Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #012: Turok And Roll All Night

Friday, March 6, 2020 at 9:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #012: Turok And Roll All Night

Archer & Armstrong #2

Strap yourself in, we’re going to talk about event comics.

The last time we saw Turok, he and Andar were still stuck in the Sunken Valley looking for a way out. Little did they know that the Lost Valley would soon become the battleground for Valiant’s entire stable of heroes, and then some! This is the big granddaddy of Valiant’s event comics, one that served as the centrepiece of its fictional universe, jumpstarting a bunch of characters’ new comics as they all join forces across time in the fight against the universe-threatening foe, Mothergod.

If there’s one thing comics love, it’s crossovers, and if there’s one thing Valiant editor-in-chief Jim Shooter really likes, it’s having a new chest of toys to bash together. Apparently two Secret Wars weren’t enough to keep him sated! But you can’t enter an event comic without a big dose of context… because if there’s another thing comics love, it’s impractical barrier to entry.

So, who’s Mothergod? To answer that, we have to catch up on the first twelve issues of Solar: Man of the Atom!

Solar: Man of the Atom #13 (June 1992)
Doctor Philip Seleski is a nuclear physicist who chucks himself into a fusion reactor core after it starts acting up, reconstructing him as a being of pure energy – Solar. You’ll recognise him because he looks like a recolour of the Phantom, only his definition of “SLAM EVIL!” is disintegrating the heck out of people. After some hullabaloo trying to control his outrageous powers, he accidentally dunked the Earth into a black hole, only to awaken a week in the past…
… but what actually happened was he’d unknowingly recreated the Earth, now with a great deal of uncanny changes inspired by his love of comic books… namely, the original Gold Key version of Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom. So, Solar’s technically responsible for why the Valiant universe is crawling with superheroes, aliens, and other paranormal activity, I guess?

By that logic he’s also responsible for creating Mothergod. See, his co-worker Erica Pierce was also effected by the fusion reactor incident, granting her dominion over reality, only she tried to repress her powers. Her life had already been wracked with abuse and self-loathing, so to be inflicted with abundant, intrusive, unwanted power by one man’s selfish endeavour… let’s just say it made for a rocky workplace relationship.

Solar: Man of the Atom #9 (May 1992)
Solar having to beat the crap out of her murderous unborn child when it got super powers did nothing for Seleski-Pierce relations either.

Solar: Man of the Atom #12 (Aug 1992)
As the only person on par with Solar’s power, the Erica Pierce of the original timeline survived the black hole and was flung into the new Earth, a separate being from the recreated Erica Pierce, whose new life was even more messed up than her own.
She had good reason to be upset. Solar had the power to recreate the universe, but not the wisdom to make things better for everyone. So Erica put the Erica of the new timeline out of her misery and began researching ways of resetting everything again, using her powers of chronokinesis to keep herself and her son Albert young for years – millennia, even! – into the year 4001AD, where she dubbed herself “Mothergod” and announced her plan of “Unity”, an attempt to bring order to all of existence. And to do that, she moved her stronghold, North Am’s Rainbow Tower, into the Lost Land…!

Unity #0 (Aug 1992)
The Lost Land is the newly-introduced name for the Lost Valley/Sunken Valley from the classic Son of Stone comics. Its origins remain a mystery, but it is said to be on a plane of reality separate from the rest of existence, so much so that the ordinary rules of time don’t apply there. Mothergod sums it up in Unity #0: “All times coexist in the outer realities, but no matter when you enter this land, you arrive in our ‘present’.” Passages to it exist throughout the world, explaining how Turok and Andar first landed there and its anachronistic diversity of fauna, but perhaps more importantly, an excuse for Valiant’s heroes across the 21st and 41st centuries to team up! The Lost Land is a darn sight different now that Mothergod’s transplanted technology from 4001AD there, though.

And that’s where Unity really begins. To call it a big fiasco would be an understatement. Dudes from both present and future, super-powered or not, join in the skirmish to either fight against Mothergod, fight against each other, or peace out entirely, trying to find a way out of this mess… and often stumbling upon their true calling. People die left, right and centre, and more often than not are reborn by some means or another.
The saga runs for eighteen issues across eight titles, telling the events from each comic’s distinct perspective, and even serving as the debut issue of the Eternal Warrior and Archer & Armstrong titles. The events of Unity take place over five months, and the chronology is all over the place – the events are so huge there’s no way to take in everything in order, you simply read whatever plot thread it gives you and hope they all come together in the end.

Is Unity worth reading? If you like incomprehensible, non-linear action with a never-ending array of outrageous powers and enemies on display, sure, go for it. Just don’t expect a straight-forward read, especially if you go back to piece together Mothergod’s backstory – the first ten issues of Solar: Man of the Atom are split between two concurrently-running stories set before and after the whole Earth-resetting fandango. Piecing that together was a dickens, but all you need to know is Solar’s a screw-up and Mothergod’s got good reason to want what she wants, even if it’s still mega-villainy.

But the question on everyone’s lips is:


In the pages of Archer & Armstrong #2, that’s where! If you want a quick catch-up of who these two are, the ad for their debut in the March 1993 issue of Previews sums them up:
“Armstrong, a ten-thousand year-old-reprobate with the strength of a battalion, meets Archer, a twenty-year old who come back from the dead with super-powers and a mission. Together they’re absolutely unstoppable and totally miserable!”
Just like Magnus, this is their only interaction with Turok, though it’s a pivotal one.

The titular duo have just bungled an assassination attempt on Mothergod in their debut ish, and her treacherous son Albert has welched on them, sending them to the brig. Luckily, X-O Manowar happened to be tussling with a tyrannosaurus right outside, their brawl busting open the cell and setting them free. Mothergod sends one of her many guardians to recapture them…


Our man! The Lost Land is a sprawling battleground now, so it’s only natural he’d get wrapped up in the meddlings of Mothergod. Unfortunately, he’s fallen under her spell; he’s serving as her personal hunting dog, now able to communicate with modern man thanks to “English sleep-infusions.” No word on the whereabouts of his companion Andar, though.

The gruesome twosome try to sneak back into MG’s fortress to reclaim Archer’s crossbow, when Turok intercepts them, quickly getting the upper hand. He’s an honourable bloke, our Turok, and although ordered to kill them, he at least gives them the opportunity to explain their intent.

Considering he’s asking what their motivations are, Archer wonders if he’s uncertain of his own cause. He gives a stirring speech about the evils of Mothergod, and Turok is swayed – that, and when he held Archer’s weapon, he sensed the honourable, worthy spirit of its master. His bow, the one gifted to him by Mothergod, the one currently screaming obscenities at him through its two-way radio… is not. He throws down his bow and departs to fight another day, this time for a worthy cause.

While this is the start of Turok’s illustrious career in making crappy crossover appearances, it’s not the end of Unity. The battle against Mothergod would ravage onward for many moons and multiple issues, and even its conclusion would have repercussions that cast ripples across the shared Valiant universe. The events of Unity would continue to haunt Turok even as he embarked on brave new ventures… but we’ll get to that in due time.

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