Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #036: Almost Heaven

Friday, May 29, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #036: Almost Heaven

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #9

Turok does battle with Chichak, but is that what he wants?

Turok and Andy have front row seats to the sacrifice of Wormfeeder, an underling of their enemy Chichak, to He Who Slays. Turok still stands by his vow of non-violence, but Andy urges him to do something. “You don’t really want to save that guy, do you?”

If Turok’s not gonna do anything, Andy will — he swipes his pistol and opens fire, grabbing its attention. It comes after them and Turok lets rip, concentrating on its vulnerable underbelly, but even his assault rifle barely dents its hide…

Dr. Challenger to the rescue? He scares the ankylosaurus into the open, He Who Slays catching it for a snack that’s smooth on the inside, crunchy on the outside (“Armadillos!”). This gives Andy enough time to free Wormfeeder and retreat back into the trees; he’s very thankful for the rescue, but refuses to tell them where Regan or Chichak are — he couldn’t betray his clan like that.

Turok convinces him.

Regan is still with Chichak’s tribe, but has had the time to observe their customs. To modern eyes they appear savage, but they are simply following their ancient traditions, and are not as primitive as they appear. There is only one old woman among their clan who teaches the young; Regan and the little girl were taken to add new blood and new customs to the line, to aid the tribe’s transition into this new domain. Even the Spider People know they can’t stay unchanged forever.

Some of the tribe try to take advantage of her, but Chichak is quick to beat their heads together and shame them. After their awkward start the other day, they’ve come to respect one another; though given the option to go, Regan chooses to stay, if just to teach them of the new world they’re in– but to Chichak, that can wait.

Turok and company arrive outside the camp, and as much as Challenger would love to interact with an ancient tribe like his grandfather, this is something Turok must do alone. He enters and asks only for Regan’s safe release–

— but Chichak objects. She’s free to go anywhere and whenever she likes… except with Turok. Besides, where’s the fun in diplomacy? Chichak throws some muscle at his foe before squaring up himself, urging he throw away his modern sensibilities and rejoin them in the wild–

— before getting struck with a bullet. The sheriff’s crew enter guns blazing, but he and Regan talk them down before any more damage is done. The sheriff explains the deadline for state intervention was shortened… and the governor’s to blame.

Getting back the missing girl wasn’t the only reason for doing so — he’s also declaring this area a new dinosaur reserve, ideal for tourists and big game hunters alike! Anything to rake in the dough on that hot 1993 dinosaur boom.

As for Chichak and his people, they’re rounded up and taken away and taken away to be… assimilated. Everyone is rightfully upset about the spider people’s fate, and Turok peaces out — the thought of having contributed to this debacle makes him sick.

Thus ends another story arc, and it’s another character-heavy excerpt; some classic action in fending off He Who Slays, intentionally harkening back to the Gold Key Comics approach of observing and predicting dinosaur behaviour, thrown amok by Andy being a wayward gun-wielding youth. Dr. Challenger is eager to live up to his ancestors’ traditions, and the Spider Clan are doing the best they can for an out-of-time hunter gatherer tribe. It’s not the ensemble I’d expect, but it makes for a fun and invigorating three issues!

It’s a particularly melancholy conclusion — the lost girl is finally saved (after existing only as a background detail in crowd shots for two issues!), but the Spider People pay dearly for it. Turok and Chichak don’t exactly resolve their tension, instead only creating further rifts in these people taken from time. This isn’t the last we’ll see of Chichak, so there’s hope for them yet. The seeming destruction of the Lost Land hasn’t just scattered dinosaurs across the world, but its former denizens as well, and Turok will have to contend with other inhabitants of the Lost Land in future stories!

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