Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #135: Visitantes Del Espacio

Monday, May 10, 2021 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #135: Visitantes Del Espacio

Turok: El Guerrero De Piedra #7

Mexican Turok has his first of many close encounters of the third kind.

I first spotlighted them three months ago, but alongside his hundred-plus adventures in American-published comics, Turok also found himself in a great deal more scrapes and escapades south of the border, courtesy of Mexican publisher Editorial Novaro… and now’s the time to start looking at them proper! As much as I enjoy giving myself hard work, I won’t be nearly as exhaustive with these as I will the Gold Key stuff — partly because there’s so dang many no one’s managed to scan them all! — but I’ll be sure to make my selection the most eyecatching and noteworthy stories worth highlighting.

You saw what’s on the cover, there’s no point dilly-dallying. There’s aliens. They land in a UFO. Even Turok, a man rarely surprised by strange sights, is lost for words… and the visitors from space need their help!
The leader of the glowing, mono-eyed extraterrestrials, Ziip, explains that to return to their home planet, they need to build a platform for their ship, specifically of pink stone. The natives, shockingly amicable despite themselves, suggest the montaña rosada, which is a day’s journey away. Good stuff! Let’s get going!

The journey is pretty uneventful all things considered. One dude gets totally munched by an inexplicably violent brachiosaur, but it’s downed not just by Turok’s bow, but the aliens’ ray gun as well! The aliens aren’t big on violence, but needs must. Ziip is entranced by the beauty of Earth, though Turok assures him the lands beyond the Lost Valley are the most beautiful of all.
They rest at the foot of the pink mountain, and Turok and Andar ruminate on this strange experience. Andar’s still boggled at the notion of lands beyond the stars; Turok ponders if they’d be within reach to their grandchildren one day.

Time to build a platform! Ziip’s ray gun is more than a killing implement, it’s a multi-purpose tool capable of carving cubic slabs of stone clean out of a mountainside! The only power source it requires is the camaraderie of the human spirit, apparently; the humans linking hands is enough charge for two scores of blocks, and their proximity is enough to have the blocks float above their heads. These aliens know how to treat a workforce! No physical labour required, only good vibes.
The convoy of stone is interrupted by a rambunctious pair of duck-billed dinos, but Ziip demands they do not kill them, because “it would break the circuit that captures the energy.” Murder would only harsh their mellow, so he instead just zaps them with a beam that freezes the beasts in place. Andar is wowed: “are your weapons magical?” “Are our poison arrows magical?” Turok retorts.

A gun like that’s just begging for some japes — enter a monkey that freezes the entire gang! Andar and two other youths are the only ones unfrozen, and they quickly track down the chimp and reverse the whole mess.
Once again, Ziip and the space-lads are impressed by human ingenuity. Their runway is built, and they wish to repay their workers however they can. Turok and Andar know that they want: a lift back home! Sadly, the aliens’ ship cannot accommodate organic life — they have no suits for them, and to fly without would be fatal. Alas, the wonders and memories of this visit from creatures beyond the stars will have to suffice.

The cavemen are much more easily sated though. All they want is one of those sweet bubble helmets.

And so, Turok: El Guerrero De Piedra has its first extraterrestrial encounter, and it’s a shockingly amicable one. No conspiracy, no distrust, barely even any plot twists; the aliens ask for help, get exactly what they need, and are on their way. I personally think that’s rather sweet. So much of Turok and Andar’s adventures are rife with conflict, betrayal and death, that a pleasant day out with some rad space folk is a nice change from the norm. And it’s not a heartbreaker like their last visit, where the aliens frickin’ died a death.

Although uncanny, this sets the tone for the Editorial Novaro stories as a whole. The isolationist vibes are toned way down, and not only is Lost Valley (or Valle Perdido) teeming in much more varied wildlife, but also slightly more eloquent and open-minded inhabitants. They frequently ask Turok and Andar for help, aid them when they’re in need, or otherwise drive the plot perhaps moreso than our namesake heroes. It’s a bit overwhelming in some stories, but it’s a nice change of pace if nothing else.
Also, I’m so glad these aliens are actual-ass aliens. They won’t be the last visitors from space, but they’ll be among the few that aren’t just humans with skin conditions.

Young Earth, or La Joven Tierra, presents the average day of a prehistoric tribe. Wake up, murder a deer, make some sweet skins, and gather a few crops while you’re at it. Not a bad way to put in the hours.
Even the backups feature all new material in Mexico’s adaptation of Turok, and although some panels are traced, it’s otherwise all new compositions from what I can tell. It’s strange to see similar tales told without Rex Maxon’s trademark fudgey artwork — is it really Young Earth if everything doesn’t look like a chewed caramel? — but hey, can’t argue with original content.

We’ve still got ten pages left, so Andar runs a fever that turns him into a raving loonie who commands cavemen to eat Turok to gain his powers. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Turok rightfully books it, but Andar’s delirious chutzpah makes enough of a splash that the cavemen instate him as their new chief! His self-aggrandising rambling and penchant for mob rule is a real hit.
Turok kidnaps his friend during the night and is left no choice but to slap some sense into him. Who knew a fever would open up such luxurious job opportunities? The cavemen are amiss without their leader, and follow their trail into the cave…

… only to be greeted by a big nasty bear, believing Andar and Turok have even more powers than they imagined: they can transform too! This big stupid encounter is enough to scare Andar out of his fever, and all is presumably right with the world.

The El Guerrero De Piedra issues feature anywhere from 2 to 4 stories, or a full-length single story as the mainline series was focused on at the time. Just like our familiar American brand of Turok, the pairing of stories and their quality can be somewhat scattershot; for every outrageous, convention-breaking tale that sets the imagination ablaze, there’s yet another aimless yarn about tribal feuds or random honker attacks.

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