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TMNT Revisited: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #13


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 #11


tmntadventures011White Light

Script: Dean Clarrain
Pencils: Jim Lawson
Inks & Letters: Gary Fields
Colors: Barry Grossman
Cover: Ken Mitchroney, Steve Lavigne
Editors: Scott Fulop, Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: June 1990
Cover Price: $1.00

The issue begins with Bebop and Rocksteady, who’ve been trapped in the rubble from the cave-in back in #9. While they contemplate hunger and a weird smell (that neither will claim credit for) a white light shines and several figures emerge, before the scene shifts to the turtles noticing the abundance of rats. They find themselves “herded”  to a figure named Ha’ntaan, who calls himself the Rat King and claims anywhere a rat is found as part of his kingdom. Getting by without particular conflict, the turtles continue their search for Shredder and soon find a trail of chemicals and wastes in the waterflow of the sewer, finding their way to a giant Foot Soldier robot guarding something. Said something turns out to be a trap as the turtles are captured by the figures that Bebop and Rocksteady saw at the beginning of the issue. These figures are a group of aliens called the Sons of Silence, and apparently are working with Krang (and by extension, Shredder). While the villains celebrate their pending victory over their enemies, the scene is observed through the Turnstone by Mary Bones…who decides her time on Earth is at an end and drops the disguise. She uses the Turnstone to rescue the turtles, while Krang & Co. head back to Dimension X in a modified-into-a-spaceship Technodrome.

There’s something a little bit “off” with this issue’s visuals. We’re on a Lawson issue, but there’s something to this issue that made me think it was someone else. I can’t really complain too much as the art’s far from bad, but as I’ve come to really like Mitchroney‘s art on this version of the turtles, I’m less impressed with Lawson‘s. There are a couple panels that I do really like, of Raph amidst the rats, where the rats themselves are quite expressive and I actually felt for the little critters. Despite being a bit “off,” the art isn’t bad, and everyone’s recognizable and everything is gotten across that needs to be for my enjoyment of the story.

The story itself is back to what I consider a bit more of the “mythology” of the series, with things coming together toward the “Final Conflict.” While I mention in my summary above Mary Bones “rescuing” the turtles, I suppose we don’t know for sure that that’s what she’s done, only that she’s removed them from Krang and the Sons of Silence. These Sons are not mutants–or don’t appear to be–and with Mary Bones’ reference to them, she knows of them and they seem thus to be aliens, perhaps from Dimension X.

I remember this issue being one of the hardest of the early issues for me to track down, though I can’t honestly remember WHEN I finally managed to do so, nor where I found it…whether it was an issue I found somewhere in-person or if it’s one of a handful I acquired via eBay in the early 2000s while I was in college. I’d known OF the Rat King from the action figure and cartoon, and thanks to stuff like Wizard and whatnot knew he’d been in this issue, #11…but even much as I remember other characters and what became of them in this series, this issue felt like a brand-new read, as if I hadn’t read it before. That, and a slight bit of deja vu in “memory” regarding a couple panels.

I’m a little disappointed there wasn’t MORE to the Rat King himself, what he’s about, an origin, etc., in this issue…but as I believe he’s a Mirage character that was carried over into this title, it’s a bit different than characters created by the guys working on this book. The character is a bit of a dim spot for me, knowing I’ve seen the character in the Mirage vol. 4 books and I believe also during City at War.

If I’m recalling correctly, this issue is sort of a “bridge” between the “development” issues and the issues where a number of these characters–the “mutants of the month”–come back into play. Reflecting at present, it’s occurred to me that it’s much like a tv season, with The Final Conflict serving as the end of this “first season” of TMNT Adventures.

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