to come a cropper courtesy of a crowd of chompy coelacanths. How much sea life is there in this river anyway? Surely one of them’s bound to eat those eggs eventually, right? If only it were that easy.


Turok and Andar change tact: they wouldn’t have to rely on the wildlife killing each other to save their bacon if they had poison arrows. They sneak past the mama honker and stock up on deadly arrowheads, and let ‘er rip… to no avail!



At least, not immediately. After a perilous delay with its prey held to its waiting maw, the beast finally falls, nearly crunching Turok as its final act of defiance. Bloody hell. It doesn’t half make them work for their victories, does it.


That still leaves the eggs, though, and the river continues to dredge up more and more new threats — this time there’s a school of swordfish and a bleedin’ giant squid! The latter proves a handy deus ex machina, providing Turok a veil of dark ink to shroud him as he shatters the eggs, the beasts below scoring themselves a tasty snack. Our heroes rest easy knowing the beast’s lineage has been ended forever, before it does irreparable damage to the Lost Valley.
Although a simple enough yarn, its sheer variety of high-octane animal encounters are a point in its favour!


The backup features in this issue have a heavy Native American slant. The Keys of Knowledge featurette on Prehistoric Americans cast a spotlight on the Aztecs and their various conquests, like the Toltecs. It’s pretty light on content, as you’d expect, but it’s a fine excuse to soak up the sweet armour and cool architecture.

The text feature focuses on Ishi, believed to be the last survivor of the Yahi tribe, whose insight and culture would have been lost had he not found his way into white society… and whose people and culture wouldn’t have been subjected to genocide if the whiteys weren’t so pissy.
As was the case with many of the text features, it dramatises, romanticises, and glosses over a lot of the material, including his later life as a live-in university project. Though hardly the spotlight of Gold Key comics, I do value the text features for introducing me to parts of American history I was otherwise oblivious to… and ultimately a little big disgusted by, but so it goes, don’t it.

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