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The Gold Key/Valiant relaunch via Dark Horse continues with Jim Shooter blazing the trail. We’ve already seen initial offerings of Magnus and a couple of issues of Doctor Solar. This third offering is by far the best of the bunch. The story is exciting and the characters are compelling. Shooter broadens his imagination and shores up his story with facts – or what seems factual – making this story ring true and allowing it to hit home.

There are leaps taken throughout this story, such as the beginning, where it seems as though we have come into the story in the middle. This isn’t a normal story tactic, and Shooter’s use of it here shows us exactly why it isn’t a normal choice. Shooter chooses to dive right in, introducing characters, settings, and situations with little pause in between. By the time Turok and Andar find a moment to sit and draw a breath, the reader most likely is just as exhausted as poor Andar, who nods off and is then startled back awake later on.

Francisco’s art is nicely suited for this title, bearing elements of Kubert, Sears, Foster, Raymond, and even Albuquerque. The end result is a comic filled with living characters, lush backgrounds, harsh landscapes, and prehistoric behemoths. Villarrubia’s coloring adds a great deal of depth and submerges this story in a great deal of atmosphere, working in perfect concert with Francisco’s art. This is a visually stunning book and the promise of more dinosaurs rendered in such a style has me looking forward to future issues.

This issue also includes the 1954 story reprinted here as an added bonus. The dinosaurs are used much more liberally in the reprint, but the conservative use here serves as a teaser, promising to come back when we least expect it, just as the dinosaurs did in the first “Jurassic Park” film. The dinosaurs are, after all, wildly unpredictable, as Shooter decides to depict them in this issue. They add a level of suspense that enhances the straight-forward chase plot that serves as the base of this issue.

This issue is a very nice starting point for new readers as well as seasoned Turok fans. Shooter and Francisco are doing a great job building Turok’s world. This is only the start and the sense is that things are going to get bigger and louder from here.