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NECA 1/4 Scale Raphael: Finally!

Right about a year ago, back in early February 2018, I had decided that I was going to “give in” and actually spend the money to get one of the NECA 1/4 scale TMNT figures based on the 1990 film.

Then the company I was working for decided that due to “lack of business” I was “expendable” and laid me off, so I put the big, singular purchasing on hold.

Reemployed for some time now, I decided to give it another shot, and managed to successfully order the Raphael figure, as my favorite of the turtles in that movie!

quarter_scale_raph_box_front

The box is huge…I remembered these being large, having seen the Leonardo in a store in late 2017, and the Trenchcoat Raph at a convention last spring. But after so much time, I’d forgotten just how large it was…despite knowing the figure itself is quite a size!

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The sides of the box both show a closeup of Raph’s face as well as a full-body shot.

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The back shows several images of Raph, as well as a group shot of all four turtles, and a brief blurb about the figure.

quarter_scale_raph_front

Here’s the figure out of its packaging. As I opened it, I caught myself thinking about how some figures anymore, I may hesitate to take out of the packaging; whereas this one, I opened the mailing box and basically kept right on going to get the figure itself out–no hesitation or thought of leaving it in the box for display or such! My intent for getting the figure was/is to have it “loose” and displayable!

quarter_scale_raph_back

And here’s the figure from the back. I don’t know WHAT it is about it, but I absolutely love the detail in the shell! I’ve always dug the shells for the movie turtles, and at this size, the detail is incredible!

quarter_scale_raph_height

Though the box and marketing suggests the figure as 16.5″ he seems to be closer to the 17″ mark. Some of that may be the angles–as you can do some amazing stuff with size and angles. But while the technical specification might be 16.5″ I’m comfortable considering this a 17″ figure!

quarter_scale_raph_pizza

The figure arrived on Friday the 8th; and with virtually any given day of the year being some sort of made-up “holiday” or such, Saturday the 9th was some sort of “PIzza Day.” We had some work being done on the house, and took advantage of a “Pizza Day” sale from Hungry Howie’s for everyone. I couldn’t resist taking a photo like this, as the figure was already standing on the table the pizza was on!

quarter_scale_raph_size

And for immediate scale, here’s the Raphael in a temporary spot near my “regular figures” display shelves…you could put a figure on Krang’s Android Body‘s shoulders and it still would not be quite as tall!

While the size of this figure is getting a bit “normalized” to me after seeing it as I have now…initially getting and opening it really impressed me!

And speaking of being impressed…I’m really extremely impressed with the detail of this thing. Compared to other figures purportedly based on the film, this seems like something out of Last Action Hero like someone reached into a screen and pulled the actual character out, frozen in a fraction of a moment of time!

Against bare wall backgrounds or mailing boxes or shelves with other figures, this is obviously “just” a large figure. But the detailing/style is such that with a darker background, by itself and nothing particularly distinguishing in the background for its actual scale…one could really take this and create/recreate lifelike images to rival the original 1990 film!

In fact, nowadays, it seems to me that it’s hard to simply “google” the film and not have to guess at thumbnails–is it a promotional image from nearly 30 years ago, or a well-staged photo of one of these figures?

I honestly cannot even imagine a better figure, short of some sort of just-as-sturdy rubbery texture and a malleability to the material it’s built from! And the figure itself is heavy–the packaging was thin tagboard for the box, just enough plastic inside to hold the figure and accessories; but my shipping notice suggested the entire package was around 8 pounds!

I told myself that if I was just getting one, I was going to get Raphael. I’m very interested in the others, and there’s a Shredder coming later this year, I believe!

A lot of what I tend to buy–toys, comics, whatever–tend to be fairly “immediate-gratification” and “impulse” buys. A lot that I consider getting, if I don’t get it right away tends to go “out of sight, out of mind” overall. This one, though, has been at least in the back of my mind for over a year, and certainly one of my most-anticipated “frivolous” purchases ever. AND despite having that year-plus to build up expectations and such..I can honestly say that I REALLY like the figure and am NOT disappointed in my purchase nor the figure itself!

