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TMNT Toys in the Wild: Rise of the TMNT 1st Wave

I already posted about the Raphael figure I bought over the weekend, with the new Rise of the TMNT toy line starting to make its appearance.

I came across a display of the entire first wave of basic figures, and got photos of them "in the wild" (actually at a Walmart). Including the not-in-the-wild Raphael, here are my photos of the figures "on the card" as well as their "profile" from the back of the card, a la the old "clip-and-collect" profiles from the ’80s line.


Raphael:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_raph_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_raph_profile


Leonardo:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_leo_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_leo_profile


Donatello:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_don_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_don_profile


Michelangelo:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_mike_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_mike_profile


Splinter:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_splinter_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_splinter_profile


April:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_april_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_april_profile


Meat Sweats:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_meatsweats_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_meatsweats_profile


Baron Draxum:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_barondraxum_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_barondraxum_profile


Origami Ninja:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_origamininja_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_origamininja_profile


Until seeing the figures for myself, I hadn’t realized the Origami Ninja had a foot slapped on its face…which does somewhat "qualify" it as a Foot Ninja…so against prior expectations, I may (eventually, perhaps) try to get several.

And Baron Draxum seems rather obviously a stand-in for Shredder, so there’s a good chance I may (again, eventually, perhaps) try to get one.

I’d figured Meat Sweats would be "worth it" for bulk alone…but I think I’ve pretty much decided that if I want a large pig muant…I’d rather go with a 30+ year old classic in Bebop.

Time will definitely tell. And I suppose I’ll be curious as to what other figures will make their ways out for this line.

I remember the 2012 line rolling out by early August 2012, and 3-4 more figures by Christmas. Given we’re at early October for these, I think I’d be sorta surprised to see a second wave in 2018, though not too surprised if another makes it out in early 2019.

I have issues with the extremely-limited nature and high prices on the Neca figures…and I think it would be absolutely fantastic if Playmates were to produce a line of figures based on the IDW comics…ideally in the style of Mateus Santolouco. The four turtles, Splinter, April, Casey, Shredder, Krang, (human) Baxter Stockman (with mousers), maybe a multipack of named Utrom characters; the Neutrinos, the Mutanimals…Bludgeon, Koya, Bebop, Rocksteady…Alopex, Agent Bishop, The Pantheon…

To borrow a phrasing style…I’d buy the heck outta those, at under-$10/figure!

But that wishlist and topic is surely a topic for some other post.

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Rise of ‘Rise of the TMNT’

The other day, we "finally" got our first look at the character design for the new Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Rise of the TMNT) show coming this fall from Nickelodeon.

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To me, the best aspect is the logo.

As I posted the other day on Twitter, my first reaction is that these are atrocious:

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Seeing the "full/action" image and the individual images all over the place for a few days, I’ve grown used to these particular ones. But I stand by my original feeling of these being atrocious designs.

I’ve long held TMNT to be an "exception" to most of my usual personal "rules" (variants, what I’ll spend on them, accepting more "crap" regarding TMNT than I will most things, giving them a "pass" on stuff I won’t other properties, etc). At the same time, I hold the assumed "right" to be that much more critical–as a fan in my late-30s who has to some degree "been there" through most of the TMNT history–nearly 30 of their almost 34-year existence.

And whether it was certain of the "Specials" from the Archie comics, or the general Archie series compared to the ’80s cartoon compared to the original Mirage comics…then the Image series, the Mirage volume 4 series and Tales of the TMNT vol. 2, to the IDW series; the 2003 cartoon and the 2012 cartoon… I’m used to all sorts of differing visual interpretations of the characters. Some good, some bad, some wonky, some weird, some just…blah.

But as the "mainstream, main on-going publically-pushed" (’80s cartoon, 2003 cartoon, 2012 cartoon; all the films…even Next Mutation) designs go, I find these the worst.

Various designs in the comics tend to work short-term; even if I’m not thrilled with a style, often it hasn’t lasted all that long or been more than basically coming across "an alternative design." I’ve never had an actual distaste for a visual style like this. I’m not thrilled with the 2014/2016 film designs, but as live-action only-2-films takes, I’m ok with those…especially by comparison.

I also highly resent what my current understanding is–that "essentially," the 2012 series was ended to clear the path for Rise of the TMNT; that especially with the 2012 series only just having ended and this one having been announced prior to the end of the 2012 series, it is intended to REPLACE the 2012 series.

