Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #051: Terror in the Trees

Monday, July 20, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #051: Terror in the Trees

Turok: Son of Stone #29

Turok’s bodycount sees a sharp uptake.

After a close shave with a styracosaurus, Turok and Andar find themselves with a surplus of meat — and a pushy tribe on their doorstep demanding they share. Turok’s not in a sharing mood, and tries to distance themselves by bargaining for fruit, but this only makes things worse: the tribe want to be friends.

The two claim they’re just passing through, and when the tribe mention of an island of dangers across the shore, the two immediately set sail for it. Anything to get away from nosey neighbours, apparently!
I’ve addressed it in prior entries, but this story is perhaps the peak of Turok’s anti-friends sentiment. He makes grand gestures of not getting cosy with any of the Lost Valley’s cave dwellers, a far cry from early issues where they got downright chummy with some of the folks, but context is everything, I guess. This crowd are pretty heavy-handed.

They barely outrace a hungry croc in the waters, and the moment Turok leaves Andar’s sight, he’s immediately captured by natives. These tree-dwelling brutes want to know the secret of raft-building, so they can get off their island and make life hell for whoever else they may meet. Oh, now Turok calls the other guys his friends.

Andar may have been oblivious to Turok’s capture, but he quickly deduces what happened based on the isolated footprints and loose vines around the place. He takes to the trees and is fair assailed by a tree-dwelling honker, and two more of the angry natives, but he brings them down to earth with a quick snip of their vines.
For those keeping track, Andar throws another dude off a tree in the very next page, making that four people our heroes have probably killed by dropping from great heights this ish. Unless we’re to assume the foliage down there is really, really padded.

Despite being a nuisance, Turok remains the tree-dwellers’ captive in the hope he’ll cave and build them an escape vehicle… but it gives Andar a chance to prove himself, rescuing his mentor with the aid of a smokescreen and hightailing it back to the river. They escape on their raft, safe in the knowledge their tormentors can’t cross the water and bother no one but themselves.

Young Earth warns us of The Coming of the Flesh Eaters, an excuse to talk about the evolution of lithe, flighty dinosaurs into the chunky bois folks commonly associate with the species, among them the spinosaurus, the megalosaurus, and the teratosaurus, pictured above. Son of Stone is already rife with old-fashioned depictions of palaeontology, but this one’s a real humdinger. It’s got tail-dragging, it’s got messed up postures…

… and my personal favourite: manhandling! There’s three panels of honkers just going to town on suckers with their funky little digits, and I could not be happier.

Our heroes witness caveman ringleader Ralg and his men capturing a gorgosaurus and dunking it on a pit… and then preparing to do the same to a bunch of hapless prisoners. This isn’t just an unorthodox form of cardio, this is a bloodsport!

The pair launch arrows to ward off Ralg and his game makers, allowing the prisoners time to escape… but they themselves are captured and dunked in the pit in their stead. They may not have their weapons, but they’re by no means defenceless! They quickly use the net they were captured in to trip it up, followed by sand in its eyes to keep it off their tail for just a little bit…

… long enough for Turok to throw the net at his captors above, dragging them into the pit! Ralg calls for his cronies to save him, but it’s too late — by the time the honker is speared to death, it’s already made short work of the cruel gamemaster.

In the hubbub, the pair make their escape and reunite with the prisoners they rescued earlier, sending Ralg’s goons scattering. Without a motivator to make digging holes and capturing dinosaurs seem like a good use of their time, the followers disband and the bloodsport comes to an end.

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