Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #057: The Fire-Stealers

Monday, August 10, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #057: The Fire-Stealers

Turok: Son of Stone #32

Cavemen learn the joys of pyromania.

Karlg and his posse have been watching Turok and Andar in a bid to learn the secret of fire; he’s clacking the same types of stone together, but nothing’s happening! Trial and error isn’t his strong suit, so he captures the pair of them and demands they do it under threat of death.

A lucky lightning strike scares them off, allowing our heroes to leg it. While stewing over their loss, a tree near their cave is struck by lightning, setting it ablaze and arming them with convenient torch branches! they waste no time in running their rivals out of their cave, claiming it for themselves.

The cycle of violence continues: knowing Turok and Andar hold the secret of fire, the cave refugees hunt them down and shackle them to a tree to be executed at their leisure. Karlg’s on a roll, and starts setting the land ablaze to funnel the wildlife into the open for easy slaughtering…

… but the blaze spreads until even the meat-eaters can’t stick it, flushing them out towards the unsuspecting tribe. They bail, leaving the honkers to flood into the woods where Turok and Andar remain captive! The fire helps them escape their bonds, and they make good their escape in the smoky haze, which is soon quelled by the rain.

After surviving a close shave with a hungry honker, Andar’s sleep is plagued by strange dreams — at first only involving life-or-death encounters with scaly monsters, though that’s the new normal. But then they allude to an exit from the Lost Valley, to their tribe back home…

It’s only a short sequence, but I quite like these dream panels. The light pastels and thin outlines really stand out; the art in Son of Stone is so often muddied beneath thick ink-shading and an imperfect printing process, but these fine strokes truly demonstrate Alberto Giolitti’s stunning figure drawing.

The nightmare hasn’t disturbed Andar; it’s only encouraged him to double his efforts, climbing tall cliffs to find viable vantage points, but all in vain. On their travels they find another tribe who tell them of a possible lead, a cave illuminated by the sun only when it is “two hands high”.

And it pays off! Andar spies the cave for himself, and ventures in without alerting Turok. It’s guarded by a territorial megalosaurus, and his bow breaks in the scuffle before he can take care of it; he only escapes by starting a small fire to ward it off.

He returns later with Turok, and their long search pays off; there’s daylight at the end of the tunnel! Unfortunately, their fanged friend is still there, and even with Turok’s skills, they’re having a hard time putting it away. The pests get the megalosaur so worked up…

… that its tail thrashes at the cave wall, bringing the roof down! T & A get out just in time… but there’s no hope of unearthing that tunnel ever again. They were this close to a breakthrough, but Andar hasn’t given up hope; if they found one exit, they can surely find another!

It’s yet another story that jerks the heroes’ chain, offering a glimmer of hope before burying it under so many immovable boulders. I do appreciate it for offering a little bit of insight into Andar’s plight; he’s probably facing some degree of trauma over being stuck in the Lost Valley, and one wonders even if he were to get out (without all the space-time nonsense involved in Valiant Comics’ solution), would he ever get over that fear of living amongst savage, towering predators?
Turok’s concern for him is very sweet; when Andar goes exploring before they meet the tribe, he knows what his intentions are and doesn’t stray far, eager to help him or bail him out as necessary. It could be considered helicopter-parenting (helicopter-mentoring?), but in a dangerous place like this you gotta keep your pals close!

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