Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #106: The White Goddess Part 2

Friday, January 29, 2021 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #106: The White Goddess Part 2

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #35

Turok’s good deeds don’t go unpunished.

Hot on the trail of her kidnappers, Turok and Andar finally track down Ularu, kidnapped by primal savages and placed on a sacrificial bonfire: the traditional way of putting white women in danger. Turok leaps to her rescue (but not before putting on some extremely Image Comics warpaint) while Andar takes point from the cliff overhead.

Turok dives in, roars up a storm, and whoever Andar doesn’t shoot for him, he takes out with his knife. All things considered, a good rescue.

Not without its communication breakdowns, mind.

Reunited with Ularu and the beastmen still at their heels, the three take to the swamp on a raft, preferring to brave the unknown than tango with the hairy dudes. A plesiosaur rears its ugly head, but there’s no need to fight it–

— not when everything else lurking in the swamp can do the dirty work for them. They finally reach the other side of the swamp, where yet another clan of hairy brutes await to greet them. They’re okay, though — they’re Ularu’s tribe, the children of the moon.

… and she’s brought home a sacrifice for their ritual! Andar gets shanked, distracting Turok as he gets clonked into unconsciousness. When he awakes, Andar is nowhere to be found…

… and Ularu reveals herself as the tribe’s priestess. The tribe believe the moon will be consumed by the night sky, casting them into utter darkness forever unless a sacrifice is offered in its place… and guess who’s the lucky sod! She had intended to sacrifice one of the beastmen had her hunting party not been ambushed, but thanks to Turok being a good Samaritan, he can take their place. “Remind me not to interfere in the affairs of others,” Turok quips, helpfully ignoring the early days of Son of Stone when that was practically his day job.

Andar managed to escape the camp earlier, suffering just a flesh wound… but an oozing wound might come in handy. The last thing that tribe would want is something big and nasty gate crashing their ceremony.

While the bloodthirsty honker lays waste to the tribesmen, Andar frees Turok and wallops Ularu, before fleeing into the night. Though the tribe do fell the beast, by that time there’s no hope of catching their escaping sacrifices. And without a sacrifice… the white goddess will have to take its place.

All in all, it was another bust. There were no living buffalo to guide them home, and Ularu’s idea of gratitude was not in the biblical sense. Still, they maintain hope to find a way out of the Lost Valley. “We are Kiowa-Apache… the mightiest warriors of the plains!”

This prehistoric interlude caps off with another excuse for action-packed splash pages from Mozart Cuoto. He delivers big-time! Turok’s warpaint is a neat look, and helps mitigate the problem of him and Andar looking nigh-identical under Mozart’s pen; they’re both long-haired, barrel-chested and sporting feathers, with only minute differences to tell them apart. It almost feels like a holdover from Turok’s Deathmate Black design, an attempt to give him a more trademark ‘look’, although it’s a bit too superhero-y for my liking. The dude’s just a Kiowa-Apache. Don’t try and make him toyetic. Not until Seeds of Evil comes out, at least.

Although the twist can be seen from a mile away, this is a better showing than last time if just for the non-stop action. Both issues are very short, but if paired together round out to 40 pages, and play out with the same kind of pacing as a classic Son of Stone 16-pager. Turok and Andar have more entertaining byplay; it’s by no means profound or illuminating, but their banter during brawls is amusing, even if it’s something Turok would later frown upon.

I’m still not hot on this modern take on Son of Stone‘s primeval tales. Something about the classic stories worked best in their humble context, and to update them to modern sensibilities feels… exploitative? All blood and boobs and barbarism. Although there’s cunning on display with Turok and Andar both employing the native beasts to do the heavy lifting, something about their depiction just feels ‘off’. The story leaves no room for non-violent solutions; they can’t dispel their threats, they can only make things bloodier.

That, and even the old Gold Key comics gave better reason for its sacrificial shenanigans. A tribe witnessing a rare natural phenomenon take a life, or distracting a beast from turning its eye on them… it seemed to make a point of giving a rational, if primitive explanation for why they’d behave this way. The children of the moon? “The sky’s getting dark! Cripes! Better kill people!” For all of Ularu’s pomp and circumstance, it still boils down to wacky tribal reasons. It might just be the decades of pop culture in the interim talking, but that stuff’s tired, man. Leave it in the 1930s.

Tim Truman returns for a new story arc next issue, and I cannot be more excited. It takes a while to get going, but please stay tuned.

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