• August 2017
    S M T W T F S
    « Jul    
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    2728293031  
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures (Mini-Series) #3

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventuresmini003Heroes in a Half-Shell!

Written and Pencilled by: Michael Dooney
Adapted from the Scripts by: David Wise and Patti Howeth
Inked by: Dave Garcia
Lettered by: Steve Lavigne
Color by: Barry Grossman
Cover by: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Steve Lavigne
Published by: Mirage/Archie
Cover Price: $1.00
Cover Date: December 1988

This issue picks up with the rock soldiers interacting with Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady. Krang freaks out upon learning Neutrinos are loose on Earth. Meanwhile, the turtles have just about found the technodrome when they’re buzzed by flying cars and opt to chase these instead. The rock soldiers show up and rather than put up a fight, launch a weather-making device (which our heroes promptly ignore), and everyone meets back in the technodrome (where Donatello instantly figures out the alien controls, opens the portal, and the rock soldiers are thrown back through to Dimension X and the Neutrinos voluntarily follow, to continue the fight against Krang (but without ever dealing with Krang in the technodrome). Shredder and his forces leave rather than confront the turtles here in the heart of the technodrome, and the turtles simply leave rather than even trying to find and deal with Shredder or Krang.

The next day, the Shredder re-baits the turtles, who wind up fighting Bebop and Rocksteady again. The turtles and Splinter split up to deal with different facets of the current threat. Krang gets put into the stomach of an android body and electrocuted (er…the body is activated). Shredder then sends Foot robots after the turtles as a diversion until Krang wakes. After having the turtles on the run while growing to a gigantic size, Krang simply turns and punches his way to the surface so the turtles can follow him, rather than dealing with them where they were. Donatello shows up with a blimp he’s been working on, and turns it loose with the others while he and Leo enter the android body to shrink it down. Krang calls Shredder for help, Shredder abandons his imminent victory over Splinter and shows up to point his retromutagen ray at the turtles, Splinter shows up as well and destroys it, then the story shifts back to the technodrome where the Donatello finishes some complicated thing with the portal, and everyone gets out as the whole thing is sucked into Dimension X. We see Shredder and Krang bicker, the turtles chill at home…and the story (mercifully) concludes.

Much as with the previous issue, this is ultra-compressed with an extremely fast-pace and abbreviated scenes such that the characters–from simply reading this–seem interchangeable and inconsequential. As noted also with the previous issue, this is not so much a fault of the writing of the comic as it is a shared problem between the writing of the episodes this issue is based on and trying to cram the contents of more than one episode into a single issue.

The art continues to be good–it’s a welcome visual style that as I’ve said before, holds its own without mimicking the art of the animated series. Yet, the characters are all recognizeable and nothing’s so far off as to seem otherwise (except the coloring can be kinda iffy…especially on a comic that’s got slightly yellowed pages and carries a cover date from nearly 26 years ago).

The cover would make for a decent poster, and the image alone promises something a lot more dramatic than what I read inside.

While in recent years I’ve found the “classic” TMNT animated series rather hokey and have been rather put-off by it, revisiting this miniseries and the episodes themselves has admittedly made me rather nostalgic, and rekindled my interest in the old series. I may not binge-watch the entire thing or even finish tracking down all the seasons…but I’ve been reminded of how much my younger self loved this stuff, and failed to notice the level of hokiness my present-day adult self sees.

From looking at this simply as a comic series, it’s nothing special for the content by itself. What makes this special is that it’s a color series starring the turtles, designed and aimed at the audience of the 1980s cartoon, and is a #1 issue I can actually afford (and have a duplicate or two somewhere, too).

Though I missed this mini-series when it was originally published, it was still something I was able to track down relatively easily a number of years ago, far moreso than ever the original Mirage #1, which I content myself to this day with reprint editions of that.

I can’t imagine something like this mini-series–or this issue–being published today; but it’s certainly a product of its time, and quite worthwhile to get as a fan of the TMNT in general, and the Archie-published stuff in particular.

TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures (Mini-Series) #2

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventuresmini002Heroes in a Half-Shell!

