Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #049: Plateau of Death

Monday, July 13, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #049: Plateau of Death

Turok: Son of Stone #28

Fun and games with mind control.

Our heroes witness a caveman walking in a stupor, completely oblivious to the dinosaur that’s quickly advancing on him. No amount of yelling and screaming alerts the man to the danger… but the moment another bozo tells him to take cover, he obliges obediently. While Turok and Andar slay the honker, they realise the man is one of many slaves belonging to the tribe, and are put in a stupor state by drinking “slave juice.”

ow my free will

Even the unruliest unpaid worker becomes a boot-licking schmuck upon drinking the juice! That’s the last of the juice, and members of the tribe set out to fetch the red berries that make this stuff, unaware Turok and Andar are on their tail. A triceratops busts Andar’s leg, but he urges Turok to go on without them; they can’t let these secret berries be exploited.

Turok’s cover is foiled by an alligator, and he’s quickly captured and forced to gather berries on the tribe’s behalf, using the ‘gator carcass to sate the beast that supposedly guards the cave. With the berries crushed, he’s subjected to the dreaded slave juice…

… and Andar witnesses his friend and mentor follow their enemies obediently. Andar sets up a snare trap to put his captors out of commission and tries talking him out of his stupor, but we know they’ve had no luck with that in the past. However will he free Turok from his mind control?

Oh, white berries. Ta, lads.

Andar returns to the cave and plucks some of the antidote, and begins destroying the red berries for good, but he has a spectator — the honker guarding the cave fancies him for dessert! He legs it back to camp, taking the honker with him, and uses it as leverage to make the tribe return Turok’s wits.
The deed is done, and Andar saves them from the beast. Turok has no memory of what happened since the cave, but with the slave juice berries gone for good, the tribe’s reign of terror is over.

Into the Plateau of Death! T & A are alerted to an incoming honker by old man Beld, but he seems to welcome the beast’s attempt on his life. Our heroes kill it before it can do any harm, but to Beld, this is a disappointment. Another medicine man has taken his role in the village, and as is custom, he must take himself away and let death come to him.

Turok thinks this is a pretty daft custom; why not have two medicine men, or simply allow Beld to retire and live out the rest of his days? Because that’s not tradition, genius! If tradition says he find a sacred place to kill himself, by god he’s going to do it. Turok and Andar can’t change his mind, but they do follow after in the hopes they can help the man by other means.
An aside: I do love that bottom-right panel. There is no better way to summarise the relationship between Turok and Andar in the classic comics.

The pair save him from another honker, and convince him he still has his medicine by having him roll a stone into water, oblivious that it came from their log fire; if the water bubbled, he must still have some power left in him!

Unfortunately, there’s no hope of getting home now — the log bridge has been removed by his tribe! Beld takes this is a sign he should indeed a hole to crawl in and die, but Turok urges him to help them explore, duping him into thinking his magic touch grants great strength to his arrows. With power like that, it’d be a crime to let it die on a punkass chateau like this!

They take a raft across the water and finally find their way back to Beld’s tribe, where the new medicine man, Grak, demands he compete to show he’s still got it. He repeats his earlier stunt with the bubbling water, Turok’s tricks helping him come out on top, but the tribe want a real test of power: let’s see him kill this bigass honker!

Turok sinks an arrow into the beast out of sight of the tribe, leading them to believe Beld’s got the killer touch. Now that his power is outclassed Grak is sent off to snuff it, but Beld urges they let him stay; Grak can remain the practising medicine man, using both their powers if necessary, and Beld can live out his final days with his people. Turok and Andar slink off unseen, happy in their day’s good deed. “Perhaps there is no stronger medicine than gratitude!”

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