Publication date: Fall, 1993
Originally published in: TMNT Adventures Special #6
Pencils: Michael Gaydos
“You’ve scattered my power,
For I am but mist,
And broken my soldiers in two,
But beware the hour,
When they re-enlist,
And go hunting for Turtle Stew.”
The Turtles shrug off the threat and head back to the lair.
*This story is continued from “The Darkest Hour”.
*Contrary to the threat at the end of the issue, no, Mistia never comes back.
*Though the winner wasn’t announced until next issue, it was little Bobby Wisnoukas of Whitefield, New Hampshire who won “The Darkest Hour” riddle contest. Apparently, it was Peter Laird-himself who pulled Bobby’s name out of a hat (Bobby won three pieces of original TMNT art for guessing the answer to the riddle).
So yeah. That’s over.
The resolution was pretty terrible, all things considered. How did Raph know that the globe on Mistia’s staff would dissolve her power and destroy her? And Hell, why bother with the riddle at all when they could’ve just smashed that thing from the very beginning? And what the Hell was up with the ancient, dead civilization that Mistia came from? Who knows and who cares.
As it happens, this story at least functions as an early look at April’s ninja training under Splinter’s tutelage. In the TMNT Adventures ongoing, her shift from “reporter” to “ninja” was very abrupt. She just showed up one day with a sword and all of a sudden she was a ninja. It’s good to be able to go back and see some of her training in action to at least help smooth over the transition a little.
Beyond that, though, “The Darkest Hour” wasn’t a particularly good story. Gaydos had some great layouts and, despite a few bandana mistakes, Grossman’s coloring for this issue was really good (particularly the scene where Mikey snags the glowing key). Other than those few things, “The Darkest Hour” is just a lot of random, rushed nonsense. Though I’m sure there's a guy in New Hampshire right now with three pieces of vintage TMNT Adventures artwork that thinks it’s the greatest Turtles story ever.
Grade: D (as in, “Damn, I couldn’t give this thing an F; not when it features a meat cleaver-wielding Mickey Mouse in it”.)