Previously, there were significant gaps of time between series. As such, I especially compare these to that, and may be more critical due to the feeling of this being the "replacement" rather than the "next iteration" of the property.

On the individual character designs:

rise_of_the_tmnt_splinterSplinter: he just looks like an angry little ugly rat to me; almost a caricature. While he has the ‘signature’ kimono and walking stick, and in context is recognizable, I get none of the fatherly/mentorly vibe from this design. He looks mean and more of a show-up-and-mess-someone-up character than father-figure/leader.

rise_of_the_tmnt_leoLeonardo:  partly the angle, but the character looks like some scrawny little thing, more like he’d be an "annoyance" than formidable. I also really dislike the sharp, angular design, especially for the legs/knees. While I don’t want my turtles to be balls, I also don’t want my turtles to be scissors with masks. I’m also not thrilled with the facial markings, though I can’t tell if that’s supposed to be facepaint or species markings. The latter I can live with, the former just seems stupid to me.

rise_of_the_tmnt_raphRaphael: The character is far bulkier than the other turtles, which sets him apart, sure; and while I’m not thrilled at the full head-covering vs. mask-strip around the eyes I don’t have any great problem with it, either. My main problem is the apparent change in weapon, from the sai to the nightstick. Especially as Mikey has "small sticks with strings" and Donnie has the "long stick." For whatever reason, offhand, it just reeks (to me) of something thinking simply "wouldn’t it look cool if…" and running with it.

rise_of_the_tmnt_donnieDonatello: This may be the "best" of the designs to me. The character doesn’t seem nearly as scrawny/angular as Leo, and while I get a bit of a 2014 movies vibe with the headgear, something to the face even just looks like a Donatello: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. It looks like he’s carrying some sort of scepter, which won’t thrill me; but it it’s more of a fancy stick, I guess I’m mostly ok on it.

rise_of_the_tmnt_mikeyMichelangelo: I don’t care for the prominent kneepads in the promo image, nor that he basically seems to have some kind of bladed ball attached to a stick…another "replacement" weapon; a factor I’m not keen on. The kneepads seem odd to me in a way I can’t quite place…like they’re more for skateboarding or such than the kneepads/wraps of previous versions of the turtles.

rise_of_the_tmnt_aprilApril: I’m not sure what to think here; I have a number of feelings on the matter. I sense some slight ties to some interpretations of the original comics; as all of this Rise design is so different anyway, no huge issue with the "race-bending." Moreso I feel like the pose for the promo image draws significantly from DC‘s Superhero Girls, as virtually every time I see her solo image, I’m put in mind of the Bumblebee character from that show/series, at a glance. I feel like she looks way too young; it’s one thing for April to be a high schooler or such, but not looking this young just seems rather "off."

As I’ve seen others comment–these may look better "in motion" and such; in action rather than these singular "still" images. And I will be interested to see how these translate to toys, the inevitable action figures. I’m probably more interested in the action figures than the show.

And of course, I’ll almost certainly check out the show itself at least to try…but it’s going to have to be pretty darned good right away from the first episode or two to "keep" me–it’s not gonna get much of a "grace period" from me to spend MONTHS to get several episodes to get a glimmer of what it "can actually be."

Whatever the case, I still have the original cartoon on DVD, 2003 on flashdrive (c’mon, Nickelodeon…release the 2003 series on DVD!!!), and the 2012 series on DVD, as well as all my comics and such already.

As some folks would say…I consider this whole matter to be:

(developing…)

rise_of_rise_of_the_tmnt_blogtrailer

TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #25

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures025Raw Power

Script: Dean Clarrain
Pencils: Chris Allan
Inks: Rod Ollerenshaw
Letters: Gary Fields
Colors: Barry Grossman
Edits: Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: October 1991
Cover Price: $1.25

This is another very special issue in my personal history with the turtles: this was THE first issue I ever got of TMNT Adventures at Waldenbooks as a then-new issue “off the rack,” still some months before I ever discovered such a thing as a comic shop. Along with that, the way I’ve mentally divided the series into “seasons” over the course of this re-reading project, I do see this as a “second season” finale.

