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TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #8


tmntadventures008Wild Things

Plotted by: Dean Clarrain and Ryan Brown
Written by: Dean Clarrain
Penciled by: Ken Mitchroney
Inked by: Dan Berger
Colored by: Barry Grossman
Lettered by: Gary Fields
Cover: Steve Lavigne
Edits by: Scott Fulop, Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: February 1990
Cover Price: $1.00

Returned to their proper time, Cudley the Cowlick has left the turtles on top of a building in the middle of a storm. Unbeknownst to any, his previous arrivals had opened a space/time hole that allowed a couple creatures from another dimension to Earth–a large humanoid bat-creature named Wingnut, and a giant mosquito creature named Screwloose. Together, the two have been hurling rocks at skylights, smashing them…and seeing the turtles, lob a rock at them as well. When they fly off, the turtles return to the sewers and home, only to learn that the trouble being stirred up by their new alien encounter.

Despite the storm, an Australian blimp was out and about, giving Wingnut something to pop on tv, prompting the turtles back into action with their own blimp. Which is also popped. Capturing the two, Wingnut cries and Screwloose pokes him, putting him to sleep for a moment. He explains to the turtles how the pair came to be like they are at present…including the fact that they have their own reason to be interested in battling Krang. Before much else can happen, Cudley reappears and takes the two, bound for Stump Asteroid despite the turtles’ questioning the (as they see it) kidnapping. With nothing else to do, the turtles again return home.

There’s something about this issue’s cover that really grabs me. And there’s almost a sense of deja vu or some such. This may have been one of the earliest covers I’d seen for the series, some time before I actually owned a copy myself. A friend had it, so I probably read it at his house, though it would have been a bit out of context. Whether this was before or after I actually “discovered” the series at all, I’m not sure. I don’t think I’ve seen any other covers done as homage to this, so it’s not iconic in that sense…it’s just an image I see that brings back fond memories and makes me smile, no matter how hokey the story itself seems.

I find myself reading the issue, this series, AS an adult. A 34-year-old re-reading comics possibly not read in 20 years, almost certainly not in the last 10-15, with an adult eye amidst reading contemporary TMNT comics from IDW and plenty of other comics certainly not AIMED AT a younger audience the way I believe these were.

So the stories seem rather simplistic and hokey, cheesey, and almost surfacey or shallow. I have no problem with four mutant turtles…but a huge space/time-travelling cow-head and giant humanoid bat with his giant mosquito-buddy give me pause…something’s not quite right with that.

And yet, despite all that…this works. Wingnut and Screwloose flying around breaking windows because surely Krang must be beneath one? That hardly makes sense except as some “out there” elevator pitch. But having recently seen the Turtle Power! documentary and that the entire (Mirage Studios) group was encouraged to contribute character ideas for the toys…this makes sense, and certainly works as a first appearance and initial foundation from which to build later characterization.

Also despite the hokiness, these characters’ background is actually rather deep. It’s glossed over and not particularly graphic, but Krang’s invasion of Huanu is full of potential for expanded story(ies) while working just fine here as a motivational factor for Wingnut and Screwloose, building Krang as that much more an interdimensional/intergalactic threat beyond simply some cliched villain on Earth.

For an 8-year-old, this seems well-paced and such…plenty of action and interaction with characters, giving and showing some detail while not delving terribly deep. “Reading between the lines” and thinking deeper on stuff as an adult, while the story itself is fairly silly, there’s a lot more depth just below the surface and begging for further development.

The art is good, and we’re back to Mitchroney. This issue has the appearance of an early TMNT Adventures issue, as it is, and the visuals get everything across that needs to be (even if not QUITE fitting the dialogue and gratuitous famous-buildings references).

I like the issue overall. Though the issue is #8, functionally it’s #4, and continues the seeming one-off stories throwing new characters into the mix and then being done with them by the end of the issue. As I came in with #25 and then the Winter 1992 collection of the Mighty Mutanimals mini, I never got to have the actual experience of reading these for the first time with no clue of where the characters would wind up…and that’s knowledge I can’t forget, so certainly colors my reading.

One Response

  1. […] various other characters. Thinking back to as early as I can remember, I’m pretty sure that I first encountered these characters in TMNT Adventures #8 that a friend had, where I read their […]

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