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TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #2

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures002Return of the Shredder (part 2 of 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #1

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures001Return of the Shredder (part 1 of 2)

Art and letters by: Dave Garcia
Adapted from Scripts by: Christy Marx and David Wise
Color by: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Cover: Eastman, Laird, Lavigne
Published by: Mirage/Archie
Cover Price: $1.00
Cover Date: March 1989

We begin the issue with Mikey and Leo in a supermarket, doing some casual shopping. A couple of would-be thieves try to hold up the place, but the turtles stop them without any trouble at all. Back home, they wax nostalgic of the workout Shredder’s foot-bots gave them. Meanwhile in Dimension X, Shredder laments his recent defeat and begs Krang to send him back to earth. Tiring of the whining, Krang does so…but sends him alone. To Shredder’s surprise, he’s been left without any of his previous resources, and must make do with himself and anything new he can do.

Still meanwhile, at Channel 6, April’s boss has a new girlfriend who hates turtles, and thus he tries to impress her by pushing an anti-turtle agenda that April (of course) rebels against. Shredder recruits some thugs at a dojo and has them dress in turtle costumes…on the idea that if he turns the citizenry against the turtles, they’ll be forced to come out to defend themselves. Krang disagrees, and maintains his strict notion: Shredder’s on his own until he produces results. We leave off on Shredder musing that he’s left with just one place to turn…

While still rather corny and hokey (and I mostly blame the plot the comic’s creative team had to work with), this is a huge step up from the initial mini-series. While that was cramming nearly an episode and a half into each issue, this series gives the adaptation room to breathe. This entire issue comprises a mere HALF of one single episode.

The story feels a lot more open and a bit more complex as a result of the extra space for pacing. However, the characters all still seem rather surfacey and underdeveloped. If I didn’t already know plenty about them, I’d hardly know one from another. Additionally, April’s coworkers are little more than plot-point gags.

The art has a much different feel to it while maintaining a certain familiarity. The creative team is different from the mini-series, and other than the cover doesn’t seem to be utilizing any names I recognize as being from Mirage. The art isn’t bad, but it’s not wonderful…though I do definitely appreciate the layouts and that we aren’t given a bunch of huge splash panels or full or double-page splashes. This sticks very much to a “typical” comics feel and appearance, just differentiated by the turtles.

All in all, nothing terribly special about the issue–though I definitely like the cover. It’s one of the most “iconic” to me, and to this day it would hold up well as a poster or some oversized print, I think.

This was one of my earliest #1 issues of anything…back when #1s were actually a ‘special’ and significant thing, not something that came around every year or two for the same series again and again. Though I remember this as one of my earliest, I can’t honestly remember where I got this issue–whether it was a $5 issue at Capp’s Comics, or something I found at Comics & Collectibles. And I’m pretty sure I did not get it through American Entertainment–I remember a couple other issues from the mail-order route.

While I’ll get to it when I cover it, I’m actually more inclined to count these earliest issues as a longer mini-series, and see #5 of TMNT Adventures as being the true first issue of the run.

TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures Reprints, part 1

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Full Post at TMNT Revisited

TMNT Adventures: The Reprints, part 2

TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures #2

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Full Post at TMNT Revisited

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #2

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