Reborn – Turok, Dinosaur Hunter Volume 1: Conquest

Turok, Dinosaur Hunter Volume 1
Turok just wants to be left alone.  Sadly, the local bullies find pleasure in tormenting him.  Soon, English outsiders make their way to the shores of the tribe’s land and with them they bring all manner of strange creatures.  Turok and the tribe come to learn that these creatures are quite dangerous with tooth and fang sharper than any beast they have ever encountered.  The Englishmen have come for gold, but with the language barrier between the two peoples, Turok realizes that only the universal words of violence will be able to convey that there is nothing for the English in the tribe’s land.  So it is that a battle is fought between the two peoples and against the dinosaurs, and where most see fear, Turok sees opportunity.

With this latest volume, published by Dynamite, Greg Pak paints a fresh picture of the Gold Key character, one that is similar to what has come before, yet is totally fresh in its approach.  There are dinosaurs of course, for what is a dinosaur hunter without them, yet there are no bionic appendages or robotics of any kind.  There is no tech whatsoever and that makes the book much more appealing than if that particular aspect had worked its way back in.  The book takes aspects from all the various runs and combines them into something simple premise-wise but adds in the science-fiction element of dinosaurs somehow existing in this time period when they simply should not be.  As it is, Pak makes it work and he does so by taking it back-to-basics.

While there are a lot of dinosaurs in the book, and there are all sorts of them, the focus is squarely upon our hero.  Pak looks at his relationship with the tribe, which is not in a good place as he does not considers himself one of them anymore.  Much to his regret the tribe thinks differently.  We also get to see how Andar, his enemy turned reluctant friend, figures into everything and if he will figure into the book going forward.  One of the most interesting aspects is how Turok seems to commune with nature.  While the tribe respects the natural forces of the Earth, Turok seems to be able to communicate with it on some level and it in turn seems to communicate back.  Pak makes Turok a loner and with the intrusion of the English, Turok must now work with the people he is trying to distance himself from and it creates a little friction to say the least.

The artwork on this book, by Mirko Colak and Cory Smith, is fantastic to look at.  Beautiful, clean lines grace the pages as well as some incredible detail that is quite elegant in its simplicity.  Lauren Affe brings the book to life with a wonderfully muted colour palette of light browns, blues and pastels.  To top it all off, being a Dynamite book, there are a plethora of covers for every issue with the best ones being by Bart Sears.  They are bold and striking and represent some of the best work seen from the man in quite some time.  If he could do interiors that looked like these covers, then it would be great to see him on some type of book if at all possible.

The last iteration of Turok in comics, by Dark Horse, was good, but this one is even better.  In fact, it is probably the best version of the character since the original Valiant run in the 1990s.  Pak gives the book a lot of excitement, ramping up the action with every passing issue as well as creating a mystery in the process.  How are there dinosaurs present in this particular time and are they only in Europe or are there some in North America?  Where is Turok going to go, what is he going to do? It is definitely a mystery worth exploring and Pak makes sure to craft a compelling enough tale to keep the reader hooked from cover to cover and to keep them coming back for more.

4.5 out of 5

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