My only real reservation regarding the figure is stories I’ve read online about the figures (eventually) keeling over and doing damaging shelf-dives; and have confirmed for myself that once a decent bit of pressure is applied to pushe the figure forward, it will pretty easily tip. So I’m going to be looking for some sort of stand or such to hopefully shore up the figure’s long-term stability without sacrificing it’s amazing appearance.

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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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New Rise of the TMNT Figures are Out

For the first time in over six years…there’s a new "main" line of TMNT toys out.

BEING that it is the Ninja Turtles–my core "exception" on stuff in comics–that bleeds a bit into the toys.

I’m not a fan of Rise of the TMNT. I was NEVER the best at "keeping up" with the 2012 animated series–nor ANY animated series, PERIOD, in the last 15 years or so, no matter how much I love the series itself. But I’ve always HATED the "optics" of Rise–namely, that the 2012 series was flat-out cancelled TO MAKE WAY FOR this new series. Whether that was actually the case or not, I don’t know–but it’s certainly how I FEEL on the thing.

I watched the first episode some time back now, it was "free"–and while it wasn’t as "bad" as I’d expected (perhaps my view has softened since I watched it), I did not like it, and I really do not like a number of elements from it, particularly the character designs.

But somewhere along the way, I got it into my head that when the new toys came out, I’d probably "at least" try getting Raphael. "Traditionally" Leonardo was always my favorite of the turtles, and the one I’d claim as a kid and growing up. But over the last 10-15 years, I’ve found a newer preference for Raphael.

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_raph_front

So I did indeed go ahead and get Raphael, finding the figure available this weekend at a local-ish Walmart.

And on the surface, the figure itself doesn’t look totally horrid or such…this one, at least, actually more or less looks like a decent TMNT figure, albeit the character does not come with the sais that have been associated with this character for 34 years. But the "new/different weapons" thing is a whole other matter I’m not getting much into right now.

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_raph_back

The back of the figure is more or less what I would expect, if slightly more basic-looking. The bulk of the back is the "profile" of the character. It makes sense of course, for that to dominate…it just seems almost "too" dominant to me. With a new series, new toy line, I’d somewhat expect the part showing the figures available in this first wave to be a bit bigger, to better emphasize and show off THAT there are other figures!

Even so, I’m not enamored with most of these other figures as shown. Leonardo is dominated by the giant sword and seems scrawny; as does Donatello with a more proportionate staff weapon; and Michelangelo also seems rather scrawny for a Ninja Turtle.

I’ll be curious about Splinter as he looks rather small, but could be interesting.

This is the first "main" TMNT toy line that I’m aware of that has NOT included a Shredder in its premiere wave. On one hand, that’s a bit refreshing; on the other–and in context of these toys–I find it rather lame.

The butcher character might be interesting for size…it looks like a nice, bulky character that’ll at least be worth its price for that bulk; where the ninja doesn’t look like it’ll even stand on its own.

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_raph_profile

As a TMNT guy, as a collector…not having a Shredder and not having any Foot ninjas does this line a real disservice. I’m not invested in any of the villains…and with neither Shredder nor Foot, there’s not even the notion of having a new version to "match up with" the previous versions.

I’m reluctant on the other turtles, but have NOT ruled out the idea with myself that I’ll get the other turtles and Splinter to at least have the "set."

I appreciate the idea of having new characters and NOT merely regurgitating the past. That said…I’m NOT invested in the new show. I’m not invested in the particular new characters. I may get the other three turtles and Splinter–at least eventually–but I don’t really see getting much into this iteration of the toy line.

I could wind up eating those words, though.

Time will tell.

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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…)

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My All-Star TMNT Team-Up

When it comes to DC and Marvel, I don’t think I really have much of anything interesting to add by way of teams I’d like to see. So when going with the idea of talking about "my" Justice League, I found my mind going back to the TMNT, as well as Avengers Forever. This may be a bit more Avengers Forever than Justice League, but we’ll see what I wind up with!

splinter_1980sAs there have been numerous iterations of the TMNT and related properties, I’d be very interested in seeing interactions between them, for something a bit longer than a ~70 minute movie or ~24 minute cartoon episode. I also think that with a team book–such as Justice League–one of the big appealing factors is getting a bunch of heroes in one place and seeing how they interact, and how interactions play off of (and/or into) stuff going on with the individual titles.

