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TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #7


tmntadventures007Plotted by: Dean Clarrain and Ryan Brown
Written by: Dean Clarrain
Penciled by: Jim Lawson
Inked & Lettered by: Gary Fields
Colored by: Barry Grossman
Cover: Ryan Brown
Editors: Scott Fulop, Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: December 1989
Cover Price: $1.00

Now, this is a trip down memory lane! Unlike contemporary comics that MIGHT have a “previously…” page or some kind of recap…this is absolutely from the days when any given issue might be someone’s first, and acknowledgement would be given to that with exposition catching one up, or some sort of recap. This issue takes a couple pages to recap recent events (TMNT Adventures #s 5 & 6 specifically) right to the final panel of the previous issue, picking up immediately from there.

The turtles are spit out by a cow head, in front of a couple of living tree-figures. We as readers (along with the turtles) are quickly introduced to Stump and Sling (the trees) and Cudley the Cowlick (the cow head). Cudley can travel through space and time, carrying others in his mouth. Stump and Sling run Intergalactic Wrestling from Sump Arena, and they’re presently on Stump Asteroid. The turtles are forced to wrestle an alien named Cryin’ Houn’, while learning that Leatherhead is still alive (also grabbed by Cudley) and he’s facing Ace Duck. The wrestling matches end with the turtles and Leatherhead victorious, and Stump and sling are forced to send the turtles home (Leatherhead elects to stay, feeling he has no place back on Earth). Cudley accidentally returns the turtles first to Earth 100 years in their future (giving them a glimpse of a world ravaged by environmental disaster. Interspersed through the issue we see Shredder getting yelled at by Krang for losing his one connection to the Turnstone, and then of Krang lamenting the situation and getting further frustrated that he tunes in too late to catch the day’s Intergalactic Wrestling match (and thus we as readers see that he just missed learning of the turtles’ and Leatherhead’s involvement).

The art here is pretty good…not exactly my ideal, but it works quite well. I doubt I would have recognized the work as Lawson‘s as it lacks the visual style I’ve gotten accustomed to from his work since the TMNT vol. 4 Mirage run through to present. There’s a definite simplicity to the visuals of the issue–linework as well as coloring–that gives this the definite look and feel of something aimed at kids. That’s not to say it’s bad, just that it differs greatly from the original Mirage series and does not come off as overly detailed. I do like the turtles’ wresting costumes, and offhand they remind me a bit of the “superhero turtles” seen in later Mirage stuff.

The story is also rather simple and straightforward even while introducing a cosmic element to this version of the turtles. Stump and Sling remind me quite a bit of the X-Men’s Mojo, except not nearly so dark/villainous. Cudley’s an interesting figure…weird, yet not a mutant; just an alien…and a bit of a deux ex machina on the space/time travel thing.

The issue continues to add to the world of this take on the turtles, moving yet further away from the cartoon, Mirage comics, and forging its own continuity with its own take on existing characters while introducing characters unique to this series.

I enjoyed the issue, and while a couple details stick with me, I’d forgotten other particulars. I was also very interested to note copyright information in the indicia, differentiating Man Ray, Cryin’ Houn, Turnstone, Mary Bones, Stump, Sling, and Cudley as being creator-owned characters and not Mirage stock. That’s mostly a topic for its own post, but my noticing it here definitely puts that at the forefront of my mind and I’ll be looking for such details in future issues with other characters I recall.

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