Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #119: Terror of the Dream

Monday, March 15, 2021 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #119: Terror of the Dream

Turok: Son of Stone #62

Dude, where’s my Andar?

Turok and Andar awake during the night to find their camp the site of a strange ritual — the tribe’s leader, Nogu, claims with the power of his prophetic visions, he can see things hidden from the eyes of others… like this dirty old war club he dreamed about, buried in this exact spot!

Andar’s gotta know what this is all about. This is the work of the dream-berry, which the rare few in the tribe are given the luxury of eating; it allegedly makes one strong and unstoppable, but for Nogu, it grants him visions of the future and things unseen. Indeed, a honker approaches and Nogu proclaims Turok and Andar will be the ones to slay it… which seems inevitable when everyone wusses out at the mere sight of it. The two were going to do it anyway, but since it was foretold they’re heralded as heroes and get to join in on the feast.

If the dream-berry is so potent, then surely it’ll show them a way out of Lost Valley, right? Nogu’s got no time for requests; tomorrow he’s leading an expedition to find a cool black rock he dreamed about. Fellow tribesman Lami, one of the few to have tasted the dream-berry, points him to where he’ll find some, but warns him their tribe take it pretty seriously and won’t be shy about bludgeoning him to death if he samples the wares. Gotta protect their stash! Andar sneaks off anyway and tells a big fat fib to keep Turok off his trail.

Andar’s taking no prisoners — he snuffs out a honker standing in his way, then clonks the guard and ties him up to ensure no one stops him getting to those dream-berries! The sneaky little crime boy. However, he didn’t account on the guard rolling himself back to camp to relay what happened, and all eyes turn to Turok. If Andar so much as touches a dream-berry, it’s not gonna end well for either of them…!

Nogu explains that the dreams are so potent it takes some serious constitution to not just trip out so hard you die; that’s why only he and Lami had the brass balls to consume them and live. There is a concoction that’ll cure the dreams, but only he and Lami know the recipe, and like hell he’ll let anyone else drink it — he didn’t become top dog of the dream-magic brigade by allowing people to self-medicate! You gotta endure the pain of the dreams to be worthy of the honour!
This is all hypotheticals anyway; they don’t know for sure if Andar has actually consumed the berries yet. I mean, he could’ve left well enough alone for all we know.

Oh, please. We know Andar by now.

Andar is tripping absolute balls, experiencing a magical wonderland of sights and senses, and also imagining a tiny harmless dinosaur as a towering two-headed dragon. Turok busts out of camp by literally making a fire with his hands tied behind his back, and abducts Lami to help him aid his friend… but the two appear as vicious ogres in the boy’s mind, and tries to stab them a lesson.

Turok finally calms Andar (by socking him across the jaw), just in time for Lami to book it, not wanting his boss to suspect him of betrayal. Turok chases him down, and now Andar’s wandering off on his own again, believing himself to be facing insurmountable odds against a fire breathing lizard — actually the same little dinosaur he’d run into last time. Bloody hell, it’s a good thing Turok only ever had one apprentice — juggling two uppity upstarts is an awful lot like hard work!

Andar gets another fist in the gob so Lami can pour the remedy down his gullet… and now Nogu’s on their doorstep demanding retribution! Turok ignites a firewall to keep the attackers at bay, which poor delusional Andar perceives as a field of dazzling red flowers. Our poor hero can’t even put up a heroic stand against his adversaries without having to play babysitter to his doped-up protégé. If nothing else, Andar’s beginning to listen to reason again, slowly but surely — the remedy worked!

However, they won’t live long enough to enjoy it if Nogu’s got anything to say about it! But Turok’s going to hit him where it hurts: the prophetic visions of the dream-berries? Totally bogus, dude. He digs up Nogu’s prophesised black stone; its location didn’t come to him in a dream, he just buried it himself, just like the war club! He’s been duping them into thinking only the special few received galaxy brain visions from the dream-berries, when actually everyone was equally stoned out of their brains. Why? Kicks, I don’t know. The tribe descend into chaos as they splinter into pro-Nogu and anti-Nogu camps, bashing the brains out of each other in equal measure.

If that seemed like a cop-out last-minute resolution, then that’s because Turok learned all of this from Lami totally off-panel. What’s Lami’s stake in all this? Sweet second-in-command privileges, probably, who knows. Whatever the case, Andar’s returned to his senses, and now knows the only way they’ll escape the valley is through their own true senses, not the promise of toked-up clairvoyance.

Good grief, this is a packed issue! An extremely wordy and somewhat convoluted story, with a shocking amount of back-and-forth — every plot beat’s gotta be punctuated with the reactions of both parties, and the barely-explored undercurrent of tribesmen being played for rubes.

More than just convoluted, it’s packed with lots of unnecessary roughness! Andar kills a honker and clobbers a dude just to get to the dream-berries, and Turok is swinging his fists willy-nilly to keep Lami in line and Andar out of trouble. It’s the closest we’ve come to an “unlikely allies” story in a long while, yet there’s always the threat of death looming over our heroes’ heads on a whim.

Andar’s visions are nifty, but it makes him a total liability for the entire story, which isn’t how I like to see him. He usually does at least one redeeming thing per issue, but good intentions aside, none of this would’ve happened if he hadn’t been itchin’ for a fix. That said, after all the trouble they face every day of the week, can you blame him jumping at any chance of a passage home…?

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