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TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #6

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures006Of Turtles and Stones and Mary Bones

Plot by: Ryan Brown and Dean Clarrain
Written by: Dean Clarrain
Pencils by: Ken Mitchroney
Inks by: Dave Garcia
Letters by: Gary Fields
Colors by: Barry Grossman
Edits by: Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: November 1989
Cover Price: $1

I can’t remember for certain the first time I encountered the character of Mary Bones, but I suspect it was one of those “storybook” paperbacks put out ages back that adapted some comic stories…with a mix of memory and deja vu I feel like I learned of the Turnstone in one of those and noticed later that the comics seemed to be the source. I also have this voice of the character in my head that I can’t quite place…like I heard it as one of those comics on cassettes, and yet this was not part of either of the ones I was aware of prior to the latter part of 2014.

This issue continues the “new direction” for the TMNTA title and world-building by way of introducing new characters…this time, Leatherhead. For the timeframe I can’t imagine the character had not yet been introduced in the Mirage comics nor the cartoon. So this made for a third version of the character much different from the previous two.

We meet a man–Jess Harley–in New Orleans who sneaks into the home of an old witch named Mary Bones and steals a giant pearl. Making his way to New York to sell the object, he loses it into a sewer. On trying to retrieve it he’s confronted by the “mystical” Mary Bones herself who transforms him into a gator-man “…a Leatherhead.” Begging her to not leave him, Leatherhead falls into the latest of Shredder’s hideouts. Seizing the opportunity, Shredder lies and claims the turtles volunteered for transformation, and captured his accountant and real estate agent (Bebop and Rocksteady) and subjected them to Bones’ transformation. When they find and attack the turtles, the lie is revealed and in a rageful tantrum, Leatherhead accidentally destroys the bridge he’s on and plummets into the depths. Mary Bones appears to the turtles and informs them he’s ok, and that they’ll soon face The Final Conflict, before Raphael notices something shocking and the issue ends.

This done-in-one origin of Leatherhead works well for me though it’s a bit formulaic. Like Man Ray last issue, we’re briefly introduced to the human character, witness their transformation event, see them encounter Shredder and then by issue’s end leave, not actually joining up with or staying with the turtles.

The art’s nice and consistent with the last couple issues…I like the designs overall despite Leatherhead not looking QUITE as fearsome as he could if his teeth were drawn as pointed rather than rounded. Otherwise liked the visuals…especially the full-page premiere/establishing shot of Leatherhead.

Knowing what comes, I picked up immediately on some major foreshadowing and kinda enjoyed the “prophecy” with Mary Bones at the end, setting up a longer arc/plot point but not hijacking the core story for now.

There are still some elements of the story that are rather “convenient” and “plot-hole” like (Leatherhead falling into Shredder’s hideout, Jess going straight to New York, etc). But I’m willing to overlook them for having enjoyed this issue, and knowing there’s further development of Leatherhead imminent, and this being the start of a great run on the title and recalling how much I enjoyed later issues.

One could pretty easily pick this issue up without any prior experience with the series and enjoy it…the issue’s “cliffhanger” is hardly a cliffhanger and more a forced “hook” at the last second to try to interest one in coming back rather than closing off on an otherwise one-shot/single-issue story.

I believe next issue is where we’re introduced to the Intergalactic Wrestling and Stump Asteroid…and I look forward to getting into that.

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TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #2

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures002Return of the Shredder (part 2 of 2)

Written, Drawn, and Lettered by: Dave Garcia
Adapted from Scripts by: Christy Marx and David Weiss
Colored by: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Cover by: Eastman, Laird, Lavigne
Published by: Archie/Mirage
Cover Price: $1.00
Cover Date: May 1989

This issue gives us the second part of the adaptation of Return of the Shredder. There’s a lot going on in the issue as it zips through the second half of the episode. Shredder breaks Baxter Stockman out of the asylum he’s being held in and recruits him to build the greatest rat-catcher ever–which he does, capturing Splinter while the turtles are out. The turtles, meanwhile, find and take down the fake turtles gang and discover a message from Shredder. This leads them to a confrontation with the villain as he stands by with Splinter ctied to a wall and a huge battering ram situated to swing down once its rope is cut. Baxter bursts in with his modified forklift/rat-trap and provides the distraction the turtles need to rescue their master. Shredder escapes, taking Baxter with him, and tries to explain the failure to Krang. Back at April’s office, we see her boss’s fling end, and the turtles have a meta-moment in the lair watching her news report on the capture of the Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang.

Story-wise, I’m still not impressed with this. I hold that for me, at least, looking back across 20+ years–there’s little characterization here and most of what I “know” is experiential rather than learned from the issue. There are plot-holes a truck (or giant rat-catcher) could be driven through, and things seem overly simplified in their way. I also continue to lay the bulk of the blame for that on this being an adaptation, and the material it had to work from (to say nothing of the fact that this is aimed more at the audience of the ’80s cartoon series, and my present-day self is certainly far from being the target audience). That said, the adaptation is pretty faithful to the cartoon, enough so that I can “hear” the characters’ voices as I read.

Visually, the issue is in a middle ground somewhere. The art is solid, good, but not exactly a favorite. All the characters are recognizable except April’s coworker Irma, who just looks significantly “off” from her appearance in the cartoon. Beyond that my main issue with the art is primarily that it doesn’t match the cartoon exactly, and the differences are very noticeable.

Overall, the issue simply “is what it is,” the second of a two-part adaptation of a single episode. Which is far preferable to the “ultra-compressed” nature of the mini-series. While this is still compressed by contemporary standards, it fits well enough into its place in history.

My copy of this issue is in fairly rough shape–a bit yelled, rough edges, the cover doesn’t quite line up with the pages. The cover image works well, though, and is far superior to any of the interior panels of the turtles facing Baxter.

I’m looking forward to the next issue, as it’s a story I haven’t read or particularly thought about in quite awhile…plus, I’m looking forward to getting into the “new stories” that made me love this series, beginning with #5.

The Mighty Mutanimals Promo Ads from 1991

Twenty-four years ago, after a number of characters were introduced in the pages of the Mirage-created/Archie-published Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, a group of mutant animal characters were put together as a group…

mighty_mutanimals_promo_01_450x689

We had several ads leading up to the group, as the group was to be given its own mini-series, a spin-off from the main TMNT Adventures title…

mighty_mutanimals_promo_03_450x689

The series was the “payoff” of a bunch of “mutant of the month” stories as well as following up on a plot element from earlier in the series…

mighty_mutanimals_promo_02_450x689

Krang had made a deal with Maligna, an alien bug queen from his own Dimension X to give her the Earth. When he was defeated, she still wanted the planet, and it fell to a group of mutant animals to stop the invasion.

While I know there is a new Mutanimals mini-series about to start from IDW, it has more than two decades of expectation to live up to. While I’ve been used to the turtles themselves being reinterpreted numerous ways, for the most part there’s only been one single incarnation of the Mutanimals, so the new stuff (for me) will be heavily compared to the “classic” stuff.

TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures #6

tmntadventures006

Full Post at TMNT Revisited
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #6

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