So if I was gonna create some sort of Justice League-style group/book/story, I’d gravitate toward the TMNT. And I’d want to pull in characters from different iterations–for nostalgia, and for there being all sorts of story potential spinning off of each character involved, going back into their own "universe" or "time" or whatever. And I’d see something like this–for my part–as a limited, finite thing…at most, maybe 12-18 issues…though with pulling the characters in and potential for "Easter eggs" and other references and such, as a fan I’d probably feel 6 issues to be too few to do the idea much justice (no pun intended).

leo_miragecomicsI’d start out with the 1980s cartoon version of Splinter. This version brings together the mutant rat and the human Hamato Yoshi; it gives us a human background with the mutant/animal present; and there’s just something to the heart of this version of the character that I’ve seen at times that I have not gotten the same way in other versions!

Along with this Splinter, I would want to use the original Mirage iteration of Leonardo, and would pull him from later in the "Volume Four" run of the comics, where he’s in his 30s…he’d be a sort of senior leader of the group, with more experience and such, and it’d be interesting to see this older Leo interact with a version of Splinter; and see how they’d get along, and how their relationship would be, this Leo having recently lost his Splinter, and this Splinter never having had a son so badly injured by the Foot, nor having executed a Shredder.

mikey_2003I’d pull in the 2003 cartoon Mikey, to be the "heart" of the team in general, as well as a lighter side to stuff. He’d certainly bug the heck outta some of the characters, but he’d be thrilled to be interacting with brothers/Splinter from alternate universes and such, and to be part of a "league" of his fellows, playing any sort of overt hero role!

For Raphael, I’d pull in the 1990 movie version. This one would, to me, have similar "heart" but displayed in a different way. He’s short-tempered, darned good at what he does, plenty of room to grow, and experienced his share of tragedy and triumph. It would also be interesting to see him play raph_1990movieoff of Leonardo, with the two having a shared experience in their past–Raph more recently, Leo half or more a lifetime ago–of being beaten within an inch of their lives by the Foot. This Raph would likely be quickly annoyed by Mikey, and cautious of Splinter, and certainly butt heads with Leo.

I’d get the IDW Donatello present-day; in a way, this would be "the" connection to ongoing continuity. And come to think of it, he would also have that "grievous injury" in common with Raph and Leo; but I see this Donnie getting along well with Mikey, if being a bit more serious.

Rounding the group out a bit, I’d get the Archie version of April from later in the TMNT Adventures series–where she’s had training from Splinter, has a katana, and is not going to be surprised or overly "green" in dealing with the turtles’ world (or this case, worlds plural!).

donatello_idwAnd it’d be rather interesting to somehow involve Miyamoto Usagi. He’d already be time-displaced anyway, but he’d actually have ties of his own to several of these characters. I’d likely want to go with the "comics version" of the character, to be his own thing, rather than pulled from the ’80s or 2003 cartoons; though I suppose this would quasi-double-dip with IDW Donnie, given last year’s crossover issue. "Everyone" would be better able to identify with him, I think, in being out of place/knowing these are different versions of individuals they know.

archie_aprilAnd of course, if all of these are brought together, there’d be potential for others–such as from the 2012 cartoon or the 2014 film franchise–to be brought in at some point, if only to cameo.

I don’t know what would bring them together, exactly–perhaps Renet (cliché as that would be) bouncing around in time accumulating representatives from the various timelines to combat some threat. And what would that threat be? We’ve already seen the 2003 cartoon’s Shredder try to destroy the Turtle-multiverse; and we’ve seen ’80s cartoon Shredder and Krang interact with the 2012 series. And frankly, I do get kinda tired of Shredder all the time.

usagi_miyamoto_usagiPerhaps reality has been fractured, hence all these different versions of the characters. And so they come together to learn OF each other, and see different ways their lives could have gone, and learn to appreciate different aspects of one another. Perhaps in the course of this, have some further time-hopping go on. This group is "bound" together someway–maybe a new, future Donatello has created a device that Renet brings, providing all with a technological tether–some sort of armband or anklet or such–that keeps them together and helps them move through time/space without mucking up the timelines.

