Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #032: People of the Spider

Friday, May 15, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #032: People of the Spider

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #7

Turok brushes with the past.

The unlucky schmucks in today’s cold-open are a group of city-boys making sport of cutting people’s fishing lines… and face some seriously lopsided karma by getting devoured by a pistosaurus. The fishermen aren’t the only ones observing this — a group of war-painted tribesmen are also lurking in the trees, just as out-of-place as the multi-tonne monster.

Meanwhile, Regan has Turok and Andy accompany her to the West Virginia University, where Turok comes face to face with the treatment of his ancestors remains, as mere relics to be studied and displayed. It’s a subject near and dear to the Indigenous people and those trampled upon in the colonial eras, and it shows a strange contrast of ethics in the treatment of human remains. A traditional burial is a private affair; get that body out of here, pronto! But be respectful about it! If it doesn’t belong to “one of us”, however, it’s fair game for making into a showpiece, apparently.
Museum organisations have been taking steps in the past two decades to pivot away from that sort of thing, and return such artefacts to their proper homes, though not without a few hiccups. Respect be damned, some people just wanna flaunt a dead body.

Arguing about the sanctity of death isn’t what they’re here for. They’re here to meet up with Dr. Darwin Challenger; Regan’s old palaeontology professor, and their unwitting companion in the river incident they’re assigned to investigate. He’s self-aggrandising, cantankerous, and doesn’t take well to Turok’s dislike of his display of tribal remains or to Regan’s being-a-woman. But he knows his dinosaurs, so they might learn a thing or two from one another, as much of a joy he is to be around.

Challenger, as the name suggests, is a not-too-subtle nod to the leading character from Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World… more than a nod, actually, it’s implied Darwin is his grandson! The “freak catastrophe”, however, is not an event that occurs in the book, but almost suggests the titular realm was connected to the Lost Land somehow. Hm!

Before they arrive, another incident occurs that night; a family are attacked at their campsite by savages! They beat the husband, attack the dog with their own pet dinosaur, and kidnap their youngest daughter.

Come morning, Turok and company are alerted of this new development upon their arrival, though the sheriff’s search party only came up with a bead necklace. Turok’s got a funny feeling like he’s seen it before. The sheriff explains they’ve got two days to retrieve the missing girl before they unleash every resource they’ve got. The gang rappel down the cliffside overlooking the camp to save time. This suddenly feels all too familiar to Turok.

What’s also familiar is being stranded above the snapping jaws of hungry honkers. Andy calls upon Turok’s dino-knowledge, and his sage advice is… to wait it out. They’ll get bored in a couple of hours, and he promised Regan he wouldn’t use lethal force unless absolutely necessary. Speaking of Regan, she and Dr. Challenger should’ve been just above them…?

They’ve been captured — captured by the Spider Clan! They stand watching, their leader Chichak vowing vengeance upon his old enemy. If the teratosaurs don’t kill them first, then these other relics of the past might!

Tim Truman remains on writing, and now takes on art duties for this short arc as well. A bit of a change of pace after the comparatively high-end threats established in #5 and #6, it’s interesting to see Turok called upon for odd jobs by the FBI and government officials, a strange evolution from having effectively living wild at the start of this new run. And now he’s not the only man out of time in modern day!

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