The issue starts with a shot of the outside of a couple stores, as we’re left to imagine the naked Bebop and Rocksteady doing their shopping for clothes and guns. As they gather supplies, we return to the main thrust of the action–the TMNT vs. Slash, Bellybomb, and Krang as Shredder’s head. The bulk of the story is the details of the fights–Krang/Shredder vs. Leonardo, Donatello and Mikey vs. Bellybomb, and Raph vs. Slash. While they all fight, we find Bebop and Rocksteady freeing zoo animals, while bantering and generally enjoying themselves. Slash gets distracted remembering that he’s looking for his palm tree and leaves the fight; Bellybomb is knocked out by his own “mega-halitosis” and Raph gets Krang of Shredder, leaving the villain in the turtles’ debt. When Bebop and Rocksteady show up leading an army of dangerous animals, the turtles are out-gunned and out-numbered and consider cashing in that debt…but turns out the mutant duo is quite satisfied simply with the turtles admitting defeat. They just want to go home, and agree to take Bellybomb and Krang with them.

So the “season” ends with Shredder leaving to ponder the turtles’ having saved his life and “owing” them; Krang and Bellybomb are left back on Morbus (but not on a sinking barrel this time). Slash finds his palm tree and seems happy. The turtles return home…and Bebop/Rocksteady, too, return home. We have to continue on to the backup for April’s whereabouts, but that ends on a bit of a cliffhanger such that I could live with it within the “season” analogy.

Dragon Rage

Script: Dean Clarrain
Pencils: Chris Allan
Inks: Mark Pacella
Letters: Gary Fields
Colors: Barry Grossman
Edits: Victor Gorelick

Chu Hsi has brought forth the Warrior Dragon, and attempts to rescue Fu Sheng from the ninjas that’ve kidnapped him. Though the Dragon has little physical trouble with the ninjas, one of them throws a strange powder in his face…causing him to revert back to human form, and the naked fireman is dragged off with April unable to do anything but watch.

When I first read this issue more than two decades ago I had no idea who Bellybomb or Chu Hsi were, where they’d come from, etc. They were just simply “there.” I’d recognized Slash from the action figure; the turtles and Shredder/Krang as well as Bebop and Rocksteady were givens, of course. However, the Shredder/Krang relationship obviously was not what it was in the cartoon, and Bebop and Rocksteady are portrayed quite differently here than in the cartoon but everyone was still obvious as to who they were and all that, otherwise.

This time through I obviously have the “full” context of the series to date so (among other things) actually know that Krang attached himself to Shredders head and it only just happened at the end of the previous issue, as opposed to a multi-issue development or some such. Bellybomb’s not some long-time foe in this series any more than he is any other TMNT book; Slash is the generic mean/evil-turtle longing for his palm tree, and the story just “is.”

From the dialogue between them, we get a lot of exposition on Rocksteady and Bebop as well as the clarification that they actually DID start out human, but have the MEMORIES and such of the animals they were mutated from (apparently a slightly different mutagen than what transformed the turtles and Splinter). I’m not entirely sure if I’m disappointed at that or not, having come to kinda like the notion of them being mutated animals rather than mutated humans.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the two leaving the turtles…on one hand it’s a letdown and inconsistent with their brash talk in other issues of dealing with them. Yet, given their time on the Eden planet and such, I can accept it. All the more as I believe this is the last we see of them until the TMNT 30th Anniversary Special from IDW last year.

The backup story is another short snippet that goes by rather quickly and simply. I appreciate its placement as a separate thing from the main story as that allows it to breathe while not being shoehorned into the main story. Knowing what it leads to certainly colors my perspective and lends “meaning” to it, as the story otherwise seems rather generic, getting such a little piece of it here.

Having Allan back on pencils for the entirety of the issue is a welcome thing, main story as well as backup. Liking his work, I don’t have much to say on it except it’s good and this being roughly where I joined the series it makes sense that he was a definitive artist on the characters for me.

If this were a tv show, I suppose the backup stuff would have been worked into the main body of the “episodes,” leaving us on Chu Hsi’s capture as the cliffhanger to keep us hooked for the next season.

TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #17

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures017Fight the Power

Script: Dean Clarrain
Pencils: Ken Mitchroney
Clean-Ups: Buz McKim
Inks: Dan Berger
Colors: Barry Grossman
Letters: Gary Fields
Cover: Ryan Brown, Ken Mitchroney, Steve Lavigne
Edits: Scott Fulop, Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: February 1991
Cover Price: $1.00

Though we left off in the previous issue with the turtles on a beach and Mikey noticing a shooting star, we pick up a bit later here. Of course, that wasn’t so much a cliffhanger last issue as it was simply “where the issue ended,” with Bubbla’s burial. A meteor heads toward Earth, carrying Scul and Bean–agents of Maligna, the insectoid queen we were introduced to back just before The Final Conflict in TMNT Adventures #12. Though Krang was defeated and never followed through on his bargain with her, Maligna’s set her sights on Earth. Back to the turtles and April–Man Ray has them riding humpback whales for the final leg of their journey back to the US.