Written and Pencilled by: Michael Dooney
Adapted from the Scripts by: David Wise and Patti Howeth
Inked by: Dave Garcia
Lettered by: Steve Lavigne
Color by: Barry Grossman
Cover by: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Steve Lavigne
Published by: Mirage/Archie
Cover Price: $1.00
Cover Date: October 1988

As noted in my post about the first issue, this mini is based on the first 5-episode mini-series/season of the animated TMNT cartoon. However, where that was 5 episodes, the comics adaptation is a mere 3 issues…leading to a couple weird issue-breaks that do not match up with the episode-breaks in the cartoon.

This issue picks up with the turtles facing some random/weird robots. After dispatching these, they deal with another deathtrap, and then find Splinter…and meet Bebop and Rocksteady. Escaping to the surface, the turtles are followed, but quickly trap Bebop and Rocksteady, and that’s that.

Continuing on, Shredder has a new scheme, and coopts bumbling scientist Baxter Stockman’s “mouser” invention. He sends some after Splinter, but the turtles rescue their master with no problem. However, Shredder’s built hundreds more and they do prove to be a problem. Michelangelo “volunteers” to infiltrate the mansion Shredder’s commandeered, but is captured the the villain…though set free behind his back by Krang. The Mousers are stopped, no one’s dead, and again, that seems to be that. Shredder still won’t give Krang a body, and initiates yet another scheme: opening a portal to Dimension X he lets a flying car into the Technodrome (which promptly blasts a hole and skidaddles), followed by a flying tank of sorts with rock soldiers…and that’s the end of the issue.

The art for this issue is consistent with the first…much of my thinking on the first issue applies here as well (cool to see the Mirage team on the issue, etc). While the visuals are stylistically their own thing, they are clearly based on the cartoon and fit well without seeming particularly “off.” Essentially they’re simply comic versions structurally, but based on the cartoon elements.

The story is where most of my problems lie…particularly where the cartoon itself seems choppy and just runs from points ‘A’ to ‘B’ to ‘C’ and following that so closely, the comic seems super-compressed, well beyond any preference I’d have to avoid “decompression.”

And therein I find the issue–it’s not so much the writing of this comic that’s the problem as much as it’s the source material. I’m consciously aware that this issue’s story is itself based on another story, and the writing keeps faithfully TO said source material. The faults come from the ludicrous, goofy, weird stuff that (in remaining faithful) had to be translated into this adaptation.

While the first episode of the cartoon–and therefore, the bulk of the first issue–was charming enough in its own way (and gave a roughly whole story without tying up plotlines and such), this is the middle chunk of the overall 5-episode arc and middle of this particular 3-issue series. Sadly, it’s really choppy and all over the place, and the only real fondness I find in it is the art as mentioned, and its “place” as an artifact of history.

Taken by itself, I had to force myself through the issue, and force myself not to just quickly eyeball the pages and move on.

TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures (Mini-Series) #1

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventuresmini001Heroes in a Half-Shell!

Written and Pencilled by: Michael Dooney
Adapted from the Scripts by: David Wise and Patti Howeth
Inked by: Dave Garcia
Lettered by: Steve Lavigne
Color by: Barry Grossman
Cover by: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird
Published by: Mirage/Archie
Cover Price: $1.00
Cover Date: August 1988

It’s rather interesting to consider that this was–I  believe–the first color TMNT comic. Sure, First Publishing had colored the original black and white issues, but this issue began as a color production rather than the color being a conversion. And where the original Mirage TMNT comics were certainly of a more mature nature for violence and language, this is based on the animated series that was aimed fairly squarely at kids.

Reading back through the issue, it has–for this fan of 26+ years–a lot of familiarity, both from the cartoon as well as the visual style of the art. Which ultimately makes sense, given Dooney‘s involvement with the Mirage stuff in particular. The character designs are obviously those of the cartoon, though.

Being such an old comic–at least a quarter-century–it’s immediately clear some differences from modern comics physically; and my copy in particular isn’t a particularly clean copy…it definitely is a bit yellowed from age and all that, as the paper is classic newsprint, one can see the dots to the coloring, and so on.

