Wednesday, June 25, 2008

TMNT Adventures #4

Publication date: September, 1989

Adapted from TV by: Beth and Ken Mitchroney
Pencils: Ken Mitchroney
Inks: Dave Garcia
Letters: Gary Fields
Colors: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victory Gorelick
Cover: Ryan Brown and Steve Lavigne, maybe?

“The Incredible Shrinking Turtles Part II”


As Baxter and Shredder prepare to contact Krang with their proof of Shredder’s victory (numerous buildings shrunken by the fragment of the Eye of Sarnath), April and Splinter scour the city in search of their foe so they can retrieve the fragment and return the Turtles to their proper size.

Down in the sewer, all four Turtles are munching on a single (gigantic) slice of pizza when a flood of sewer water washes them away. Climbing on top of a bar of soap, they find themselves at the mercy of a hungry snake. They manage to escape the predator by feeding it some of the soap (it probably won’t curse anymore, either).

Meanwhile, at an abandoned cheese packing plant on the wrong side of town” (actual quote from the comic, I kid you not), Shredder delivers his proof to Krang. Krang believes that they’re nothing but toy buildings and hangs up on Shredder. Stockman then reveals his latest invention, a heat-seeking turtle-scope which will help them track down the tiny turtles. Washing out to sea, the Turtles are about to be eaten by a fish when they’re “rescued” by Baxter Stockman’s net.

Using his mystic bond with his pupils, Splinter leads April to the abandoned cheese facility. Inside, Shredder shows the itty bitty Turtles to an overjoyed Krang. As Shredder prepares to squish his enemies with a crowbar, Spliter enters the fray and bests Shredder at hand-to-claw combat. The Turtles are found by April, whom they send to retrieve the fragment of Sarnath. Meanwhile, Shredder gets the drop on Splinter and knocks him onto a conveyer belt leading to a hydraulic press. April uses the fragment of Sarnath to return the Turtles to their original size. They rescue Splinter just in the knick of time, though Shredder and Stockman escape down a trapdoor with the fragment of Sarnath.

The heroes return home for some well-earned pizza, though they find that Splinter has ordered their dinner with a bit of a twist: they’re actually bite-sized pizza snacks!

Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT Adventures #3.  This issue is followed by TMNT Adventures #5.

*Some time between now and next issue, the events of "The Night of Monsterex" and "Origin of the Species" take place.

*This story is adapted from the episode “The Incredible Shrinking Turtles” from the Fred Wolf TMNT cartoon.

*The Eye of Sarnath story arc will be dropped after this issue. The fate of Baxter Stockman as well as the rest of the fragments of Sarnath won’t be revealed until TMNT Adventures #43. Does that suck, or what?

*This would be the last issue to adapt an episode of the Fred Wolf cartoon series. According to an October 1st, 2008 blog post by Ryan Brown over at "Cowabunga Cartoon Classics", the switch from episode adaptations to original content was made out of legal necessity, as Fred Wolf Films was accusing Archie Comics and Mirage Studios of breach of contract (Fred Wolf owned the rights to the episode scripts and apparently no one asked permission to use them for comics).

*This issue was reprinted in the UK by Fleetway as TMHT Adventures #7.


So it’s over. No more episode adaptations. Ever!

Ignoring the fact that they should have had original content to begin with, I can’t help but feel that they should have at least quit with the episode adaptations after “Return of Shredder”. “The Incredible Shrinking Turtles” began a story arc that lasted through almost the entirety of season 2 of the cartoon series. With the episode adaptations ending here, this entire plot is dropped like a sack of hammers, with it not being resolved or even so much as mentioned again for many dozens of issues. The transition from issue #4 to issue #5 can be pretty jarring if you’re reading everything back-to-back.

At any rate, “The Incredible Shrinking Turtles” kept from being a total waste thanks in large part to Ken Mitchroney’s wonderful art. He takes a retread that has no right to be even remotely entertaining and makes it at least enjoyable to stare at. Good show.

Grade: C (as in “Couldn’t Baxter have at least tried to keep April away from the fragment of Sarnath? Maybe just a little?”)



Unknown said...

I can't help but wonder, if it hadn't been for that legal mix-up, whether they would have ever made the switch to original stories, and if not, how long the comic would have survived.

TDG said...

Good question Chronos Cat,

And even if they did go for original content from the start or after the mini series, would they still treat the cartoon as canon? Trying to tie in or follow up on episodes? Other licensed comics based on cartoons did this such as Star Trek.

Personally I am glad that the series went its own route and tried to maintain a more mature and action packed tone to the cartoon series though I am not a supporter of all the decisions the writers decided to do to make the comic its own thing. (but I already discussed those on other pages)

Hope you will still read this post and respond on it.

Unknown said...


I'm also happy the series went it's own route; I probably wouldn't have even bothered buying it if it had just been adaptations of TV episodes, and even if they had tried to fit stories in between episodes, the limitations of the show's status quo would have seriously limited the sorts of stories they could have told.

As for the decisions they made in real life, I have few criticisms other than their choice of stories and artists for some of the filler issues (including many of the Specials), and the "Donatello and Leatherhead" and "May East Saga" mini-series. But then, I was pretty obsessed with this series back in the day, and it now has major nostalgia for me, so it's pretty hard for me to be objective about it.

TDG said...

Chronos Cat

Yes it is better that the comics left the continuity of the cartoon behind.
Season 1 was great and Season 2 was okay too, and there were some gems in the subsequent seasons but I think the cartoon became a bit weaker by the to many "episode of the week" routine that a lot of cartoons suffer from and the focus more on comedy than a good balance between comedy and action.
Why couldn't the turtles fight most of their opponents anymore? They didn't need to kill them, just unarm them and knock them out. And the Foot soldiers were introduced so that there were disposable non living foes.

The TMNTA continuity could take off after the Eye of Sarnath Saga (I know it gots it own continuity in the comics), explaining why Bebop and Rocksteady were back on Earth though I wish Baxter had not been written out as I kind of liked him as Shredder's scientist henchman.

I rather disliked how eventually Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady were written out and the Shredder barely appeared in the stories any more.

Some of the art of the comics was indeed very bad.

For me the Turnstone Arc and the Slash Arc are the highlights of the series.