Saturday, December 20, 2014

Secret Santa

Originally published in: TMNT New Animated Adventures #18
Publication date: December 17, 2014

Story: Matthew K. Manning
Art: Paulina Ganucheau
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow

“Secret Santa”


Christmas is just around the corner, and down in the lair, that means “secret Santa”.  Mikey draws Raph’s name, much to his chagrin, as Raph is impossible to buy gifts for (since he hates everything).  Mikey tries to swap names with his brothers, but Don and Leo won’t budge.

Later, the Turtles are out patrolling Chinatown.  When no trouble can be found (much to Raph's disappointment) they head home.  Along the way, Mikey peeks into the skylight of a warehouse and notices the perfect gift for Raph.

Christmas.  The Turtles exchange gifts: Don gives Leo a mint-on-card ultra-rare Super Robo Mecha Force Five action figure, Raph gives Don a box of high tech scrap he found in a dumpster, Leo gives Mikey a year’s supply of pizza coupons (which will last a month), and Mikey gives Raph… a piece of paper with an address on it.

The Turtles go to the address and Mikey tells Raph to take a peek through the skylight.  Raph does so, becomes absolutely giddy and dives through the window.  The other Turtles decide to take a peek and quickly see why Raph is so elated: It’s a Kraang facility.  As Raph joyously busts Kraangdroid heads, Mikey declares himself the winner of secret Santa.

Turtle Tips:

*The story continues in TMNT New Animated Adventures #19.


This is one of the better one-shot short strips to appear in TMNT New Animated Adventures in a while.  It concerns a dilemma I hadn’t thought about before (what DO you get Raph for Christmas?) and the character pairings were all great matches.  Of course Donatello would get Leo the nerdiest sort of present (that appeals to Leo’s nerdy hobby in this incarnation), and of course Raph would get Don a box of trash he found (which just happens to be what Donatello wanted).  Even the pizza coupons, obvious as they might be, were done with some fun banter between Leo and Mikey.

It was paced really well, had some great payoff and, well, it was just a solid short strip.  Good one on Matthew Manning!

Ganucheau is an artist I don’t think we’ve had before in the book.  She’s got solid fundamentals and emphasizes the “cute”, which is perfectly fitting for this sort of saccharine Christmas comic.  Motion is a little stiff (like the panel of Raph hugging Mikey with glee), but otherwise it isn’t bad.

Overall, I think this was the winner of the issue.

Grade: B (as in, “But perhaps Ganucheau does resort to the Turtles making the ‘awesome face’ a little too much”.)

Deep Below, Part 2

Originally published in: TMNT New Animated Adventures #18
Publication date: December 17, 2014

Story: Landry Q. Walker
Art: Dario Brizuela
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow

“Deep Below, Part 2”


Down in the ruins of the Kraang facility, the Turtles and the evil Foot mutants are going at it.  Leo momentarily calls a truce, insisting that if any of them want to make it out alive, they’ll need to work together.  Tiger Claw is against the idea, since he wants revenge for his not-missing eye, and Raph is against the idea, since he doesn’t trust Leo anymore.  Regardless, Stockman-Fly and Donatello get to work adjusting the Kraang power source to act as a teleporting feedback loop that will get them all to the surface.

Suddenly, a mass of toothy, eyeball-riddled tentacles bursts up from the rising water and attacks.  One of the Kraang’s mutant experiments, Mikey dubs it the “Tentaclops” and the two groups quickly flee.

As they make their way to the highest point in the ruins, both sides reluctantly help the other survive various pitfalls and attacks from the Tentaclops.  They eventually reach the highest point and finally get a signal with the power source.  Naturally, Tiger Claw uses this opportunity to betray the Turtles.  Rahzar snatches the power source and they carry it to higher ground.  Raph pursues them and knocks the power source back down to his brothers, seconds before it activates.  Raph then falls backward off the ledge, trusting that Leo will catch him as the device activates.  And he does.

The Turtles arrive safe and sound on the surface and begin swimming to shore.  Raph and Leo make amends, though they’re curious what will become of the evil Foot mutants.  Donatello assures them that he programmed in a delay that will teleport them to safety, though he’s unsure where they’ll wind up.

The Foot mutants are subsequently teleported to a sewage treatment plant where they fall into a vat of feces.

Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from “Deep Below, Part 1”.


Reading this story, I couldn’t help but feel that it seemed very familiar.  Then I recalled TMNT New Animated Adventures #5.

So in that issue, the Turtles are trapped in a sinking ship and need to escape to the surface before the water rises and drowns them all.  Along for the ride is a bad guy who Leo says they have to help, but Raph is throwing a hissy fit and doesn’t trust Leo's leadership.  Along the way, they’re all menaced by Fishface.

“Deep Below” is pretty much the same story.  Instead of a sinking cruise ship, it’s a sunken Kraang lab.  Instead of a generic bad guy they have to help, it’s the evil Foot Mutants.  Instead of Fishface harassing their attempts to escape, it’s the Tentaclops.  Raph refusing to trust Leo remains identical, though.  Hell, even the covers to #5 and #18 are similar at a glance.

It’s a little disappointing, seeing the comic retread one of its own stories so shamelessly and there’s very little new content to discuss as a result.  I mean, I enjoyed seeing more of the Foot mutants, though even their subplot of having to form an uneasy alliance with the Turtles to escape certain doom too closely echoed the Nickelodeon TMNT episode “Baxter’s Gambit” for comfort.

While I’m all for TMNT New Animated Adventures implementing multi-part stories in addition to their one-shot plots, I would definitely like to see something more original in the future.  “Deep Below” winds up being nothing more than a mish-mash of ideas we’ve already encounter both in the cartoon this comic is based off of and in this comic-itself.

Grade: D (as in, “Did Leo remember Stockman’s name on page 7?  I don’t know if that’s an error or if he’s just been deliberately teasing Stockman for the past 3 seasons”.)

Friday, December 19, 2014

TMNT New Animated Adventures #18

Publication date: December 17, 2014


*“Secret Santa

Turtle Tips:

*These stories are continued from TMNT New Animated Adventures #17.  The story continues in TMNT New Animated Adventures #19.

*This issue was original published with 2 variant covers: Regular Cover by Dario Brizuela, and Subscription Cover by Jeffrey Cruz.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

TMNT III, Manga Adaptation: Chapter 4 translated!

Bet you thought I forgot about translating the rest of the Japanese manga adaptation of the third TMNT live action movie, huh?

Well, actually, yeah.  I sorta did.  But thanks to some prodding from Cryomancer and the talented folks at the Optical Internet Translation Gang, I finished up Chapter 4!

You can download TMNT III, Chapter 4: "Infiltration! Castle Norinaga!!!" in a nice .CBR over at the OITG site!

This chapter is pretty much 100% original material and is the point where the manga and movie go their separate ways.  It sees the TMNT negotiate a subterranean labyrinth while doing battle with manga-original villains Iron and Silver.  Meanwhile, April and the villagers keep Walker distracted by putting on a faux magic act.

It's some weeeiiirrrddd stuff, but I had fun translating it.  I'll try and get Chapters 5 and 6 done early next year to complete the whole adaptation.