Review: Turok #1

Turok is back in action. As with all of the old Gold Key characters that Dynamite is relaunching again, Turok is no longer a Native American hunter who stumbled into the Lost Valley and has to protect his brother from all sorts of dinosaurs. Nope, Turok is a black dude who is willing to use his fellow humans if it means that he can get someone special to him back from the evil dinosaur empire.

The Lost Valley is no longer a rift in the center of the North American continent. It is now an extra dimensional place run by all sorts of intelligent dinosaurs and reptiles. This empire uses humans for slaves and food. There is a third class of people in this world. The Pigbloods are the offspring of mixed human-dinosaur relations. They are part of neither world but seem to be despised by the lizard folks more than the humans.

All this gets us to Turok. No longer the noble savage and hunter, Turok is now a canny man, often seen as a revolutionary by the humans and pigbloods, but in reality running his own scam to find a girl who is important to him, but it isn’t clear why.

In order to get more information, Turok has allowed himself to be captured and sold to a prison/processing center. He uses a pair of surly thieves, a human girl and her pigblood (can we get a less offensive term for the mixed race people… soon!) boyfriend to distract the guards and free more slaves as distractions in his true hunt.

Chuck Wendig (The Sovereigns, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Hyperion) and Álvaro Sarraseca (The Sovereigns, Magnus) really have done a good job of re-imagining the Turok mythology in order to tell a whole new story that is more interesting than just another re-hash of what has gone before.

I just with that I could like Sarraseca’s art more, but it runs very inconsistent from panel to panel or really from character to character. Turok and the evil dinodictator, Nagyakka, are lovingly well drawn in almost every panel they are in. But as the characters get more generic, so does the art. I loved that there is such a mix of technology like axes, and guns, and bows and arrows, and tasers. But then Turok get taken down by either a neuro-whip or an electric penis and I’m still not sure which.

Also the book has a short backup story featuring a new Doctor Spektor. Now instead of a Dr. Strange/Dr. Fate rip-off, Spektor is a hipster, con artist with magic powers. It is a fun take on the character, but I’m not sure if I could take a whole issue of that without it grating on my nerves.

I have to confess that I really haven’t followed Turok since I was a kid, which was the Gold Key run, I think, and saw occasional books with him pop up. I know that everyone from Valiant to Dark Horse and even Dynamite have tried to revive and re-launch these characters. I don’t know how successful this run will be, but this strange mix of technology and races may prove to be a version that can last.

Writer: Chuck Wendig
Artist: Álvaro Sarraseca
Colors: Triona Farrell

Dr. Spektor
Writer: Aubrey Sitterson
Artist: Dylan Burnett

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