Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #090: Man Hunt! Part 1

Friday, December 4, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #090: Man Hunt! Part 1

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #29

Turok reunites with a friend he made off-panel.

He may be back on Earth and in the safe companionship of Regan and Andy, but Turok still finds something to make his blood boil and his bloodlust rage. In this case: television.

To be exact, the news report of one Reverend Vane of the Church of the Free Mind — accused of being behind a string of serial murders in Dallas, and let off the hook despite all evidence pointing to him. Such technicalities of justice did not exist in Turok’s day, and he believes modern society has gone to the dogs. Regan assures him the American justice system has its faults, but is usually just and balanced… and it doesn’t promote bludgeoning criminals with tomahawks, either.

It’s perhaps a sore point for Turok; something similar to these serial murders also occurred back in the Lost Land… and according to the news report, perhaps they’re not so different. The latest spree has seen the same symbols painted on the wall in the victims’ blood — the language of the Lost Land!

Gruesome as it may be, Turok’s heart soars — could someone from his massacred village in the Lost Lands have made it out? Regan and Andy volunteer to help him search, but Turok goes it alone; as much as he values his friends and the new life he has found himself, he wants a chance to relish in the old ways. Regan points him in the direction of the incidents, armed with a map of the city and the last known attacks.

Simon Furman takes the writing reins for this ish, and one of only three arcs he contributed to Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. I admit to lowering my expectations whenever someone fills in for Truman — stop the story arcs, put the characterisation on hold, we got a fill-in! But this at least makes a distinct impression, big on bombast and heavy on internal monologue — both very Furman traits.
At the time he was perhaps best known for work at Marvel, publishing intermittent stories starring his original creation Death’s Head, and having recently ended his twenty-issue run on Alpha Flight and its spin-off miniseries Northstar.

… though a subset of nerd folk probably know him best for his long, long, long run on multiple iterations of Transformers comics, spanning nearly 35 years as of this writing.

While following the minute trail left at the scene, Turok is attacked by– a bionisaur!? Surely tracks or even its stench would’ve given it away! He’s bitterly reminded of Mon-Ark’s attacks on his village after his betrayal of Mothergod — never quick enough to stop their latest travesty.

He awakens from unconsciousness in a shabby, almost primitive apartment — it turns out the man he was after found him first! They know each other; he is Kru of the rock people, and they both fought side-by-side in the war against Mothergod, before his tribe were slaughtered by bionisaurs while he was out hunting.

Too clouded by grief and rage to function, he found himself captured by Chichak’s spider people, before being unwittingly saved by the mass exodus of Unity. He’s landed on his feet, at least — he’s found work in a bar as a bouncer, and he stumbled upon the bionisaur’s kill a few nights prior, and has been tracking it since. To hunt again has given him new life, and with Turok by his side, it’ll be just like the good ol’ days!

The two hit the streets, Turok with his bow and Kru with a poker (all of Mothergod’s sci-fi malarkey soiled him on firearms), and they split up to search the alleys. Life goes on — bums huddle, lowlifes squabble, and cats perform jumpscares. It’s only when watching someone tag a wall with spray paint does Turok realise he’s been on a wild goose chase. Bionisaurs may be crafty and cruel…

… but why would they leave a message? One in the rock people’s language, no less?! He finds another victim has been taken…

… by the man — the beast— he once knew!

The art in this issue is boffo, a real knockout effort from Mike Deodato and Mozart Cuoto, with sharp colours from Mike McGuire. It’s extremely ’90s, with panels filled to burst with rippling muscles, clenched teeth and moody poses, but you can’t say it ain’t eye-catching! It’s perfect trading card material is what it is. Although much of the action is hypothetical, depicted in Turok’s flashbacks or in tense skulking through the shadowy alleyways, it makes the most of every moment; even Turok shouting at a TV looks like hell on earth.

If one had to grumble, it paints Turok as less like a noble warrior and more in the vein of an outright barbarian. Simon Furman’s writing allows him to pontificate like the best of them, yet it perhaps treats him a little simply, too much of an outwardly angry savage, though it does address how much he’s got to be angry about these days. The story doesn’t outright address it, but we’re to assume Turok’s still on the run after aiding Chichak’s escape back in #23, hence why they’re lying low in a Texan motor lodge; his foul-up with the DEA last ish didn’t make him any friends, apparently.

An interview with Rags Morales replaces the letters column this issue, offering quick answers on how he got into comics and what he gets out of it. The interviewer takes a leaf out of Wizard Magazine and asks him who he’d cast in a Turok movie: Steven Seagal as Turok, Rebecca De Mornay as Regan, and Ralph Maccio circa 1985 as Andy. They wouldn’t be my first choices, but who knows. Get someone to dub over Seagal and you could have something going on there.

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