The group stops one last time at a derelict ship sitting out in the open, where Man Ray discovers some shrimp-trawlers are not using Turtle Extruder Devices, and ambushes the ship. He’s captured by the pirate captain of the ship, prompting the turtles to mount a rescue and put an end to the use of illegal trawling nets and subsequent killing of turtles and other sea life. Then as the issue ends, we learn that the mysterious Mr. Null has allied with Scul and Bean.

In a lotta ways, this is a fairly generic issue on the whole. We have the bookending of Scul and Bean’s arrival and revelation of alliance with Null; between we have a generic-ish one-shot of the turtles and a random “threat of the month” in the pirates’ illegal trawling. While we’d seen Scul or Bean before, I don’t recall either of them being named, so their appearance and naming in this issue qualify them for the “mutant of the month.” They’re also the main forward-movement of this issue’s story for the overall plot of the series.

Despite that, we DO get the turtles’ arrival back in the US after several issues away, and a lesson in nets used for shrimping and such, that devices exist to preserve sea life while allowing shrimp to be caught, and the threat posed to sea life when these devices are not utilized. And somehow I found this issue, this instance of such lesson-teaching far less preachy and a lot more “personal” than prior such cases. Perhaps that we see a dead turtle and our heroes are mutated turtles; perhaps it’s that this is shown as something much closer to home rather than on another continent, I don’t know.

This is another Mitchroney-drawn issue, maintaining a consistency for several issues now, that I’m definitely enjoying. No real complaints or problems with the art. The writing itself keeps things moving forward even though the “core” story is generic with a one-off villain/threat in the pirates.

Probably most significant for me is that this issue was the first single-issue of TMNT Adventures that I recall owning, bought at a flea market The Red Barn in Columbus (Ohio). I’m not sure if the edition I have here on-hand is the original copy I’d bought or a newer copy (without a barcode, perhaps) I picked up sometime since then. I went from this issue to my next being #25 some time after…whether this was new at the time or a “back issue” I’m not certain.

And probably FOR being my earliest issue, the cover stands out to me and is probably one of my favorites. There’s an ad in this issue for a poster one can get of the cover by joining a conservation group…I might have to see if I can track a copy down.

All in all, a good issue, the reading of which brought back some good memories, and certainly remind me that even as a 10-year-old I had no problem with the turtles looking a bit different than the cartoon; April not being dressed in yellow; this Man Ray character that I recall wondering at the name (I knew him as “Ray Fillet” thanks to the action figure), and had no idea about Scul, Bean, Kid Terra, Null, or why the turtles were “returning” to the U.S., etc. Yet I don’t recall any problem with it or not “accepting” it…everything just “was,” and didn’t discourage me from getting later issues once I figured out the series was ongoing.

TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #16

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures016DREADging the Ocean Blue

Script: Dean Clarrain
Pencils: Ken Mitchroney
Inks: Dan Berger
Colors: Barry Grossman
Letters: Gary Fields
Cover: Steve Lavigne, Ken Mitchroney
Edits: Scott Fulop, Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: January 1991
Cover Price: $1.00

The turtles and April part ways with Jagwar and Dreadmon here, as they reach the Atlantic. The beach they find is covered in trash, but Donatello’s able to whip up a couple of tube rafts with propulsion and the turtles set out with April. April journals the journey, allowing for narration to the readers without having her overstating the obvious to her travel companions. The group finds an island thanks to some dolphins, though they’re surprised by a submersible vehicle that grabs them. Once docked, the turtles and April are offloaded into a holding room where they meet Bubbla the Glublub and are reunited with Man Ray–the manta-man they met back in issue #5.

After Man Ray recounts his time between that and this, the group realizes one of the walls of their prison is a thin two-way mirror and break out, where they begin to fight their way out of the place. “Kid,” the person who has been following them for Mr. Null shoots at Man Ray but hits Bubbla instead, killing him and enraging the mutant manta, who tears the place apart. With the help of some sea turtles, our turtles and April escape, and later (with Man Ray) hold a burial for the fallen Glublub.

