(Dynamite Entertainment, 2014)
Writer – Greg Pak
Artist – Mirko Colak
Colorist – Lauren Affe
Letterer – Marshall Dillon
Dynamite is doin’ it right. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter drops on Wednesday, and if you are a fan of the character, I advise you to get onboard with the first issue. If you’ve never heard of Turok, here’s a primer.
Turok: Son of Stone started as the story of a couple of South American natives, Turok and his brother Andar, who wander into a lost valley populated by dinosaurs. Western Publishing put this out in the mid 50’s. Valiant restarted the title in 1993 and changed Turok and Andar to Native Americans who lived in a time-loop where the outside world continued on as their world stayed the same. Then the lines between the two worlds began to blur and Turok was thrust into a post-apocalyptic future with men and “bionosaurs” (dinosaurs with cybernetic implants of course), which made the ravenous beasts intelligent. This is the era when I first encountered Turok. It was a one-off that I got it a “value pak” (that was the spelling believe it or not) and I loved everything about that book, from the story to the art. Looking back now it was my favorite of the Valiant titles. A series from Acclaim Publishing revamped the character again in 1998, and that inspired the N64 videogame that sat in the coveted slot next to 007 on the shelf. Dark Horse launched its own version in 2010 and quickly shut it down.
Now it’s Dynamite’s turn. They’ve given the writing duties over to Greg Pak (Value Pak?) and the art to Mircak Colak. Pak has taken portions of the previous incarnations and woven them together for a completely new tale. Turok and Andar both appear in the first issue, but they are cousins, not brothers. There are dinosaurs as well, but their appearance seems to be as much a surprise to Turok as it is to the reader. I regret to report that there are, up to this point, no bionic dinosaurs, but I trust Pak’s vision. (I can always hope.) Will we see the dimension-shattering arcs that were the basis of Valiant’s run? Or perhaps it will be a “lost valley” sort of thing, where the dinosaurs have stumbled out of their ancient sanctuary just long enough to ravage the land? One little teaser for you, this takes place in the 11th century, so if there aren’t any time fluxes or wormholes, or even DeLorean’s, we can be pretty sure that it’s a lost valley scenario.
Colak’s art is beautiful, and he captures the natural setting with beautiful tones by Lauren Affe. Colak has designed the dinosaurs a little differently, so that there is no question as to their most direct relations, a connection that makes sense.
Pak sets Turok up as an outsider, dependent on his people only through habit. He is by far a superior character, both in his sensibilities and his abilities, though he has been set apart by his parents, who did something unspeakable to the tribe when Turok was a child. It is for these sins that he is still persecuted and the reason that he lives by the mantra “alone is better.”
I have high hopes for this series. With Pak at the helm we can expect that the story will be entertaining and high energy. Even if there end up being no bionic dinosaurs I’m sure that Dynamite will continue their successful rebooting of comic characters, this time with one that I clearly remember, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter.
Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.