Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #040: Carnage!

Friday, June 12, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #040: Carnage!

X-O Manowar #27, #28

Turok bumbles into a three-way crossover.

Turok stops by Ulster County to visit Aric, aka the X-O Manowar — not just his best friend, but his blood brother. They’re real tight! It’s been a while since they’ve seen each other, and they both catch up on their latest developments; for Turok, his old companion Andar has passed, whose grandson Andy is now entrusted as Turok’s student. For Aric, his lady friend Randy Cartier is moving out of his house, though they remain close — and they must be, if she’s just after a brief stint of manning the X-O armour herself.

The last issue ended with Turok journeying to visit Andy’s uncle in Utah, and we’ll get to that in Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #10… but in the meantime, there’s five issues of crossover appearances to squeeze in, and this seems the most appropriate place! If he’s already going to travel over halfway across the continent, he might as well pay his blood brother a visit, otherwise he can expect an angry phone call from their blood mother.
That’s a terrible joke and yet I can’t bring myself to delete it.

While they’re being convivial, Turok presents a gift to Aric: an “azze-kloth”. A medicine chord used to hold objects most sacred close to your heart. Aric hasn’t anything worthy enough to place in it yet, but it’s Turok’s little way of saying, I’ll always be there.
This object is a misspelling of an izze-kloth, an object that I assume is very sacred to Apache culture; so much so that most information you can find online is dated back to volume 9 of John Gregory Burke’s The Medicine-men of the Apache, first published in 1892. While I’m a sucker for learning about culture, when the Apache people have made a point of keeping this item forbidden from outsiders, it seems fair to respect that. So much of Indigenous culture has been reduced to ‘exotic’ synonyms or a macguffin in horror movies through pop culture osmosis. We’ve seen what happened to wendigos! Or even friendship bracelets!

Anyway, the good mood is spoiled by them stumbling across a grisly sight. A trail of green blood… and a severed arm! This looks like the work of the Spider Aliens! If you don’t know, they’re Aric’s bigtime nemeses and he doesn’t like them one bit. And if Aric hates someone, Turok will hate them twice as much, because they’re bros like that.

The blood trail leads to a cave, and they spend an hour exploring with nothing to show for it… and suddenly, there’s Spider Aliens on top of them! They battle to the best of their ability, before X-O blasts a hole in the wall to make some space…

… and there’s even more behind it, as well some familiar faces: Geomancer, the Eternal Warrior Gilad, and the Secret Weapons!
The events of this story were also told in Secret Weapons #7, only from their point of view on the other side of that wall, so X-O and Turok literally just burst out of nowhere.

And attacking the Secret Weapons is a monstrous spider-human hybrid thing! It’s apparently not the first time X-O has fought something like this, and Secret Weapons #7 opens with a cold open on the unlucky soul who was abducted and made this way by the Spider Aliens: a witch-burning priest from the 17th century.

Aric gets all the fun of fighting it, but finds his armour is sluggish to respond to his commands, as if jammed by interference. When he finds the lair lined with human bodies stored as sustenance, that gives him the gusto to drown the beast in its own preservative juices.

Meanwhile, Turok has the privilege of working alongside a bunch of wisecracking dumbasses.

Secret Weapons #7 puts a more positive spin on their interaction, though.

The heroes regroup and access a convenient computer terminal, showing a veritable web of underground tunnels covering miles of terrain… and somewhere in the centre is their master complex. The Secret Weapons are pretty busted up, so they, Gilad, and the Geomancer retreat to the surface, leaving Turok and Aric alone on their hunt.
They continue to explore the tunnels, with X-O’s sensors tracking which of them leads to the core. He gets a nasty surprise — if the Good Skin’s sensors are correct, one of the tunnels may even lead directly into his home!

That’s bad. Some of Aric’s closest comrades are there right now — among them Randy, his lady pal and part-time carrier of the X-O armor; Ken, his first contact on modern Earth and ex-Spider Alien pawn; and Paul, an ex-secret agent who’s Randy’s squeeze. Oh, and some friends they met in a bar fight a few issues ago–

— but we don’t need their names. One of them’s gotten eaten already.

Turok and Aric burst in to fend them off as best they can, but the X-O armour is on the fritz — he can’t utilise his ion cannons, forcing him to use his fists or even borrow from his sword collection. The Spider Aliens are able to overpower them through sheer numbers, and even put Aric out of commission, capturing him and taking them to their leader.

Underground, one of the head Spider Alien bioengineers, Aristedes, does a bit of the ol’ boasting-to-the-prisoner schtick. They’ve been mighty ticked off about him using their own technology against him, and have been trying to reclaim it for a while now… but if Aric’s going to be such a pest, it might be better to just take away his toys entirely. So they’re been poisoning his water supply for the past year and a half, infecting his armour with a silicon virus that’s harmless to humans, but has been slowly weakening the Good Skin’s functionality.
While Ken is assigned cleanup duty at the house, Turok follows the trail to their lair with Randy and Paul to accompany him. There’s no point taking the stealthy approach when the odds are stacked against them. Let ‘er rip! While this certainly causes pandemonium, it also prompts Aristedes to cut to the chase of his little plan:

Destroying Aric’s X-O armour — Shanhara, the Good Skin — for good!

It’s nice having this context for Turok and Aric’s relationship, that they make time to meet up and cement their bond together. Aside from those opening pages, this is very much an X-O Manowar story with Turok as a sideshow; Aric isn’t dropping everything to shoehorn some dinosaurs into the fray.

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