Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #120: Church of the “Poison” Mind Part 2

Friday, March 19, 2021 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #120: Church of the “Poison” Mind Part 2

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #42

Turok busts a cult.

Turok’s in over his head. His last known whereabouts were infiltrating the Church of the Free Mind, to rescue its ‘disciples’ and bring its corrupt and murderous leader, Reverend Vane, to justice. It’s been a week since he made his move, and the few who knew of this mission, the families and protesters picketing against the Church, haven’t heard back from him. He couldn’t have ditched them, could he?

Oh, no, quite the opposite — he’s in it deep. Reverend Vane has been subjecting him to mental torture in a sensory depravation tank (sensory stimulation tank…? let’s just call it a brainwashing tank), preaching to him, preying on his desire for home and community, and piping him full of drugs in a bid to make him an obedient little underling. No such luck: when Turok is let out, he’s still rearing to tear Vane some creative new orifices, and ends up put away for another two-day session of prayer and water torture.

Disciple June Meddock approaches Vane, concerned about Turok’s alleged attempt on her life, or more exactly, if she was right to see it that way. Vane assures her the dude was an assassin, here to discredit the church and probably pin a bunch of murders on him, who even knows; leave the thinking and moral quandaries to the cult leader. But he did have her graduation photo, so June’s still got a pang of doubt about that.
Turok is released at last and brought before Vane for another chance at redemption. This time he grovels on his hands and knees, begging for forgiveness, to become a sheep among his flock…

… before absolutely wrecking everybody’s shit. Using guards as human shields, chucking dudes into fireplaces, mowing them down with semi-automatics, chucking burning dudes into non-burning dudes — he’s not messing around. Vane retreats to the church hall, using his standing among his disciples as a shield; the law’s already on his side, and more assault is only going to incur the wrath of his flock.

Turok throws himself at him anyway: what happens to him isn’t important, it’s the lives of those Vane has taken he seeks to find justice for… and demands he confess to his murders, or taste cold steel. In front of his shocked congregation, the reverend recites the names of the five victims, whom they had known as friends and fellow devotees. Vane’s still insistent this won’t hold up in court, but his flock have already begun to abandon him, with June Meddock following Turok to reunite with her mother.

The church’s members flood out of the burning complex, but Vane isn’t seen among them. So long as his cult is finished, Turok’s not too concerned whether he lived or died. The regret of not acting sooner still remains, but he believes this quest has helped him solidify his place in the world and where his virtues lie.

It’s about how you’d expect a Simon Furman two-parter to play out! Not quite the all-out brawl of his Kru story, but following a similar trail, this time a battle of the minds as he fights for his own virtues against the brainwashing in Vane’s tank.
It’s interesting seeing Mozart Cuoto’s art depict the modern day; the lack of jungle foliage means it’s nowhere near as lush, but the action is just as intense, with shotholes galore and dudes getting pulped by ordinary arms fire en masse. It’s good action!

This ties up Furman’s little arc quite nicely, showing Turok’s imbalance between the era of his homeland, his primeval times in the Lost Land, and having to adapt to the strange new era he’s found himself in… and what values he must jettison or latch onto to stay afloat. Kru, as nostalgic as it might have been to reconnect with an old peer, was still tethered to painful days gone. He can’t stay lost in the past forever, and while brute force and ignorance hasn’t failed him yet, he’s got to up his game if he’s to take on even scheming manipulators like Vane.

Andy isn’t addressed at all after the first pages of the previous issue, so it’s a bummer we don’t actually see his side of the story. It’s all just a reason for Turok to incite wrathful justice again after Kru sidetracked him.
A pity, as we so rarely see Andy’s life outside of tagging along with Turok. What does he do these days? Does he even have friends? It seems he’s a bit like Turok himself, a boy lost in a time and place that feels unfitting for him, unable to make valuable connections.

It’s arguably a sign that Andy’s distancing from Turok. He wants a life, but he hasn’t got much of one on the reservation, and being under the scrutiny of a walking relic and a university professor can’t be doing his temperament much good. That, and it’s not long after he reunited with his long-lost father — and was then immediately separated from him again. How’s that bound to make him feel? We’ll see that addressed before the series ends, but don’t expect to see much more depth into Andy’s plight.

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