Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #018: Slithering Sands

Friday, March 27, 2020 at 9:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #018: Slithering Sands

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #3

Turok and Mon-Ark are out for revenge!

Dinosaur hunting was good business in Colombia, but the market’s drying up for Turok, especially when every black marketer has a surplus of decapitated bionisaur heads in their wares thanks to him. He may trade arms with Carlos Comacho, the drug lord, but he has no affinity for the man – his misdeeds will do him in eventually. His only fallback is Hector, the head of the trading outpost, who already has plenty mounted on the walls of the bar.

The palaeontologist, Maria Cortez, catches up with Turok and asks for his help again – she’s caught wind that Carlos is planning a raid on the bionisaurs’ home, and she wants to come along if Turok will back her up. She knows asking for the survival of just one dinosaur is a lot to ask, but if there’s anyone she can entrust with her safety, it’s Turok.

Turok agrees, because Turok’s horny.

That evening, someone unexpected is waiting for him in his chambers – it’s Serita! His old flame from issue #1! She came only to return one of his electronic arrows that had washed up in the river; she still cannot abandon her people, but that’s not to say they can’t spend one night together…
This is the last we ever see of Serita. When she says she can’t leave the village, she means it. The series makes no attempt to string it along with “lovers separated by duty” malarkey. There’s plenty more fish in the sea, and Turok at least proves he canonically fucks. Add that to his powers and abilities, Wikipedia.

Turok meets up with Comacho’s crew, including Maria and her companion Anibal Suarez, who’ll be taking photographic documentation. He’s not long for this world.

They approach the island by helicopter, and are almost immediately set upon by bionisaurs — coming right out of the sand! Maria’s told of the beasts’ enhanced intelligence, but thinks nothing of this sneak attack; burying yourself under sand is a common among insects and sea life. “Her skull would probably crack if someone forced a different opinion into it,” Turok mutters.

Turok has to pull a few asses out of the fire, namely Anibal’s, but the raid’s going pretty smoothly all things considered. Those drug runners are pretty good hunters when the going gets tough. But Mon-Ark hasn’t shown his face yet…

… and when he does, he hides behind poor Anibal’s bisected carcass to hold Maria hostage! Still playing the ol’ hit-‘im-where-it-hurts routine, he gets Turok to throw down his weapons in exchange for the woman’s life; he knows how much he hates to see innocents suffer. Turok may have given in, but Maria’s not settling for it – kill ’em all! Light their asses up!

And for that, Mon-Ark lets her go with a bone-shattering thump. Maria is dead.
… yes, Maria dies! Only one issue since her debut, even, and only after interacting with Turok for all of six pages. They might not have had long together, but it seemingly implied this was a relationship to be built upon in future stories. Bummer, huh?

Turok wastes the underlings and faces off against Mon-Ark alone. They trade blows, but it’s not looking good for Turok – Mon-Ark’s primal strength has him out-gunned, and his penchant for cruelty is no fun either. The beast picks him up and drags him to the sea, forcing him beneath the waves…

… and while grasping for a tool to fight back with, he stumbles upon Serita’s gift – a single electronic arrow!

And with one thrust of the arrow’s explosive tip, Mon-Ark is dead.
It’s a bummer to see Mon-Ark gone so soon. How many comics can lay claim to a technologically-enhanced velociraptor as its lead villain? He’s primal, but his beastly ways are a fitting counterpart for Turok’s ways of the hunter, and his revelry in torture and underhanded tactics makes him a wonderfully detestable foe, if a tad predictable. Turok’s rogues gallery will grow a little as the series goes on, but none of them carry the same visceral charisma as Mon-Ark and his brood if you ask me. There’s one reader who misses you, you scaly bastard.

Comacho and his men fly back to the mainland, and Turok gets patched up and debriefed. It looks like their assault purged the island of the bionisaur menace, but some of them were seen high-tailing it out to sea. The battle may be won, but the war isn’t over… not for Turok, dinosaur hunter!

Thus concludes the first arc of the Valiant run. If you want blood and carnage and no shortage of dinosaur action, you’re well catered for. If you want a comic with a little more meat on its bones, it’s perhaps a little paltry, especially compared to the long-running topsy-turvy serials depicted in X-O Manowar and other Valiant titles.
Starting next issue, Tim Truman takes on the mantle and gives the series a more unique spin, one that makes it something far worth remembering for more than just its dinosaur action… but it won’t be covered for another few weeks. We’ve got crossovers to address! I wouldn’t namedrop X-O Manowar without a reason, you know.

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