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 Turok: The Empty Souls (Acclaim/Valiant)
by Fabian Nicieza and Rafael Kayanan
preview of the first half of Turok vol.3, no.1
Rating: OK, Content: [super] [sci-fi]

 I never read the previous version of Valiant's Turok (nor the original Turok), so I come to this new quarterly series fairly fresh. All I knew was that Turok was a Native American who fought dinosaurs. That didn't make much sense, but neither does a alien from another planet who looks just like a human and flies, so I figured I'd give it a chance.

 Ordinarily I'd find it hard to fault a book that features a frontal shot of a naked athletic man on page three, but this picture shows a book being held inexplicably in front of his crotch, so I'm going to feel free to criticise it. {grin}

 In this implementation of the concept, at least, Turok is the alternate identity of the eldest male of each generation of his family. For Untold Ages, this Turok has been charged with fighting this horde of intelligent dinosaurs who are trying to take over our world. OK... this is more plausible than some indian brave who just happens to have bunches of thunder lizards living next door... I guess. {scratches head} I guess I have a difficult time taking talking reptiles seriously (or talking gorillas, for that matter).

 The dilemma with the Turok legacy in these modern times is that the next Turok in line is flaunting that tradition, instead wasting his time on baseball, school, partying, and sex... not necessarily in that order. He's self-centered, apathetic, and doesn't get along with his family. Of course we know he'll end up risking the rest of his life to serve his family's legacy and keep the world safe. By the middle of this issue (the end of this preview), we get an idea of how that change will happen: the hard way.

 There's a lot to like in this book. Kayanan's art is well done and his storytelling is clear. Nicieza's dialog manages to give an idea of the characters while still providing enough exposition to explain the situation.

 It hasn't hooked me yet, though. Perhaps it's because I'm leery of the talking dinosaur aspect... especially the way they're drawn as drooling, anatomically-unlikely monsters rather than, say, the product of evolution. Maybe I'll feel differently after reading the second half, which will presumably deal more with them than the couple pages they were featured on.

 This isn't going to be a regular monthly series, but a series of quarterly double-size books, each containing a full story. So it's more like a movie series than an episodic TV series. With the assurance that I won't need to stick around for half a year's "episodes" to get to the end of the first storyline (thereby giving me an idea of whether it'll work for me), I'll be buying this first new Turok story. After that... we'll see.

 Update, March 1997: Turok: Spring Break in the Lost Land arrived this month, and was quite a good read. It didn't feature the dinosoids very prominently, so that didn't bug me much. It had some fun time-travel stuff in it, and (more importantly) some good character development and interaction. This is definitely turning out to be more than just a video game tie-in (which is good, because Turok the comics character came long before Turok the video game character.
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