I’m liking the continuity here. Jagwar carried over from a couple issues ago, while Dreadmon’s still here from last issue. But rather than the characters be “dragged around” or such, they’re (realistically) left near their “home territory” as the turtles continue their journey toward–ultimately–New York. We also get Man Ray back in things with an accounting of what he’s been up to for the last 10-11 issues. There’s something to revisiting his character lately, these earliest of his appearances, where I’m seeing a different depth to him than I recall. The death of Bubbla is a major event in his life that I recall being touched on repeatedly later in the continuity…and it happens rather fast and on-panel here…no time for touching goodbyes or last words or such, and that’s fittingly real, I imagine. It’s also rather dark…and offhand, I believe it’s the first death of a named character in this series. So to take a character like that and kill the character on-panel definitely sets this apart from what we’ve seen before, and puts more “danger” in the story–not EVERYONE gets out alive, minor character or not.

I also like April’s journaling…it’s reminiscent of the original Mirage book, and it’s nice to see, as well as the exposition it supplies. However, given the mode of transportation for the characters and April joining them in swimming to shore…I’ve got to wonder exactly how she keeps the journal intact and dry! I don’t remember it from any prior readings of the issue, but when Man Ray introduces himself to April, he acknowledges that some know him as Ray Fillet…which is a nice nod to the action figure; same character but two different names. Which came first, I’m not sure offhand, and it really doesn’t matter to me.

Mitchroney provides the art again this issue, another two-in-a-row rather than the alternating of the earlier issues. There are a couple questionable panels of Man Ray, though by and large I love how he looks here. No real complaints or problems with the visuals that I haven’t touched in before and felt extremely nitpicky on…it works for this series, the story, is recognizable and all that…in short, it’s good.

Though I’d functionally read issues 1-2 and the original mini-series thanks to the Random House editions of Return of the Shredder and Heroes in a Half-Shell, I believe the next issue is the earliest issue I actually read of this series recognizing it as such. We’re also getting closer to further payoff with a number of the “mutants of the month” characters and one of the larger (that I recall) stories in this entire series…and I’m REALLY looking forward to it!

TMNT New Animated Adventures #1 [Review]

TMNT New Animated Adventures #1Story: Kenny Byerly
Art: Dario Brizuela
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow
Cover: Dario Brizuela
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

I’ve been quite looking forward to this premiere issue for a couple months now, since at least the FCBD issue back in May. In many ways, this is sort of a #2 issue, as it fits excellently with the FCBD issue (which was itself a full issue and not just a few pages’ preview or a short one-off amidst so-called “dvd-style extras” or such.

As I’d said then and hold with this issue, this truly feels right at home within the continuity of the Nickelodeon animated series–the characterization is consistent, and I even “hear” the voices from the show as I read this.

The visuals are a great blend of simply “comic book art” and “adaptation form another medium” as the characters are very recognizeable as based on the CGI designs of the animated series…yet Brizuela‘s art is distinctive and does not seem to “try too hard” to BE what it is not–it’s 2-D art and works very well, and avoids being particularly “cartooney” or over-simple.

Story-wise, this is an April-centric issue, focusing largely on her integration into the turtles’ family unit, and showing her increasing skills unter Splinter’s tutelage while we see her equally as fallible as the turtles themselves–also teens.

After showing off her stealth and receiving praise from Splinter, April accompanies Donatello to a junkyard to track down a piece of of tech for his inventions. Unfortunately, the junkyard turns out to be a bit more than they bargained for, and April is captured by the military, and the turtles have to intervene. Ultimately, a lesson is learned by all, and things continue on.

I’ve enjoyed the main/”real” TMNT continuity from IDW these past couple of years, and despite not being entirely enamored with the animated tv series, I did enjoy reading this issue. As long as I’ve been into TMNT in general, I very fondly remember the original Archie-published TMNT Adventures, so this TMNT New Animated Adventures is a bit reminiscent of that in intent, it seems. It remains to be seen if this will branch off into its own individual continuity, but I’m content to follow this as an extension to the tv series’ continuity.

As with the tv series, this story is a done-in one/self-contained story…you get a full story in one issue, and there’s no need to get the next issue to FINISH this story…which is another nice thing about this. Though the next-issue ad indicates one of my least-favorite characters of the series, I’ll happily give it a chance simply for being TMNT, and of course Brizuela‘s art.

TMNT Micro-Series #7: April [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
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Story: 4.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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