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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 #4

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures004The Incredible Shrinking Turtles Part 2

Script: Beth & Ken Mitchroney
Pencils: Ken Mitchroney
Inks: Dave Garcia
Letters: Gary Fields
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Cover: Ryan Brown
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie
Cover Date: July 1989
Cover Price: $1.00

This issue resumes from the previous, with Shredder holding a shrunken Empire State Building. Now having shrunk a number of buildings, he presents these to Krang as proof he is worthy of having his Foot-bots returned to him…Krang disagrees. Baxter chimes in with a turtle-tracking device, and Shredder sends him after the turtles. The turtles, meanwhile, have been dealing with things being much bigger than they’re used to, and the trials that come along with that. Escaping sewer dangers they wind up in open water, where Baxter nabs them. Placed in a specimen jar, they’re presented to Krang, and Shredder prepares to smash the miniaturized turtles. Meanwhile, Splinter and April have been stuck in traffic, but conveniently burst onto the scene (Splinter having “sensed” his students nearby and directed April to this place). While Splinter and Shredder fight, the turtles point the crystal fragment out to April, who retrieves it and holds it near them. None know how to “turn it on” but it does its thing on its own, and the turtles are restored to normal size, bursting free from their jar. As it shatters, Donnie’s bo is flung at a machine, saving Splinter. Shredder and Baxter escape with the fragment, and the turtles return home. Reflecting on their adventure, the turtles are presented with miniature pizzas, and the news that everything is back to normal.

Once more, plot-holes abound. I particularly have problems with the turtles’ escape–I can only assume they would’ve been killed WHILE growing in the jar. And the convenience of the bo flying away just right at the exact moment to shut down the machine about to kill Splinter…highly implausible. Perhaps even moreso, though: what the heck happened with the shrunken buildings? The turtles failed to stop Shredder from getting away, failed to retrieve the crystal fragment…and I hardly think Shredder and Baxter would feel generous enough to re-place and re-grow the buildings without the turtles providing intimidating incentive. Part of my problem with this is knowing that this functionally concludes this short ‘run’ on the title, and that the plot point of the shrunken/stolen buildings is (as I recall) never touched on again.

This issue adapts the 2nd half of the Incredible Shrinking Turtles episode, and while not horrible, is a little less “fun” than the previous issue. I blame that on the plot-holes glaring at me far, far more here than in reading #3. This seems a faithful adaptation of the episode, to the point that I have to wonder if everything would have come across without having seen the episode and only reading this issue.

The art is consistent with the previous issue, which obviously makes sense given the creative team carries over from the previous issue. I like the art as it is different from the cartoon and doesn’t have the feel of “trying to be” the cartoon. The characters look uniquely comic-booky while being perfectly recognizable and fitting the story and all that.

We have a change in cover art, moving from the usual Eastman/Laird/Lavigne group to Ryan Brown…a credit I had to look up as it’s not provided in the issue and I couldn’t find it on the cover. The image is a lot more cartoon-ish and doesn’t quite fit the interior, though it dos better than the previous covers with a similar visual style. It’s nothing I particularly like, though I don’t not like it. It just…is.

Despite not disliking this issue, I’m glad to be through it, and ready to dive into the rest of the series. In its own way, this is like the conclusion of a 7-issue mini-series, with next issue–#5–serving (to me) as the TRUE beginning of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, with a creative team that leaves the cartoon behind and tells all-new original stories of the turtles, introducing new mutants and building out a great cast and “universe.”

Re-reading these past few issues–the original 3-issue mini and these 4–I do have a bit of nostalgia for the cartoon, and found myself “hearing” some of the voices in my head as I read. Not a bad thing. Still…other than being artifacts of the time, of being a non-video/VHS way to “experience” the story for kids who love the cartoon, I have very little interest in this issue or its predecessors, and one is truly NOT missing out to skip over them altogether.

TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #3

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures003The Incredible Shrinking Turtles Part 1

Adaptation: Beth & Ken Mitchroney
Pencilling: Ken Mitchroney
Inking: Dave Garcia
Lettering: Gary Fields
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Cover: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Steve Lavigne
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie
Cover Date: July 1989
Cover Price: $1.00

Straight away, I think this is probably the most “fun” I’ve had re-reading any of these issues so far. The cover image is of course familiar to me–both from simply seeing it through the years as well as being an obvious “Mirage” piece, certainly a large influence of Eastman. The coloring–with all the green–is a little boring, but I am a fan of thick borders around an image…there’s just something about it that works for me, so overall I do like the cover.

I like the interior art quite a bit. Mitchroney keeps a certain “fun” feel to the visuals–and the characters recognizable–while bringing a slightly different style that hasn’t been seen in the Archie issues til this. I think it’s that the turtles look like comic characters here, MEANT FOR comics, rather than just being drawn to look like the tv show. The rest of the characters hold a consistent look to previous issues, but work well to me.

