Turok becomes part survivor, part dino whisperer in Dynamite’s revival of the Gold Key warrior. Writer Greg Pak plots a solid yarn where the young man finding his purpose while not knowing friend from foe. This is probably not the Son of Stone series, of which I’ve seen very little, nor is it the sci-fi-flavored Valiant/Acclaim series.
Turok, probably better known as a video game character in recent times, has somehow endured since the 1950s instead of being seemingly everywhere like Marvel & DC’s uppper pantheon. A more traditional take may have purely heroic Turok, with trusty sidekick Andar, opposing angry dinos and hostile tribes. In the first volume entitled “Conquest,” the plot has an us-versus-them, natives-against-explorer narrative layered on top with the loner-against-everyone characterization of Turok.
Volume 1 is set in an alternative pre-colonial America where the British empire arrives at Manahattan much, much earlier to conquer the New World with dominion and “dragons.” Turok has another worry: he can’t shake off the tribe who killed his parents. Amidst his struggles with opposing forces, Turok’s passions are muddle: does he or doesn’t he like the thrill of adventure? Are the monstrous reptiles friend or foe? There are no outright answers whether Turok rediscovers his humanity. Pak is almost trying too hard to make Turok mysterious.
Visually, Mirko Colak and Cory Smith’s artwork is realistic. It’s so realistic it can be hard to tell the natives apart; I paid attention to the clothing. Also, some of the inkier shadows sometimes look like odd splotches. Lauren Affe’s colors are fittingly natural until the big beasts, displaying unreal colors, arrive. There’s a neat trick where the British speech bubbles are rendered as foreign speech though they’re speaking English. Pak is nudging the reader to sympathize with the natives.
The story is competent, if a bit cynical. “Conquest” is a solid tale, but isn’t quite a blockbuster. Volume 1 also includes portraits of the many variant covers and a script for issue #1. Final rating: 3½ out of 5.
Thanks to NetGalley, Diamond, and Dynamite for the review copy.