As a whole, the art’s not bad in and of itself, though the style is a bit “interesting” having gotten used to more “modern” renditions of these characters. I rather like the realization that even though this was published by Archie, it was created by the Mirage folks…thus lending a certain authenticity to this as a Ninja Turtles thing, rather than just being some thrown-together adaptation of a kids’ cartoon.

Story-wise, this suffers the same as the cartoon itself does in my mind…overly-simplistic and full of glaring plot-holes and such, requiring a lot more suspension of disbelief than most comics I’m used to. There’s also something rather wonky about the pacing, with this first issue covering maybe an episode and a half of the cartoon, rather than just one episode. In that way it’s a rather “compressed” storytelling that (especially looking at it now) really needs a lot more room to breathe. And as a comic, it misses so much potential in terms of “enhancing” the cartoon with narration or thought balloons or such that just wouldn’t fit the cartoon but would a comic.

Other than some abbreviated dialogue and missing the show’s music, this is absolutely a straight up adaptation and it doesn’t begin to even try to be anything else–different or additional. In and of itself, unfortunately, I can say with honesty I find this issue rather hokey, choppy, and other than the art “working” it’s nothing particularly stand-out or impressive to me.

At the same time, this goes back to the very beginning of the TMNT in tv and “popular” comics, so it has a huge bit of historical significance and is in itself quite the “artifact” of its time. This is the first issue of 3, a mini-series, which adapts the entire first “season” or 5-episode mini-series of the TMNT cartoon. At a time when home media (VHS) was still relatively rare (especially compared to our contemporary age of everything being on DVD and so readily available to purchase and watch whenever we want) this was the closest I personally would get to “owning” the episodes to consume whenever I chose. Back in the late-’80s/early-’90s, though, I’d acquired a rather thick comic that came with an audiocassette, which actually collected all 3 issues into a singular volume…but was not itself a bookshelf volume or graphic novel…it was more an 80-page Giant or such.

Publish this as-is today and I’d be rather disappointed. But looking at it as a singular piece, and in context of its time, it’s not bad, and makes for a fairly interesting sort of read.

Tales of the TMNT #69 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: Dark Shadows

Shadow seeks out her old sensei as her world falls apart around her.

talesofthetmnt069Script/Art: Dan Berger
Letters: Eric Talbot
Frontiespiece: Michael Dooney
Cover: Dan Berger and Steve Lavigne
Published by: Mirage PUblishing

Continuing the usual format of the book–with stories from all different points in the TMNT timeline–this story picks up sometime in the future. Shadow, now a young adult, fights her way through the Foot to confront her Sensei. Upon reaching him, the two exchange bitter words as hints abound as to some major stuff having gone down, leading this girl and a mutant turtle to the point they find themselves at in this issue.

In many ways, the story is quite cliche. We have an enormous global disaster that leads to the in-story “present” being a sparsely populated wasteland with the Big City nearly deserted, and what remains of destroyed/fallen-apart buildings is covered in plants, with survivors operating on a fairly gang-like means of living…survival of the fit.

We’re given vague glimpses at things–cryptic comments and hints at what’s gone down during the time between this issue and the last chronicled point in the Turtles’ timeline; the family falling apart and what drove them–and kept them–apart.

The art itself seems both familiar and yet slightly “off”–as a story that seems pretty core to the TMNT mythos, I’m used to seeing Jim Lawson‘s depiction of characters here. Berger provides visuals that are not entirely dissimilar to Lawson‘s, and more than holds its own in establishing a tone for the story and getting across what’s going on. He gives us a rather brutal panel toward the end, that seems to indicate that a certain disfigurement is practically a “given” for a particular turtle, as I’m pretty sure this is the third time (across the various comic continuities/universes) this has been a point the character’s wound up.

Shadow is pretty much the youngest of the extended TMNT cast. She was introduced in the final story of the original TMNT series, and has been a firm fixture ever since–on a level very similar to her father Casey and characters like April or Splinter. Seeing her as an adult lends to the fact of much time having passed, and experiencing the world through her eyes–glancing back to events that have unfolded particularly in the main “Volume 4” TMNT series–makes her “present” that much more real and believable in this story.

