Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #030: The Collection

Friday, May 8, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #030: The Collection

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #6

Turok vs. Longhunter: round 1!

With Turok captive and at his mercy, Longhunter uses the opportunity to boast a bit: the Allosaurus family didn’t even come to this valley themselves, but were instead deployed as bait, courtesy of Mr. Noel and his rare animal collection… all to lure just one dinosaur hunter. Andy and Regan are merely surplus.

They’re bundled aboard a helicopter to be shipped to the unscrupulous collector, and Regan and Turok apologise to one another: they shouldn’t have gotten dragged into this. Even the poor dinosaurs, lethal predators that they are, didn’t deserve their callous fate. While their time displacement is playing merry hell with human civilisation, it’s pleasing to see the even the dinosaurs’ death treated with grief; they have as much a right to life as any other creature.

Once they land, Longhunter gets an overdue sock in the nose. It doesn’t save the day or anything, it just feels good.

Inside his luxury complex, Mr. Noel explains his passion to his son. With the natural habitats of many creatures lost to land-grabbing and resource-scouring, they’re at risk of disappearing forever. Good start, good start. So why not just coop them up in his own home? Make them all his pets! Privatise the wildlife! You lost me there, buddy.

Mr. Noel Jr. (we never learn the son’s name or even Noel Senior’s full name, so i’m covering all my bases) still plays with toy cars, littering the floors in trucks and jeeps, and takes pleasure in seeing animals suffer. He gets lots of panels painting him as a creep. Foreshadowing for him to be a killer in the making? Or just a common or garden sociopath?

Longhunter arrives with the merchandise, and Mr. Noel explains his fascination with Turok. He’s the last of his kind, untainted by modern culture… but for how long? He wants to play the white saviour and protect him from corruption — by putting him in his collection before the old ways leak out of him. He’s the only one left, he can’t take any chances!

Unlike those allosauruses, which he’s already got a collection of: they’re popping up around the country like crazy, totally diluting their market value. It’s almost like anyone who wanted to get rich off them has to contend with the massive print run or something.
Regan and Turok notice the green bile dripping from their maws — that isn’t your everyday prehistoric saliva. That’s a sign of sickness. He’s had experience with it back when the unruly folks of 4001AD brought their filth into the Lost Land. The gang are thrown in cells until it’s time to study them. With nothing better to do, Andy asks Turok what he really thinks about Regan.

They didn’t frisk the captives thoroughly enough, as Andy’s stowed away a lockpick to break them out. They free Regan and sneak down to the garage, hoping to hotwire an escape vehicle for themselves…

… only for Longhunter and his cronies to catch them in the act. No funny business, nothing underhanded: he just wants a one-on-one with Turok to settle the score for his broken nose. Longhunter gets a couple of good hits in, drawing first blood, but unfortunately has to stoop to the one thing he knows best:

He boasts.

And that’s how the first scrap with Longhunter goes down.
It pains me to say that Turok’s rogues gallery leaves something to be desired. Mon-Ark set the bar high, but we’ll never have another bionisaur as an arch-nemesis again. We’ll have to make do with humans and other creeps, and Longhunter is perhaps the one with the most repeat appearances. He sucks, but in a charming way? The moment he shows up I mutter, “bog off, Longhunter”, but by the end of each appearance he’s been positively served, and my wish is answered.
He’s the perfect embodiment of “love to hate”; there’s plenty to hate and little to love, except when he gets dunked headfirst into an oil drum. That’s bliss right there. And Turok gets a new knife out of it, too; he’s been eyeing Longhunter’s since he was on the helicopter.

Regan and Andy wait in the car while Turok enters the complex again: he’s got a bone to pick with Mr. Noel. As luck would have it, Turok finds him feeding his allosauruses…

… and as luck would also have it, Noel trips on his son’s toys, plunging him into the dinosaur pen. Hey, two birds with one stone, and Turok didn’t have to lay a finger on him.

The gang drive home in their new Porsche, while the now-orphan son watches menacingly from the bedroom window. Will he seek revenge for his father’s death? Has he sinister plans in mind for his newly inherited collection of dangerous animals?
Who knows. We never see him again.
This happens a lot, don’t worry about it.

And so we close out Tim Truman’s first arc on Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. It’s a much deserved change of pace, and a fun read for it. Dinosaur hunting may be Turok’s claim to fame in this world, but there’s a lot more to him than that. A teacher. A hunter. A warrior. The last of the Kiowa-Apache.
The villains may be low-frills affairs, barely able to match Turok’s skill, but it’s how they contrast with his ideals that fuel the conflict. It’s not the same level of balls-to-the-wall action as the first strips, but I can walk away from each issue remembering the important stuff that happened, and not just how many paragraphs of gun-prose they had.

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