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TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #13

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventures013The Final Conflict

Plot: Dean Clarrain & Ryan Brown
Script: Dean Clarrain
Pencils: Ken Mitchroney
Clean-Ups: Buz McKim
Inks: Dan Berger
Letters: Gary Fields
Colors: Barry Grossman
Cover: Steve Lavigne, Ken Mitchroney
Edits: Scott Fulop, Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: August 1990
Cover Price: $1.00

Anymore, a thirteenth issue would seem a bit more special than it was even made out to be in the ’90s. Twelve issues is typically a single year, and a fairly standard-ish length for a “maxi-series” or such. Thirteen begins the second year of publishing, meaning a book has lasted past that first year. Of course, the TMNT Adventures book started out roughly bimonthly before eventually moving to a monthly schedule, so 13 isn’t all that significant…except that (sure, it’s a “stretch”) a lot of non-basic-network tv shows seem to be 13 episodes to a season/series, and I really like the analogy and have come to stick with the notion of looking at this comic series as a progression of “seasons.”

This is a “fun” issue…and certainly not the most standard of things the way it opens. Despite the cliffhanger of the previous issue–the turtles and their allies surrounded by Maligna’s insectoids–we spend the first several pages of this issue with Stump and Sling (the Intergalactic Wrestling promotors/hosts) going live with a broadcast, filling their viewers in on recent events (basically, TMNT Adventures #12), clarifying who the “players” are, and then throwing us (the reader/viewers) into the action.

While fighting the warrior children of Maligna, the turtles and allies realize that they’re being filmed…they’d agreed to another wrestling match for Stump, but rather than a repeat of the previous time it seems they’ve actually agreed to be filmed fighting for the Turnstone. Wingnut and Screwloose take off, though they wind up getting to make trouble for Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady. Leonardo and Trap find they have different notions of what works in battle, and Leatherhead finds himself hurled out of the arena in what turns out to be a fortuitous–if not predestined–turn of events. Maligna’s warriors are defeated, though Krang blasts the arena, scattering the victors before taking off. Meanwhile, Leatherhead finds the Turnstone, and manages to summon Cherubae. Seeking answers, he asks her WHY she transformed him, and she suggests that it was to ensure he’d be here, to be in the right place at the right time to get the Turnstone before Krang.

Leatherhead hands the Turnstone off to her, and she brings the conflict to an immediate end, banishing the villains and arranging for everyone to return to where they’re going…as well as ensuring the Turnstone will cause no further problems.

This is another Mitchroney-art issue, which I have no problem with. I definitely appreciate his designs for the characters, and I like the look. This also adds a consistency carrying over from the previous issue, giving a little bit more of a unified whole to the story than “just” a couple of single issues that happen to carry a continuation of story.

The story itself–the writing–for me is probably at its best so far, as we’ve gone from “mutant of the month” to a more unified continuity involving characters beyond just the four turtles. We wouldn’t have the characters we do here if there hadn’t been some of those “mutant of the month” issues and foundations put down, though. The previous issue suggested a difference in Bebop and Rocksteady from their cartoon counterparts (and even from the earlier issues of this series that adapted episodes from the cartoon). This issue does what it seemed the cartoon would never do (I know it sort of did eventually): resolve Krang, Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady’s story, taking them off the board.

Bebop and Rockstead are sent to a world of animals where they can “run free” amongst ’em…and their reaction seems to confirm that in this continuity, they ARE mutated animals rather than mutated humans. Shredder is sent to prison–presumably the Turnstone’s nudged reality to account for the logical process of having Oroku Saki behind bars and not cut loose the moment someone realizes there’s a random extra person amidst their prison population. And Krang is banished to a toxic waste dump world. Thus, without KILLING any of them, these primary antagonists known from the cartoon are effectively removed from their place of threat, leaving the board clear for the turtles to move on without constantly facing these four.

And that’s certainly another thing I enjoyed here–getting to see a resolution, much as a season finale, combined with the fact that I do know what’s to come, and that the turtles get plenty of adventures NOT involving Shredder being a problem.

This certainly could have served as a series finale, but thankfully the book continues, as we really get to see more development of these characters’ world while learning of the real world at the same time. Though this series is collected in primarily 4-issue chunks at present (and in the ’90s 3-issue chunks), it’d be great to see a larger collected volume with the 9 post-cartoon-adaptation issues thus far as a single piece.

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.

TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures #6

tmntadventures006

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

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