In this first issue, a Native American warrior must rescue his brother from United States cavalry soldiers who have taken him captive! Their path of escape will lead them to a lost world beyond their wildest imaginations. Turok is BACK, baby!
I haven’t picked up a new Turok book off the stands since probably the late 90s or early aughts, but I loved the character back in those days. Between the kooky comics by Valiant and Acclaim and the hyper-violent Nintendo 64 games, it was the right time for a pre-teen to be into the adventures of the heroic Dinosaur Hunter. I have lost touch with the character in the intervening years and various reboots, but that actually makes me the ideal audience for this book, which acts as a fresh start for new readers and old fans alike!
Known for his work in cosmic adventure comics such as Silver Surfer and fantasy fare like Witchblade and Scion, writer Ron Marz is the perfect fit for this series, kicking things off in the middle of a wild chase sequence between Turok and the soldiers holding his brother Andar. It allows the reader to begin this high fantasy story in a grounded setting before the brothers and their pursuers are pulled into the impossible dangers ahead of them, bringing the reader along for the journey. Likewise, the artwork of Roberto Castro (Red Sonja) doesn’t shy away from the violence of the battle. The panel layout is slightly chaotic, showing the reader how jostled about Andar is in the beginning and then, as the fight continues, how desperate and confused the cavalrymen have become.
The level of violence surprised me, but doesn’t detract from the storytelling. It actually kind of enhances the B-movie vibe that made the video games from my youth so attractive. The fantastical science fiction elements will surely only build from here, since this issue was mostly concerned with getting the two brothers to the lost world in which I assume much of the series will be set.
For a first issue, the story is pretty light. Things happen, of course. We get hints of a possible complicated relationship between Turok and Andar. There’s a sense that the brothers have been dealing with these particular cavalrymen for quite a while, so I’m interested to see that history get filled in by later issues. There’s the prerequisite “mysterious man in black” that no self-respecting western genre mashup would go without. And of course, we get some brief (but glorious) wild west dinosaur action.
However, we don’t really get a strong sense of who the characters are, beyond their basic motivations. As I mentioned before, the whole issue is essentially one long chase scene. It’s a lot of fun, but falls a little short in fleshing out its cast. I’m looking forward to hopefully exploring their pasts in future issues.
Still, that’s a lot to pack into a first issue! Turok #1 is a fun, brisk read that starts in the middle of the action and doesn’t let up till the final page. Even if the characters feel a bit underdeveloped in this first installment, there’s a real sense of forward momentum, so I’m sure that qualm won’t last long.