Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Turok and Andar Have a Bad Day.

There are days when nothing goes right. Turok and Andar were reminded of this in Turok, Son of Stone #44 (March 1965), when they actually got out of that darn valley for a few minutes, only to have circumstances force them back in.

Their day starts quite literally with a bang, when a meteor hits the impassible cliffs that surround the valley. The impact tears a hole in the wall, but also leaves an intervening pit of lava and starts a fire that in turn starts a dinosaur stampede.

 That leaves Turok and Andar desperately trying to dodge dinosaurs on the ground. They decide to take to the trees.

This is a quite reasonable decision, but it turns out there's a panicky dinosaur up in the trees with them.

In the meantime, several of the local tribes congregate near the new lava pit. There's a rare bit of continuity here--the tribes represent some of the odder people that the two Indians had encountered in previous issues, including Monkey People, Spider People and the lone survivor of a tribe of giants.

The tribes briefly fight, but soon decide this spot is now a sacred place that they must work together to protect. Unfortunately, that includes taking Turok and Andar prisoner and sacrificing them to their new sky god.

The pair manage to escape from this and get out the new gap in the cliff. At last, something has gone right. Their adventure is finally over. They are home at last. Everything is finally back to normal.

Except its not. The dinosaurs are wandering out of the valley through the gap as well. This is not a good thing.

Turok quickly realizes that they can start a grass fire and force the dinosaurs back into the valley. But this really, really is a day when nothing goes right. He and Andar are caught in the fire as well and must also run back through the gap.

Once inside, an earth tremor causes a rock slide that seals the gap up forever. About the only thing that goes right for the Indians is that the tribesmen have gone back to fighting each other and are now too busy to bother with their errant human sacrifices.

This story, produced by the usual Turok team of Paul S. Newman (writer) and Alberto Giolitti (artist), is mind-numblingly fun. The story quickly sets up the situation, then throws one thing after another at our heroes, keeping the pace lightning fast from beginning to end. Each new danger follows logically out of the previous danger. The brief glimpse of home given to Turok and Andar adds a nice dose of poignancy to the tale.

Every time another comic book company tries to bring Turok back, they change, alter and otherwise "modernize" the character and the basic premise. I don't know why. I really don't. The character and premise were perfect the way they were. Few comic books were as consistently entertaining as Turok, Son of Stone.

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