Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #2 (Dynamite Comics)

Crusader knights from England have come to the native inhabited island of Manhattan to reclaim it for the Holy Land, and with their advanced weapons, armour, and dinosaurs (yes, really), they're too formidable, and take control of the Indian village instantly, and only outcast Turok, and his rival Andar can help free the tribe...

There isn't much plot in this latest issue of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. It's just 'stuff happens'.

While the story is pretty lethargic, the characters are underwritten, and Andar's newfound brotherhood with Turok comes out of nowhere. What would have been better is if these childhood enemies reluctantly work together until the end of this four-issue story arc, so by that point, we could buy that they've become friends and 'brothers', but as it stands, it happened way too quickly.

As for the title character, we still know next to nothing about him other than his parents were executed for supposedly being 'evil creatures from the Snake Hills'. His sporadic internal monologues help to flesh his character, if only very slightly.  By the way, how does he remember his parents, and what they taught him? He's a baby in all the flashbacks of their deaths!

Kita, the daughter of the Indian tribe's chief, and Andar's sister, gets quite a bit do you say screentime for a comic book? She doesn't have anything to her though. Hopefully they build on her as a character in later issues.

The Knights Templar are so far just nothing bad guys, evil for the sake of being evil (evil like this making you a good and pure Christian by 1210 standards)

The writing decent, but it suffers from the exact same problem #1 did-the very modern-style dialogue the Native American's use.

The artwork is all good, even if there are a couple of instances where shadows gives characters Lone Ranger masks. Also, there might be a continuity error with Turok's hair, or maybe not.


One thing baffles me-why is this series called Turok: Dinosaur Hunter? Not only are the dinosaurs barely in the series, but they're not the main (and barely even secondary) villains!

This is a good continuation of this story, but I'd be more inclined to recommend it when the remaining two parts of this arc come out, so you can read the complete first story in its entirety, rather than split up over a third of the year.

Bloodshot #3 (Classic Valiant)

Bloodshot continues his search for the mafia family heads...and that's it....

This is a decent issue. There are a couple of plot hiccups. One scene has Bloodshot squeezing out the information from a warehouse worker about a chop-shop that the mafia family heads will be attending for a meeting, which contradicts how he finds out in Hard CORPS #5, in which he makes a guest appearance. Also, after he finds this out, he just leaves. What gaurantee does he have the henchman's silence? This story is set on Wednesday, and the meeting's on Friday, and Bloodshot just leaves the gangbanger alive, and plans on whiling away the minutes 'till Friday cometh.

There are some good moments though. I liked the moment when Bloodshot encounters Tony Barucci, the mobster and old 'friend' from his past life as Angelo Mortalli. That was pretty badass and well-written.

I also like the character of Maria, Bloodshot's love interest-...for all of three issues before she's written out offscreen!-who's introduced in this issue. Any scenes she has with 'Michael Lazarus*' in this series are fine! Though I wish that the issue didn't start mid-conversation, because in the opening, 'Michael' barely says a word, wears a hat and dark sunglasses, and perpetually frowns. What does she see in him? That would have been good to know.


I'm looking at that copyright notice at the bottom there-  No similarities to any characters, etc. living or dead is intended, and any such similarity is purely coincidental" So it's just purely coincidental that Bloodshot looks exactly like Mister Sinister from X-Men, you jerkwads?!

There is one continuity problem that I might as well address here. You see, the first issue in this series I ever read was 14, and in that, it seems like Bloodshot can 'turn off' his red eyes and bone white skin pallour. I was a bit confused, as I thought he permanently looked like Bloodshot, but I assumed this would be explained in previous issues. But it's not! Ever! We're just meant to assume that this is one of his powers.

The artwork is fine, except for a stupidly massive pistol at a few points, the ridicuously derpy pursed frown Bloodshot has in one scene, and the third page of the Carboni scene. It's also too liney in places. The cover's fine.

This is an ok entry in the series, and most certainly better than others, but aside from the introduction of Maria, there's nothing special here. It's not poorly written by any means, it's just empty, and nothing more than a low-rent Punisher-style issue.

Bloodshot #2 (Classic Valiant)

In California, renegade Harbinger named Ax breaks into a Project Rising Spirit* business facility (and isn't gunned down instantly, because bad writing) and makes a...proposition? with the head there about...something to do with Bloodshot.

*The experiment that gave Bloodshot his powers.

Meanwhile, our title character is searching for mobster Canelli for answers about his previous life. Though with Ax and his goons on his trail, hungry for blood, Bloodshot might not even reach his destination...Or he will, because Ax and co. suck.

This is a much better issue than Bloodshot's opener. Despite having a few splash pages, and pages with as little as three or so panels, #2 still has many scenes, and gets across a lot, proving that you can make a good story in just 20 comic pages. If only the rest of Valiant outside of HARD Corps and Dr. Mirage took this cue. Of course, the plot still isn't what I think Bloodshot should be (which is, for one, a comic where we actually don't know Bloodshot's true identity right off the damn bat). Also, the story never bothers to explain why Ax is after Bloodshot.

And in-case you're wondering, yes, that above picture does make me ask myself "How much Keefe does this comic need?...".

The only problem I have with this story is that it has Ax in it! Who's he, you ask? Ax was a really annoying villain who showed up in various lines, like Harbinger, XO Man-O-War, Rai, etc. 'But surely that can't be horrible for this issue', you may ask, 'He's just an annoying villain who'll be gone next issue'. And herein lies the worst thing about Ax-he ultimately murders Bloodshot.

Hey, what are you looking at me like that for, I didn't spoil it, Rai #0 did! In fact, that scene with Bloodshot's death in the near future is practically the first we ever see of him in Valiant continuity! What the hell?! So yeah, we have this arrogant, annoying villain who's the kind you want to see gone after one appearance, and he canonically kills one of the Valiant universe's greatest heroes. Yeah, righ. Pull the other one, it's got fucking bells!

And by the way, Ax gets owned in every issue he's in, whether it's getting his ass kicked, his balls scorched, his leg broken, or...

Haha! Fuck you for even trying, Ax, you annoying pussy!

...So why should we be intimidated by him, or feel he poses any kind of threat? And how can we buy that he took down Bloodshot in the end?!

In my big Valiant post, I talked about the company's dating system. Because the makers were goddamn idiots, each issue was set in the month it was released, so there'd be an in-universe month-long gap in-between each comic (which is stupid, as you're missing out on character and story opportunities in all that space).  Thanks to the in-universe month delays with two-parters (which took place back-to-back, obviously), date slippage occurred pretty quickly, and thus you'd get Christmas issues coming out in July, or April, or March, in this story's case.

The artwork is largely good. However, some gore looks like paintball, Bloodshot's sword is shown clean immediately following its cutting Ax's arm off, there are a few blank nothing backgrounds, and there's some 'great' continuity with Ax's armour suit in the final fight. One moment it's a full body covering bulk, and the next, it looks like it's in tatters, but nothing's happened to it, and it looks fine in the next panels. The cover is decent, although it's a bit sparse. But at least it's an actual scene from the comic, with actual stuff happening, unlike #1's cover, which was just an angry Bloodshot firing a gun in front of a blank eyesore background.

This issue is one of the high-points so far from the Bloodshot entries I've read, so I recommend it if you decide to get into this series...which is an idea that I don't recommend...