This is only the penultimate issue–there’s one more to go–of this series. But the way this issue unfolded, we get a sense of history for the characters; a sense of destination for where they’re going to wind up, and yet there’s also a sense of hope, that the future is ever-changing with every choice we make.

The initial read-through is quick, particularly with the action sequences…but sitting back and thinking about what was going on…this is very much an issue for the long-time fans, and particularly those willing to consider deeper stuff between the lines and not simply taking the story at its surface/face-value.

Not exactly a timeless classic or other “instant classic,” nevertheless, this issue would serve as a fine cap to the entire Mirage continuity even if there were no more issues due out.

Ratings:

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Tales of the TMNT #67 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: Schooled

Shadow starts at a new school, and must resist the urge to tell everybody about her mutant “uncles.”

talesofthetmnt067Script: Dan Berger
Pencils and Tones: Dario Brizuela
Inks: Andres Ponce
Letters: Eric Talbot
Cover: Dario Brizuela and Steve Lavigne
Frontispiece: Michael Dooney
Published by: Mirage Publishing

Unfortunately, this series has what I can only describe as a “lame duck” feeling about it. There are just a couple more issues due out before the series goes away completely. And being the sole presence of the TMNT in comics for the last few years, there are no other books for these characters to show up in, or co-feature in, and so on. With the property having been sold off, and zero word on any new comic series and whether any of the existing/ongoing continuity would be maintained or if the entire property would be restarted if comics are done…it makes the long-term effect of this issue seem pretty low-key and like it has little point to it. Of course, taken by itself, this is quite an enjoyable story.

This issue sees Shadow–the adopted daughter of Casey Jones and April–getting into a new school, and everyone dealing with that. At the same time, Mikey and Don are out and about on the streets, keeping each other focused as to what’s right and wrong. When Shadow’s first day at school arrives, her family is excited and proud, though they warn her of the danger that would come by her talking about her “uncles” and whatnot…which of course leads to trouble. Still, the resolution is mostly satisfying…at least in keeping with the nature of Casey in particular.

I’ve realized throughout this series that despite the differences in the various visual styles of the artists involved, each largely has something to really like. For example, this issue reminds me of the recent TMNT animated series–particularly Casey’s appearance. The turtles themselves look quite different in detail but still seem like they’d fit in rather well with the animated series’ visual style. My only real gripe is that I don’t think I’ve ever pictured Shadow as a blonde–and I don’t know if that’s me simply never noticing, or what the deal is–but other than that, the art’s good stuff.

As with many issues of this series, this is a done-in-one tale, so you don’t really need earlier issues to follow the story (though they’ll add plenty of context). You can pick this up by itself and enjoy it as a one-shot thing, or as another untold tale from this period in the Turtles’ lives.

It’s just unfortunate that this doesn’t seem like just the latest untold tale to add context to a present-day story…nothing’s really going to come of this or refer back to this.

Recommended for TMNT fans in particular…and whether this issue or most of the prior issues, this series in itself is well worth reading, and its lengthy run these past 6 years is second only to the TMNT Adventures series from Archie back in the 1990s.

Ratings:

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Tales of the TMNT #64 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: The Burning Man

The turtles race all over the city to deal with a number of threats, and ultimately, a demon-from-a-bottle released in a botched attempt to stop the Foot from stealing its container.

talesofthetmnt064Script: Tristan Jones
Pencils: Jim Lawson
Inks: Steve Lavigne
Letters: Dan Berger
Cover: Jim Lawson & Steve Lavigne
Frontispiece: Michael Dooney
Editor in Chief: Peter Laird
Managing Editor: Dan Berger
Design: Eric Talbot
Published by: Mirage Publishing

Michelangelo narrates this issue, as we find out that he and his brothers wound up fighting some sort of demon. This demon was released after Leonardo accidentally broke an urn the Foot was trying to steal. We go from the turtles’ lair as Leo chews Mikey out for stuff going wrong; then see Mikey’s side to things. With the urn broken and the demon having disappeared, there wasn’t much for the turtles to do, so they went about usual business; these distractions led to Mikey being the one to come across the demon again first, and thus Mikey confronts it alone. The others are brought into things in their own way, as the motivation of the demon is determined and attended to. While Mikey won’t take the blame for everything that went down, we do find out at the end of the issue the one thing that he WILL take responsibility for.

