Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #087: Outcasts of the Flood

Monday, November 23, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #087: Outcasts of the Flood

Turok: Son of Stone #47

Turok and Andar get domestic.

Living in the wilderness has its ups and downs, the biggest of those ‘downs’ perhaps being honkers barging right through your shelter at a moment’s notice. Andar’s had enough of it; when are they going to make something a little longer-lasting? Turok understands his plight, but isn’t thrilled at the sentiment: to settle down for even a moment would feel as if they’d accepted their fate, to abandon their quest for an exit from this accursed valley… but he entertains the notion for the change of pace. Whatever makes Andar happy!

The two set up their new camp in the base of a tree, and quickly outfit it with everything they could possibly need: a bucket conveyor to carry up fresh water, swinging vines to reach nearby fruit, and even nets to trap honkers below. As if their bows and knowledge of fire weren’t enough, this gives them every advantage they could dream of over any would-be assailants!

A noisy little honker on the ground below makes a feast of their leftover fruit, and Andar, the big kid that he is, takes a shine to it and quickly adopts the little blighter, christening it after its shrill shriek: “Reenky”. Turok is less than enthused, especially after the darn thing won’t shut up all night — but after Andar’s last pet, you’d think they’d remember that’s actually a warning…

… of an incoming hypsilophodon! Their swinging vines aren’t just a convivial way of fruit-gathering — they’re also extremely handy for bonking honkers across the bonce! The beast takes a tumble it won’t forget, and Turok changes his tune on Reenky: the little dude’s been promoted from annoying pest to chief security officer.

The jungle is savaged by a wicked storm, flooding the entire land below; it’s a good thing they choose a sturdy tree like this to set up camp! The dwellers below come seeking shelter, though there’s plenty of branches for them to rest upon until this all blows over… but the stragglers enforce a first-come first-serve policy, kicking off everyone else who dares come along, and soon set their sights on the high platform itself!

The pair hold them off for a while by chucking the net on them, but when the waters below see its first monster-sized inhabitant, a passing plesiosaur, the tribe take another stab at boarding the platform. In the hullabaloo, Reenky takes an unintended dive…

… right into the tribe’s hungry hands! Andar dives down to protect his pet’s honour, but there’s no saving the platform now; with Turok now bargaining for Andar’s safe release, they’ve lost the high ground and are totally outnumbered. There’s only one way this can end: into the drink!

Having lost their home, their weapons and every advantage imaginable, our heroes are forced to outrace the ravenous plesiosaur in its home turf. Things aren’t looking good for them, when Reenky turns and–


It’s too late to save the little blighter, but its noble sacrifice is enough of an opening for Turok to stab the honker a lesson. There’s no hope of reclaiming their home, but the pair enjoyed it while it lasted. It served them well during the flood, but try as they might, no home will ever be safe until they finally escape the Lost Valley.

Next stop: The Place of No Return! After a close shave with a killer croc, the two find themselves approached by mysterious figures at their camp: Mud men! There’s no time for how-do-you-dos or even a little cultural exchange; the mud men declare that no one leaves their land alive, and who are they to defy tradition? Kill the intruders!

Yeah, nobody’s sticking around for that. T & A shove off on their raft again before being forced to take shelter in a cave where the mud men are comin’ out of the goddamned walls, man.

They flee the mud mens’ wrath at long last, but their territory extends along the entire river; there’s no hope of crossing it or following it back the way they come. That means their only option is moving inland across a dry, desolate desert… a dry, desolate desert with a freakin’ dragon in it!

I wish. It’s just the heat playing tricks, as it is wont to do. The big ol’ finback turns out to be their guardian angel, its trail leading them back to the jungle they’re hesitant to call home, but it’s a darn sight safer than anywhere else they’ve been today.

A rare return to the two-story issue! The single-story format wasn’t exactly consistent in these early days, flip-flopping between the two styles. Perhaps the long-form stories were treated as a test run to assess reader engagement before they committed to it? Whatever the case, it’ll bounce between the two before committing to single stories for a good few years, discounting the occasional outlier or reprint.

I’ve said it multiple times already, and I expect it to say it multiple times again in the future, but holy moly, I love stories about Andar adopting dumb pets, even if Reenky’s sacrifice tugs at my heart strings. Not only that, it’s really cute seeing Turok and Andar getting domestic; their knowledge of making traps and weapons also converts to making a robust home for themselves, creating a treetop den so full of goodies and moving parts it’s practically an action figure playset! This setting could easily have been the setup for a number of stories, but that’s not the way they roll; the two must move on.

The second story, meanwhile, feels strangely rushed. It’s full of incredible image and luscious panels, but no time to let any of it actually sink in. We can’t let the crocodile fight mean anything, it’s just a prelude to the mud men! Who are the mud men, and what’s their deal? Who cares, we gotta put Turok in a desert somehow! It’s all story beats we’ve seen before, but when Alberto Giolitti’s art is so on point it’s a pity we can’t just indulge in it a little longer. That’s comics, babe.

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