The story is a straight up adaptation of the first part of the cartoon episode, but I like it here. We find the turtles working out and see them interacting when a spaceship crashes in a lake right near where the turtles were hanging out (mighty convenient, that). The turtles leap in to see if there are any survivors, and pull an alien out. The alien references an “Eye of Sarnath” and gives them a device to track the Eye. Shredder (who EXTREMELY CONVENIENTLY has been watching from within a nearby bush) decides he must have the Eye. Later, the turtles are on the hunt, as is Shredder–now having brought Baxter Stockman along. The first piece of the Eye is found on a garbage barge, and while the turtles find it first, Shredder’s right there to take it from them. They fight–Shredder defeating the turtles–and then the piece activates, shrinking the turtles. They escape to the sewers and Splinter enlists April. Before those two can act, they hear a news bulletin about the Empire State Building being shrunk and race to the scene. Already at the scene, Baxter (in a fake Police uniform) takes the shrunken building. Shortly, at Shredder’s hideout we see the villain preparing to use the building as proof of the Eye’s power to convince Krang to send him his foot soldiers.

As usual, there’s a lot crammed into a single issue, though this is thankfully less compressed than the original mini-series. Though the end isn’t much of a cliffhanger, it’s an ok breaking point to me (at least for my not yet having re-read the next issue nor rewatched the actual episode this is based on). There are some monstrous plotholes throughout the issue–something I blame on the simplicity of the cartoon this is adapted from. Despite those, as said above, this issue was a lot more fun to read than the previous five, and I look forward to getting to the second half, and maybe even re-watching the cartoon episode for good measure.

These first few issues had the look of being two-part adaptations of episodes…which could have carried this into the mid-20s on issues if the formula was kept of splitting each episode across two issues. As the first of two parts and the nature of the issues, one doesn’t really need to have read the last couple episodes to “get” this…just know the basics of the turtles and enjoy a “random” story in the (for obvious reasons) style of the ’80s cartoon.

Skipping YEARS ahead (comics-wise) I recall that this story comes back into play, which I think lends to my enjoyment of this issue…particularly with my eagerness to get back into the Clarrain/Allan run.

On the whole…nothing overly special to this issue in and of itself. No particular memories associated with this story beyond where it plays into things that story around #47. But I think it’s safe to say that of these early issues, this one’s my favorite yet!

TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures #6

tmntadventures006

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

TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures #4

tmntadventures004

Full Post at TMNT Revisited

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #4

TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures #3

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #3

Archie #606 [Review]

Yesterday Today Tomorrow / Career Weak / Unflappable

Scripts: Michael Uslan, Angelo Decesare, Craig Boldman
Pencils: Stan Goldberg
Inking: Bob Smith
Lettering: Jack Morelli
Coloring: Glenn Whitmore
Managing Editor: Mike Pellerito
Editor/Editor-in-Chief: Victor Gorelick
Cover: Dan Parent
Published by: Archie Comics

Archie is one of those comics that seems to stick to a status quo far moreso than any other comics I can think of offhand–even more than super-heroes such as Superman or Batman, which can seem to at least take a year or two to deviate from status quo now and again.

I picked up Archie #600 not solely because of being a legitimate milestone (no reboots, restarts, disassemblings, etc en route), but because it was the first of a 6-issue story. Unlike the digests the publisher puts on regulalry, this wasn’t just some “theme” for a bunch of gag shorts and whatnot–it was six issues of full-issue-length ongoing story featuring the Archie mainstays. Archie of course, Betty, Veronica, their families, Jughead, Reggie, Moose, Midge, Pop Tate, Principal Weatherbee, and the other usuals. We’re familiar with them, we know who they are and what they’re about, and they can carry full-length stories.

This issue bills itself as an Epilogue, as a “Part 7,” whereas the Archie Marries Veronica/Archie Marries Betty/Will You Marry Me? story was for six issues billed as __ of 6. So rather than jump off as intended with #605, I picked this up, because I thoroughly enjoyed the 6-issue arc, I figured one more issue of follow-up couldn’t hurt.

Boy, was I wrong on that. This issue returns to the multiple stories per issue, with the stories more gag-oriented and predictable than being solid character-drivin stories.

The main feature is the follow-up to Will You Marry Me, as the guys give Archie a hard time for his notion of having seen a future where he married each of the girls, and sees him booking a date with each for the same night, and the fallout from that when the girls bump into each other on their way to meet up with Archie. The next short sees a bunch of gags as Archie supposedly embraces different potential careers, to the distress of his parents. Being a diver, or a painter, a mechanic, or a zoologist are all things that would be interesting to see Archie embrace–I’d gladly read a series of issues where each one sees the kid attempt to get into these career paths–but they have no real depth as given here with just a page or two per idea. And the final short sees Archie going ga-ga over a new girl, and tries to do everything he can to annoy Veronica so that she’ll break their date, freeing him to go with the new girl guilt-free.

The art isn’t bad in this issue–it’s “standard Archie,” the visual style we’re all used to for the various characters…no complaint there. It’s the lack of serious, deep story combined with a cover that led me to expect another issue like the previous six that makes this issue quite a stinker. If you’ve been following this title solely for the “big story,” there’s no need to get this issue–it adds NOTHING to the previous six issues. If you prefer your Archie with short gag-driven stories, though…this one’s for you, and you can freely ignore the huge “Part 7” displayed on the cover. As for me, I’ll wait for the next longform “special” arc.

Story: 3/10
Art: 7/10
Overall: 4/10

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