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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.

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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!

The ’90s Revisited: Silver Surfer #45

90srevisited

silversurfer045Thanos vs. Mephisto

Writer: Jim Starlin
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Tom Christopher
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Colorist: Tom Vincent
Cover: Ron Lim, Tom Christopher
Editor: Craig Anderson
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: January 1991
Cover Price: $1.00

This is an issue of Silver Surfer. That’s the series, the title, that’s the logo on the cover. But…the cover belongs to Thanos and Mephisto…there’s no attempt whatsoever to have the title character–the Surfer himself–worked into the cover image. There’s a square box that has no pretension of some callout or "burst" hyping something: it states simply The Boys are Back! and we see a stoic, confident Thanos "posed" for the image with a sorta creepy, up-to-no-good Mephisto putting an arm around him. This image alone evokes plenty of thoughts and depth…surface stuff and far deeper, should one wish to hyperanalyze.

The cover belongs to these two…as does the interior. The Surfer has fallen (in the previous issue, I’d assume…it’s been well over a decade since I last would have read this run) and he and the Destroyer (Drax) lay lifeless at Thanos’ feet–their souls having been sucked into the Soul Gem. Other than the opening full-page shot and barely a reference in a subsequent panel and then a small panel at the very end of the issue reminding us of their existence–we don’t see Surfer or the Destroyer in the rest of the issue. And while this is a Silver Surfer issue…that does not bother me in the slightest, particularly having bought this for a quarter, because of the cover…and TRULY getting exactly what I wanted, what I expected out of the issue: Thanos and Mephisto. That’s what the cover promised, and that’s what was delivered.

Thanos has assembled his Infinity Gauntlet, having completed his quest to gather the Infinity Stones. The two beings who sought to stop him–the Silver Surfer and Drax, the Destroyer–have been defeated. Mephisto takes this opportunity to step him, pledging himself to Thanos, master of all. Along with doing so, he goads Thanos on, suggesting the greatness he can yet attain, if he reaches out with his infinite power to touch every living/sentient mind in the Universe. Thanos does so, and Mephisto’s ulterior motive is revealed: to steal the Gauntlet for himself. Of course, it turns out that Thanos was prepared for this, and puts Mephisto in his place, wherein the two come to an agreement about How Things Will Be…and we again see the lifeless forms of Surfer and Drax as Thanos considers the notion of there remaining any who could possibly be a threat to his plans.

This issue falls right in the midst of all the lead-up to The Infinity Gauntlet (1991), though unfortunately it does not seem to be part of the Silver Surfer: The Rebirth of Thanos collected volume. (I’m actually not sure if this has been collected anywhere at the moment?) And the cover–basic though it is (a simple greenish turquoise background with the two characters and then the usual cover dress)–just hit the right nostalgia button for me.

Starlin‘s writing here is spot-on for me; I so associate him with this material–this run on Silver Surfer, all his stuff on Thanos heading into and then during the core Infinity Gauntlet and so on–that this is essentially a "perfect" comic. This is Thanos as I appreciate the character, like the character, and simply reading this issue leaves me anxious to re-read this whole run of the title. As Thanos’ creator, Starlin gets a "pass" from me: what he says goes, and if he’s writing Thanos, then to me…that IS Thanos.

Lim‘s art is absolutely fantastic and iconic in itself to me…as depicted in this issue, this simply IS Thanos. The costume, the shadowed eyes, the star-flare in the eyes, whatever details I notice just works for me and seems perfect.

I already "know" this period of the comics; I know stuff before, after, and am certain I’ve read this before, so reading this is a true revisiting for me; like taking a cherished, favorite book and spending a few minutes re-reading a short selection. That’s probably why despite this chunk of story being right in the middle of the lead-up to Infinity Gauntlet, I so thoroughly enjoyed it as a single issue.

This issue is well worth grabbing, particularly as a bargain-bin issue…and especially if it’s truly not reprinted anywhere as yet. It’s a great middle piece between what you’ll find in Silver Surfer: The Rebirth of Thanos tpb and the Infinity Gauntlet.

TMNT Revisited: The Ads of TMNT Adventures 1-4

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The Ads of TMNT Adventures #s 1-4

TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures #4

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #4

TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures #3

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #3

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