Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #134: Blood of the Son

Friday, May 7, 2021 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #134: Blood of the Son

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #46

A war between tribes becomes a clash of family values.

Because our heroes have a knack for walking into trouble, an amicable visit to Turok and Andy’s friends in Lost Land has turned into a stand-off between the lake people and the Lizard People. The village guards have been captured, and if they don’t open the gates (so they can slaughter them all), they’ll kill the hostages (and then try to slaughter them anyway). Village leader Captain Red refuses to budge, sealing the fate of the two captives, but Turok fires an arrow into each of their hearts to spare them the agony of being burned alive.

War ensues on schedule with both sides firing upon one another; among the attacking party is Lake, a man they dared consider an ally the last time they met. Turok demands he explain his uncouth allegiance. “I have my reasons.” Andy stops Turok from sniping him, revealing for the first time their connection — that man’s his thought-dead dad! Missing an arm from his run-in with a cave-in, but the man all the same! Turok doesn’t appear convinced, and they’ve got bigger fish to fry at the moment anyway. “Whoever that man is, he is without honour! He isn’t worthy of being called your ‘father!'”

Whatever his reasons may be, Lake is the lizard queen’s tactician, and believes now’s a good time to breach the fortress with their battering ram apatosaurs. The fight is taken inside as the city walls come crumbling down, the queen sending her son inside to show him what true war is made, with Red and Turok doing their damnedest to fend them off. The queen sics Lake on Turok, keen to see him in action. He’s a hard man to read, but whatever his agenda, Lake’s not going down without a real fight.

Up top, the lizard prince Laitun tries to make his momma proud by landing a kill of his own, but has the underhanded idea of picking on the women and children. He looks the part and has all the bombastic threats down pat, but when Andy steps in to bloody his nose, it takes the dope by surprise — he’s evidently never felt this side of combat.
Andy’s got no patience for the spoiled brat, some punk who’s been raised on the glory of conquering and war, messing around with humble lives like this. So he disarms him, picks him up…

… and throws him off the battlements.
The queen calls a ceasefire as she rushes to her son; he’s alive, but barely. She never wished harm to befall him like this, calling off the attack as the lizard people retreat, vowing vengeance. Lake calls off his duel with Turok and follows after, claiming no hard feelings. “You’re a strange man, Lake.”

Before he goes, Lake looks at his son and his handiwork, and praises Turok’s mentorship. “You’ve taught him well.” Turok does not take pride in this; he certainly wasn’t the one to encourage the boy to submit to his wrath in such a way. Lake fobs it off and walks into the sunset, leaving them to lick their physical and emotional wounds.

A wham bam issue-long battle! It’s been a while since we saw civilisation in the Lost Land, and there’s something to be said for grand-scale battles in these exotic locales, a two-tiered fight aboard log scaffolding. The native approach to warfare with dinosaurs as platforms and battering rams is really awesome, and the lake people’s village has great verticality to it. Turok action works best when it’s got great natural environments to work in; larking about in industrial complexes just ain’t the same. It’s a pity the Lost Land is still rife with meaningless, petty conflict, but there hasn’t been much done to break the cycle of violence. I learned it from you, dad!

Speaking of, family’s the name of the game in this arc, if you hadn’t cottoned on. Everyone’s referring to each other by familial ties a lot more often — mother, husband, son of my grandson — and they’re all looking out for each other, even if it gets messy. Turok’s slaying of the guards can be viewed that way; better to be killed out of kindness, out of mercy, than be treated as a disposable obstacle.
That said, what’s being taught to the younger generations is the key difference. Ni-Zak and Red’s child are too young to be teaching moral quandaries to, so who knows what the lake people’s consensus on child rearing is… but the lizard queen’s ambitions are violent and callous, a show of strength only to glorify war to her next of kin. “Show my son how conquest is done!” She may be a warring butcher, but when shit hits the fan, she still holds his life above all else (though doesn’t learn “maybe war is bad” upon experiencing firsthand the cherished lives that can be lost to it).

And then, of course, we’ve got Andy. Turok tries to do what’s best with minimal suffering, but Andy finally gets to hold his own in battle, and uses it to beat up a foe not unlike himself: a young man looking to prove himself to an authority figure, but has still a ways to go in learning the way of things. Laitun is foolish, but hasn’t nearly the breadth of experiences Andy could be considered lucky to have. The way of Lost Land seems to be, invariably, war, and there are seemingly few places to go to learn a new way of living.

It’s a dark side of Andy we haven’t seen before, especially since he’s so rarely a part of combat, but it’s understandable; the kid’s seen so much carnage but not the chance to address it. This isn’t a game, these are people’s lives you’re playing with. Everybody’s cool until the idiot prince gets hospitalised.
To be fair, these are raiders looking to rape and pillage the land, and they’re most certainly not in a listening mood. If chucking one dude off a scaffolding spares the need to kill a dozen other guys, that’s as good a trade-off as any. Make that the new trolley dilemma.

Next week is the final issue. It’s perhaps not the explosive, climatic encounter we may expect to cap off a run of Turok, but it’s an ending nonetheless. Let’s see it through.

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