Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #102: Bride of the Radio Men!

Friday, January 15, 2021 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #102: Bride of the Radio Men!

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #33

Let’s get slimy.

Stranded in the Lost Land, on the hunt for Professor Regan Howell and a bevy of kidnapped actresses, Turok and his unscrupulous company find themselves pursued by a t-rex, because why even bother visiting the Lost Land if you don’t experience it once? To live to experience it twice is a blessing.

Once they find an opening, Turok downs it with an explosive arrow, one of his few remaining gifts from the wretched Mothergod. Shoedsack Cooper, part-time director and full-time sleazebag, captured the whole debacle on film, because turning their life-or-death rescue mission into movie material isn’t stupid, it’s productive! Ya’ll could learn a thing or two about multi-tasking.

It should be noted that only only is this the first time Turok’s used his electronic arrows in ages (possibly the first use since issue #3?), but he’s still carrying Mothergod’s chromium bow. Turok continuity is a nightmare, especially when factoring in inaccurate cover dates and other hooplah, but Turok quite certainly trashed the bow in issue #0. All issues henceforth would depict him with a traditional, old-fashioned wooden bow. It’s possible you could suggest issue #0 ’til after this arc, or it might just be an error. It really doesn’t deserve this much thought, but what good are comics fans if they don’t do mental gymnastics over the tiniest of oddities?

Regan and her fellow damsels in distress have been taken by the bobble-headed Radio-Men to their leader: the curvaceous and villainous Radio-Queen. She’s a creature of few words, and it’s clear even without speaking that she has nothing pleasant lined up in their future: chucking her slave girl into the maw of the flesh-melting, all-consuming slime beast is probably a good clue.

Out with the old, in with the new appears to be her unspoken philosophy… and among her old playthings is Pilot! The pteranodon-riding, bomb squadron-commanding underling of the Campaigner, who was responsible for destroying Keth’s village, bombing the river tribe, among other awful crimes. And he’s no less of a wretch now that he’s got speaking lines.

Turok, Andy, Dr. Challenger and company storm the site with all the firepower they’ve got, sniping the Radio-Men, saving the babes, and given no choice but to rescue Pilot as well: he’s their only hope for getting their rust-bucket plane back in working order. Squishy as the Radio-Men may be, they still have the numbers advantage — as well as a giant stinkin’ ooze monster. Dr. Challenger takes a spear to the gut, but he’s still in fighting spirit, ready to live another day.

The same can’t be said for Shoedsack, who’s been filming the entire affair from an ideal vantage point… right up until it gives out and dunks him right into the slime monster. “Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!”

Willis has been monkeying around with the Radio-Men’s helmets this entire trip, and his insatiable curiosity has landed them a keen solution: the creeps all communicate with radio signals, and introducing a bit of interference is all it takes to not just pop their heads like zits, but also direct the shockwave at the sentient slime, frying it ’til it ain’t alive no more.

The tidal wave of acidic sludge conveniently wipes out the rest of the Radio-Men, their queen among them, before blasting through the stone wall, bringing the entire castle down moments after they haul butt outta there. Shoedsack couldn’t have wished for a better finisher. With Pilot’s expertise, there’s nothing stopping them from finally making their way home… but Turok, Andy and Regan unfinished business. The Lost Land calls to them!

The customary third-issue throw-down, and one that delivers plenty on its ridiculous lady-abducting alien premise. It’s perhaps the sleaziest Turok has gotten yet, revelling in the death, distress and undress of its most loathsome participants, but there’s something to be said for just letting loose with a bit of ridiculous schlock. Not every story needs to be a masterpiece, and Paul Gulacy’s art is firing on all cylinders with all this material catered exactly to his specialties.
The Radio-Men don’t get an awful lot of exploration — they’re just monsters, delivering useless playthings to their queen. I’d argue this is a key difference from classic Turok, which often made a point of emphasising every party’s goal in the story, be it to simply live another day, hunt themselves a snack, or keep outsiders out of their turf. The Radio-Men just get sexy victims to dunk into their slime monster. They say it’s the simple things in life…!

Although as much a showcase for the ridiculous action than anything else, I still value that it continues to show the growth between Turok and Andy. After his impetuous behaviour back when they first partnered with Dr. Challenger, he comes into his own as a reliable fallback, helping down the t-rex when Turok’s explosive arrow wasn’t enough, and spearing dudes during the final assault. He’ll never match up to Turok, but it’s good to see the kid demonstrate he’s more than an unwanted burden. There’s hope for the apprentice after all.

For those keeping track of who lived and who died… this final part leaves you hanging! Of the nine crew members we began with, we’ve lost Awkland, Madeline, and Shoedsack with an absolute humdinger of a death. O’Brien, Willis and Charlotte are definitely accounted for during the escape, with Pilot among them; Janine is mentioned in dialogue during the rescue, but never shown on-panel. Lex and Brett have disappeared between this issue and the last one, suggesting either the story only had so much page space for everyone, or that t-rex was still hungry after two meals. Ouch.

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