Turok Dinosaur Hunter #2 by Greg Pak & Marko Colak
This was one of those series where I was not sure what to expect from the first issue. I have no experience with the original Gold Key tales. As for the Valiant revival, I read the first few issues back in the 90s, but they did not click with me. Honestly, I preferred Valiant’s original characters over the Gold Key ones, and out of that latter group Turok was the least interesting. Still, I picked up the first issue of Dynamite’s re-launch to give Pak’s new approach a try.
What really hooked me with the first issue were the twists that Pak inserted at the end. Up to that point, readers were led to believe that Turok existed in a landscape which was more or less historical. Sure, dinosaurs were rampaging, but given the title that was to be expected. Most of the background was fairly run of the mill. Turok is an outcast, exiled from the tribe as a result of his parents’ being accused of murder. He tries to carve out a bit of sanctuary for himself, only events will not let him. Soon he finds himself, along with one of his former tormentors, watching helplessly as strange men with monstrous beasts seize control of the tribal village. It would seem that the moment of European invasion has arrived.
Except that it is nearly 300 years too early. The year is not 1492, but 1210. In place of Spanish explorers, these are British knights. In issue 2, Pak continues laying the groundwork for his alternate history. We learn that the dinosaurs were brought by the knights, who have long used them in their conquests. Marion, the daughter of the English commander, has illustrations of the warriors conquering The Holy Land while astride dinosaurs. Indeed, back in Europe, Britain is known as The Land of the Dragon Knights. This is an intriguing concept, and I look forward to seeing how Pak explores it further.
In addition to the backstory, Pak continues to develop his characters as well. For example, there is Marion. She is introduced as a voice of reason, convincing her father that there is no point in torturing the natives if they cannot understand the English tongue. So, she is charged with Kita, the chief’s niece, in the hopes that more peaceful means might reveal where all the gold is hidden. (In many ways, the knights are not that dissimilar to the historical Conquistadors.) I enjoyed watching these two women play off each other, neither understanding the words of the other. Pak seems to be setting up a couple of different paths Marion’s character might take, and it will be interesting to see which she adopts.
Finally, Colak continues to provide strong images for Pak story. I had not seen his work before this series, but immediately became a fan of his. He has a strong, dynamic style, which fits well with this series. While I was mixed on the first issue, I found that the second was uniformly stronger. I shall definitely be picking up future installments.