And eventually, cheesy as it is, they come to see an essence of family that they all share–here with each other, and their family "back home," and maybe get sorta "meta" and let things resolve back to the current IDW universe, as it already seems to draw "elements" from various other iterations…we could see the characters from the other actual continuities somehow dispersed back, and though they may not be the "main" timeline, they know that they’ve influenced a timeline.


I may well have to expand on this idea someday. In fact, I almost certainly will need to, given this largely being a short-term, off-the-cuff brainstorming. Obviously there’s a lot more detail I’d have to work out, specific story, even specific villain/antagonist/etc.


#DIYJusticeLeague

Fellow bloggers’ posts on this same theme (My post you just read was a last-second throw-together to partake in a fun group-prompt!) In no particular order, check out everyone’s posts, and even dig back through older posts. Everyone’s got great stuff–on this DIY Justice League theme, as well as their individual "blog missions", and loads of great content!


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TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #22

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures022Rat Trap

Script: Dean Clarrain
Art: Gene Colan
Letters: Gary Fields
Colors: Barry Grossman
Cover: Gene Colan, Steve Lavigne
Edits: Scott Fulop, Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: July 1991
Cover Price: $1.25

I imagine it’s just a typo and a missed error, taking stuff for granted…but reading through this issue I was really taken aback by a panel with Shredder addressing Splinter as Hamata Yoshi…rather than the long-established Hamato Yoshi. Were the letters upper/lowercase I’d wonder if it was a case of faded or blurred ink or such, an ‘o’ coming to look like an ‘a’, but the all-caps nature makes the ‘A’ pretty darned distinct from an ‘O’. And I suppose if one’s working with the material all the time, stuff will come to be taken for granted, though I’m not sure if the blame here lies entirely with the writer or letterer, though I’d share blame across both and the editing team for missing the spelling of a primary character’s name.

That all said, this isn’t a bad issue on the whole, though it feels–again–rather generic in the larger scope of things.

We open with a recap of the last few issues, bringing us to Leo, Mikey, April, and Splinter barging into a trap laid by the Shredder, though it’s essentially “we know it’s a trap” and “he knows we know it’s a trap” and “we’re going in anyway because we have to” and “he knew we’d have to and would” and…yeah. So ultimately we wind up with a Shredder/Splinter battle, and just when it seems Shredder’s about to win, a new figure bursts onto the scene and pretty much defeats Shredder…though the figure is revealed to be Raphael, back (without Mondo Gecko) from stopping the alien invasion. The group’s joyful reunion is short lived as they soon notice that Shredder has escaped. But hey, at least the group is back together.

Despite–or perhaps because of–the Shredder’s presence and involvement, this feels like a weaker, generic story to me. I don’t care for the character, and at least for my contemporary 2016 sensibilities being applied to 25-year-old writing geared toward a different age range, I don’t like the lack of explanation of Shredder’s escape, nor having had any foreshadowing whatsoever to his return. This is probably all the more frustrating to me as a reader now because of my high regard and rose-tinted lenses “memory” of all the numerous subplots I tend to think comics used to carry that would weave in and out of “major plot point” status.

Simply AS a TMNT story, in the established continuity, this works, especially with Splinter’s continued active involvement over sitting at home waiting all the time. I know what comes later in the series, so like with the lead-up to the Mutanimals stuff, I’m eager to get to the next several issues for personal reasons, so forcing myself to slow down for an issue like this holds added disappointment.

We again have a different artist on the book…Gene Colan. Unlike some of the other “fill-in artists,” this is a name I recognize (and having paused for a few moments to look up and confirm where I know the name from, I’m even more impressed, as Colan was involved in a lot of early Marvel work). The visual style is similar to earlier presentations of these characters, but different enough to notice that there’s a difference. I appreciate Colan‘s Shredder more than the other characters, and once again also appreciate the coloring, which maintains that much more consistency despite different artists, in a way that I’m sure would be a far more jarring shift issue to issue otherwise.

