Friday, February 7, 2014

Turok, Dinosaur Hunter #1 (Dynamite Comics)

Ah, Dynamite Comics, making a habit of adapting other franchises since 2004...Not that that's necessarily a bad thing (well, MOST of the time. I'm looking at you, Last Phantom!), and hey, it's good that another company is revamping all the old Gold Key lines. Here's hoping they don't fuck up like Dark Horse Comics, whose 'Dark Key' lines each only went for about four issues before getting abruptly cancelled.

While I haven't read many Turok comics, I am familiar with the character, and I've played the famous N64 games, so I know what to expect from any Turok series-anachronistc, time-displaced things/people/cultures, dinosaurs, bionosaurs, alien insects, malevolent Lovecraftian gods, etc. And does this new series from Dynamite Entertainment deliver? Well, time will tell, but it's a good start.

In a forested valley lives a tribe of Native American Indians, and Turok, who, due to transgressions by his parents not yet revealed to us readers, is an outcast from the village. Living as a hermit, he's victimised by local youths, including Andar. Their fued, however, is nothing compared to what's just arrved in this peaceful area...

As this is the first issue of Turok, Dinosaur Hunter, practically the whole thing is setup, so thankfully there's a great ending that'll really leave you wanting more!...And come a month later, when #2 comes out, you may still have some patience left to pick it up. May.

This first issue sets up this forested area and the tribe therein, as well as Turok, the lone rogue living alone (yes, I like tautologies), and the dinosaurs only show up in the final few pages. That's not a problem, as this is only 24 pages long (technically 22, due to 2 two page spreads, and technically even less due to a pointless splash page at the beginning). If only it was longer.

There's no indication of time travel or sci-fi so far. Hopefully those aspects will show up, as they're a fun staple of Turok. Although I'll understand if the series is purely historical, as that's exactly what the original Turok comics were.

The artwork is good. A little spotty at times (though most of those scenes are acceptable, as its shadows causing the spottiness, rather than lousy artwork), but largely good. Sometimes though, there are moments which don't convey events happening very well (like, for example, in a fight scene early on between Turok and the Indian youths).

The dialogue is by far the worst thing about this comic. So many modern day words and phrases are said by characters that it's distracting. Aside from that, it's ok, but not much about characters, or the setting, comes across.

Turok gets almost zero character here. Understandable, since he's an outcast with no-one to talk to, but the problem still stands. Here's hoping the next issue fixes that. Andar so far is just a dickish bully, and given the character's role in other Turok iterations, I expect he'll get more character as the series goes on.

There's one confusing part near the end-was Turok trying to lead the trio of youths wanting him out of the area for good, into a trap? Did he know dinosaurs were there? Why the hell should we give a shit about a hero who's totally willing to lead a couple of young bullies to their deaths just for burning down his little shanty?

Also, early on, said bullies talk about how strange Turok is, and that"All that time hiding in the woods, he's like an animal". Uh, weren't plenty of Native American Indian tribes like that? They were one with the land, in tune with everything, etc. I assume you'd be a failure in NAI culture if you couldn't catch ten fish with your bare hands within a half-hour

All in all, this is a decent first issue, and I'm eager to read more, for sure, but the fact that the next issue won't come out 'till next month is a big dealbreaker, possibly too big.

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