Written by Greg Pak and illustrated by Mirko Colak with Corey Smith, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #2 continues Dynamite Entertainment’s revival of the Gold Key Universe, which I’m completely unfamiliar with, though I understand that it used to be a moderately popular franchise of shared comic book lore. Plus, it apparently includes something called Magnus: Robot Fighter, so that sounds pretty cool, much in the same way that I decided to read Turok: Dinosaur Hunter for the strength of its title alone. Is it good?
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #2 (Dynamite Entertainment)
I’ve written before about the importance of titles in storytelling, and my initial reaction to hearing about a comic called Turok: Dinosaur Hunter reminded me of how much of a sucker I am for simple, direct titles. It may have even been detrimental, though I’m not sure if that applies more to the comic itself or the bias that I developed even before I started reading the first issue. I mean, I like to think of myself as a fairly sophisticated reader. I appreciate theme, symbolism, characterization, and all that other good stuff that they teach you in English class, and I look out for those kinds of nuances whether I’m reading a Robert Frost poem or a Superman comic.
But man, hand me an issue of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, and all I really want to see is some muthafucking dinosaurs.
It’s fine that Greg Pak would want to give readers more than that, though it’s causing the book to drag a bit in its opening stages. The first issue began with a young Native American man, the titular Turok, protecting himself against members of his own tribe for reasons that weren’t entirely clear. It wasn’t until late in the issue that SPOILER ALERT: some dinosaurs showed up.
Turok #2 is much more exciting, largely because the conflict is a bit easier to understand. Well, “understand” may not be the right word. You may be wondering why a tribal native of the island of Manhattan circa 1210 A.C.E. would fight dinosaurs. “But Greg,” you ask. “That’s both historically and scientifically inaccurate!”
And to that I say, “shut up, dummy, obviously the dinosaurs were brought here by White Christian Crusaders on a search for gold, and the only reason why the dinosaurs are extinct is because Turok killed them all.”
It’s a fun twist on a terribly unfortunate facet of American history, and I would love to see this go in the direction of straight-up satire. As it is, Pak may already have planted those seeds. The natives in this story are no stranger to violence and even cruelty, but they’re not depicted as alien or exotic. They speak in contemporary dialects, whereas the European dialogue is written out
It may sound great on paper, but Mirko Colak (and Corey Smith, I suppose, although it’s unclear what kind of role he plays) does not sell the story with his art. Each face he draws looks almost exactly the same, forcing readers to learn to distinguish characters from their clothes and hair. It was a much bigger problem in the first issue, as the only characters at that point were Native Americans that all had the same general style of dress. The fact that issue #2 is populated by characters with a different set of clothes and skin tones helps a little bit, but it’s still going to be an ongoing problem for this series until Colak stops using the same basic model for every human character. I want to like this series, but until a better artist steps in, I can’t justify spending time and money on it.
Is It Good?
Maybe it could have been if Mirko Colak knew how to draw people or frame an action sequence.