Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #084: New Unities

Friday, November 13, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #084: New Unities

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #26

Turok meets some old acquaintances.

On a quest to find allies in their war against the Lost Land’s conqueror, the Campaigner, Turok and pals find themselves captured by Captain Red! The time-displaced pirate takes a chance to revel in the situation — how can the same shit happen to the same guy twice, huh? He frees them from their net as he introduces his swarthy new crew–

— but Andy takes the opportunity to sock him one for the near-death experience he inflicted last time, only to get walloped by bionisaur second-mate Proto for harming the boss. Turok joins the fray, always ready to defend his student from harm…

… but Red diffuses the situation. No, that wasn’t villainous revelry — that was friendly revelry! Red’s changed his tune after his last run-in with Turok, and has since become the leader of the Lost Land’s lake tribe. He and Keth are good buddies, actually, and allies in their war against Campaigner.

Speaking of, guess whose forces just showed up! It’s not the big man himself, but his cronies are nothing to sneeze at. Chichak and Red relish the opportunity to let their violent ways shine. Andy isn’t too eager to take part and would rather skedaddle… but Red gives the kid a break and kills his assailant, lending him a sword so he can do it himself the next time.

Next time is sooner than he’d hope — Mari’s under attack! Andy saves his great aunt, giving the scoundrel a glancing slice while Keth does the dirty part. He’ll protect whoever he can, but Andy is no more comfortable with ending lives. After itching to play with Turok’s heavy artillery in their early adventures, it’s nice to see the kid acknowledge the sanctity of life, and when and where force should be applied. Keth plays by different rules ’cause he’s got no qualms just shooting the bastard.

They wipe out the attackers — all but one of them, who they choose to interrogate on their next target. Red has a somewhat forceful approach, but Turok talks him out of it and leaves the man to crawl back to his master. Finding shelter is still their top priority.

They journey to the village of the lake people, where Red’s wife Shar provides them all with food and shelter before the next leg of their journey to the winged men’s village. She very much embodies the virtues of the tribe, is a veritable cornerstone of her community, and a woman whom Red cherishes to no end. After his scalliwaggery in both the past and present, it’s refreshing to see the old sea dog put his penchant for leadership to constructive use, and life has rewarded him with a humble but satisfying existence.

Turok and Andy are gracious for the meal, but choose not to eat the fish, due to their dietary habit of eating snakes. This is yet another instance of Turok’s bizarre relationship with the slithery serpents, previously established in Mike Baron’s stories in #16 and the Yearbook, but I’m unaware of any real-world basis for this blood feud between Kiowa people and snakes. I mean, unless it’s nothing to do with the culture and Turok just has an unprecedented hatred for the things, and forces that hatred onto his students. Please introduce Turok to cute snake pictures. Even vicious, poisonous predators deserve love.

Word gets back to Campaigner, and he renews his efforts to raze the land and rid Mothergod’s legacy of its treacherous servant. Seer lurks in the wings, being a total drama llama.

Meanwhile, having Turok out of her hair isn’t making life any easier for Regan — her assignee and his companions are runaway fugitives, have left no trace to be found on Earth, and everyone’s barking at her for answers. What’s a girl to do?

The gang finally arrive in the village of the winged men, where they make an appointment with their new leader — Archer! The same bloke who talked Turok out of serving Mothergod all those crossovers ago! He and Armstrong were stranded in the Lost Land after some shenanigans during the crossover event The Chaos Effect, and this is among his last appearances in the Valiant universe, at least in-person and in the present day — the various eon-spanning adventures outlined in the likes of Rai #0 foretold a different fate for him, but, you know, who cares about that.
Turok approaches him with a request to aid their war effort against the Campaigner; more villages fall by the day, and they’ll need a sizeable army to stand against them. Archer’s philosophical ways do not condone bloodshed in the name of peace, and he respectfully declines; no amount of arguing will change his mind.

Without the manpower they’d hoped, the group return to the lake village to take stock and see who’s next on their list of potential allies… only to find their home a smouldering wreck, having faced the wrath of Campaigner’s bombing squad. There are no survivors — not even Red’s cherished Shar. Grief-stricken, distraught, and enraged, Red is in no mood for lollygagging. If they’re to attack, they attack now!

Leading up to last stand against the Campaigner! Yet another mid-part story that dabbles largely in fact-finding and character-exploring than making great leaps in plot, but with a party like this, it’s a fun crowd to have bounce off one another.
The marauders’ attack, although largely an excuse for action in an otherwise quiet issue, does add some nice character moments, like the contrast between Red, Turok and Chichak in their approach to violence. You knew the visit with Archer wouldn’t lead anywhere — since when does Turok lead an army? And you knew Shar wasn’t long for this world from the way Red spoke of her. One character left unspoken of is Captain Red’s robotic partner from his last foray, OU-8-2. Was the poor lug sent offline in the interim…?

After last issue’s dry run, this introduces Tribal Writes proper, with Turok and Andy answering reader-submitted letters; Turok’s replies are given in a stoic, informative tone, while Andy’s level of tact is probably a few pegs below one of GamePro’s exploding heads. Andy helpfully drops teasers for upcoming stories written by Mike Grell, while Turok not-so-helpfully ignores all questions about his whereabouts during Unity, potential run-ins with other strandees of the Lost Land, or information on his upcoming Nintendo 64 game.

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