While I don’t remember for certain on #21 (last issue), I’m pretty sure I remember finding this issue at the same flea market I found #17. Whether this was before or after I’d gotten #25 I’m not 100% but this cover stirs some bit of abstract memory in that regard, to my 10-year-old self starting to figure out comics and the first bits of specifically looking for what I now know as “back issues.”

I hold that this is another issue that could easily be skipped…really, though I’m glad the Mutanimals got their own spin-off stuff, the Mighty Mutanimals mini-series would have worked just fine for me within the TMNT Adventures series even if it meant three months of no Splinter, April, or Leo/Donnie/Mikey.

TMNT Revisited: Mighty Mutanimals (mini-series) #3

tmnt_adventures_revisited

mightymutanimalsmini003Ride of the Ruthless!

Script: Dean Clarrain
Pencils: Ken Mitchroney
Inks: Mike Kazaleh, Brian Thomas
Letters: Gary Fields
Colors: Barry Grossman
Cover: Steve Lavigne, Ken Michroney
Edits: Scott Fulop, Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: July 1991
Cover Price: $1.25

In classic comics style, we open on a full page split by the issue’s title–Ride of the Ruthless–that starts us where we left off, recapping the end of the previous issue AS we move into this one. On Earth, the Mutanimals fight the malignoids…Cudley carries them to Dimension X as they’re knocked out. On Maligna’s ship, Raph and Mondo Gecko are being drenched in honey to be eaten alive. The ship arrives in the Amazon where the Mutanimals have just defeated the batch of malignoid warriors. Scul and Bean jump into things, while a horde of malignoid ships spew forth from the mothership to terrorize the entire planet. Kid Terra rescues Raph and Mondo, while the Mutanimals defeat Scul and Bean…though they can’t do anything about the army of ships that flew right past them.

Maligna finds the escaping trio, and Kid shoots one of her antennae off, bringing her up short. Should she lose the other, the Hive-Mind will be no more, and that’s far more important to her than the Earth, so she surrenders and recalls her army and leaves Earth. While the Mutanimals, Raph, and Kid take some downtime after their ordeal, we see that Null has escaped as well and thus is still out there. And finally, everything has been broadcast by Stump, likely boosting the ratings quite a bit for this “event.”

Though this is another Mitchroney-penciled issue, we have yet another inking team, giving this issue another varied look from the previous two. It’s not horrible or anything, and Grossman‘s colors provide a bit of consistency within the framework, but it’s noticeable and I’m not entirely thrilled by it. I suspect a large part of the reason for this was to get the job done and the issues out in a timely fashion, as this was running concurrently with the ongoing TMNT Adventures title (specifically issues 20-22, I believe).

The story itself seems to come to a bit to convenient an end and I don’t recall there being any real repercussions explored in terms of this invasion having happened (or at least begun). There’s hardly any mention of being sure that Maligna’s gone for good or even any reason for her to not blast our heroes the moment she’s away from Kid’s guns…and her vow to return when least expected flies in the face of any honor-system for leaving. But that’s certainly the adult me analyzing this where stuff worked just fine as a kid reading the story. Things were epic and huge and important because the characters talk of them being so, and I wasn’t thinking about external factors or ways to apply the story to worldwide real-world sensibilities.

I certainly enjoyed this more as a kid, but appreciate it quite a bit now as an adult. I do look forward to getting back to the main TMNT Adventures issues, but also the return of the Mutanimals in their own book. Raphael guest-starred in this moreso than anything else, I think, to have ‘a Ninja Turtle’ involved to “tie” this to the TMNT for anyone who “had to” have and read anything TMNT-related but who otherwise wouldn’t care about the Mutanimals themselves.

While expanding on and then tying up the “loose end” of Maligna, this series also allowed a great reason for so many strange characters that were previously in drastically different places to be brought together in one place and giving them a “home” outside of individual random guest-appearances. This also allowed for more story in a short span of time, with double the number of TMNTA-continuity issues to be out without double-shipping the main title itself (twenty-some years before “double-shipping” was a “thing” and it was simply standard for a single series to have one issue per month).

All in all, the Mighty Mutanimals mini makes for a good read and I certainly have enjoyed re-visiting this story and period in TMNT history.

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