Visually, this is the version of the turtles I tend to enjoy most, and the visual style that I’ve come to primarily associate with them over the past 7-8 years or so. It is a bit stylistic, and detail seems to vary a bit, as dictated by the story and what we’re to focus on as the story progresses.

The story itself is quite good, and I really enjoyed a lot of the verbal and visual cues provided by having the story from Mikey’s point of view. I could almost hear the voice of the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series Mikey recounting these events, and that just made it all the more fun.

Jones has written some of my favorite issues of Tales, and I find it a real shame that this will be his last issue, given the change of ownership of the TMNT property and uncertainty of where things go from here.

This is not a dense book…the story is a nice little done-in-one, mainly focused on Mikey but still involving the other turtles such that it is by no means a solo issue. If you can get the issue, it’s very much worthwhile.

Ratings:

Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Tales of the TMNT #61 [Review]

Quick Rating: Very Good
Story Title: Sometimes They Come Back

While helping to investigate the destruction of several buildings in the city and rising violence of an ongoing gang war, the turtles find more of their past back to haunt them.

talesofthetmnt061Script: Tristan Jones
Art: Andres Ponce
Letters: Eric Talbot
Cover: Andres Ponce & Steve Lavigne
Frontispiece: Michael Dooney
Editor in Chief: Peter Laird
Managing Editor: Dan Berger
Design: Eric Talbot
Publisher: Mirage Publishing

This issue picks up on a story thread that’s been touched on at a few points in recent years. The introduction on the inside front cover provides a quick recap to give context, and then we launch into the story. One of the turtles makes contact with a police detective investigating a collapsed building. As we continue on, the turtles all find pieces of the “puzzle” that comes together in a fairly fast-paced piece of action before quickly winding down as the turtles find themselves facing the small–but terrifyingly plentiful–mousers they’d faced years ago.

It might just be the immediacy of having just read the issue, with its enjoyment fresh in my mind…but this is one of the most enjoyable TMNT reads I’ve had in awhile. Jones builds a story that is both fresh and yet drawn from existing continuity. The result is that the reader is provided not just a peek into a random moment in the turtles’ lives, but a growing story, and (dare I say it) continuity within the “gap” presented when TMNT vol. 4 launched nearly 8 years ago.

The story moves at a pretty quick pace…in some ways, I’d certainly like to see more build, as we do largely just get snippets of stuff as the scenes move along from one turtle to another with the occasional moment from the police throughout. At the same time, the story in this one issue could probably be stretched to at least 2 and maybe 3 issues without feeling padded…but rather than have to buy 3 issues, we get the entirety of the given story right here. Reading through the issue, I get a distinct feel of the turtles being older and rather independent (no Splinter found nor referenced), and the way they’re shown interacting throughout the issue shows where they’ve grown up from the earliest TMNT issues.

Ponce‘s art gives me the impression much of this book takes place at night–there’s a certain feel to the imagery with shadows and overall tone giving that feeling. Unlike a lot of other black-and-white books, where the art looks like it’s ready for color, here it almost appears to have been done in color and printed in greytones. The overall style puts me in mind of the animated series–this certainly does not duplicate that series’ style, but is somewhat similar, and that works very well for me here, as I can easily see the action of this issue being animated.

Probably because this issue is the latest of a several-part ongoing “arc,” newer readers may not get much from this. I think this issue is more for longer-time readers (whether just of this volume of Tales of the TMNT, or going back to the 1990s or even the mid-80s when the turtles first appeared). As one of those longtime readers, this issue was a blast, and very much worth its price.

Ratings:

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

%d bloggers like this: