*This story is continued from TMNT Adventures #56. The story continues in TMNT Adventures #58.
*According to the beginning of this issue, despite being published over a year later, the story still takes place in March of 1993.
*Queen Maligna and her Hive World last appeared in Mighty Mutanimals (miniseries) #3.
And that’s the end of “Terracide”.
Between this and “Megadeath”, of all the characters to bite the dust, I was most bummed out by the termination of Slash. As evil and psychotic as he was (he’d killed his share of innocents, if you recall the space police officers he gutted in his first appearance), his life story was a truly tragic one and he’d only so briefly gotten to know peace before having it taken away from him. The guy had it pretty rough. He lost his race, his homeworld, all his new friends and the surrogate home he’d finally found. In the end, the best he could do was murder an intergalactic scourge and ensure that no one else would ever lose as much as he had. Redemption!
For a guy who really only featured in 7 issues (not counting his brief cameos in “Megadeath”), he got a lot of characterization. Of course, I’d loved to have seen more of him, but I’m happy with what I got. And while “Megadeath” was all about killing characters unceremoniously and without a shred of dignity, Slash got to go out with a solid chunk of emotional impact. He was definitely underutilized in this book, but every appearance was a gem.
If there’s one thing in this conclusion that really deserves props, it’s the lettering by Gary Fields. I failed to bring it up in my reviews for the Mighty Mutanimals miniseries, but I’ve got to say, I really dig Fields’ unique lettering for Queen Maligna’s dialogue. Also, I love how he rotates the speech bubbles once the Hive World loses stability, so you have to rotate the comic in order to read them. I believe Dave Sim actually pioneered that trick in his book, “Cerebus” (to simulate a drunken stupor), but it remains an effective and engaging technique that actively disorients the reader.
Despite the heartbreaking death of Slash, I actually felt that this last installment of “Terracide” was comparatively the weakest. It has mostly to do with Queen Maligna’s grand comeback, that only persists for half an issue then she dies. While it certainly facilitated an epic set piece, I felt her inclusion was a bit tacked on and she didn’t offer anything else to the story other than said set piece.
Null’s escape at the end also felt too abrupt, considering he was the mastermind villain of the story arc. He implies in his parting dialogue to future-Don that his nature is something truly immortal and unfathomable; more-so than just demonic but perhaps even the personification of evil or greed-itself. As a villain, he runs a great gamut of large scale evil (trying to destroy the Earth) and more personal wickedness (forcing a grieving girl to humiliate herself for his own amusement), which is very befitting of a devil, or perhaps THE Devil. But we may never know. There have been musings about the real world individual Murphy (Clarrain) may have based Null on, and if such suggestions are the truth, then it puts the idea that Null is immortal and inescapable into a new light.
Still, in every arc he appears in, he ends up hiding behind other villains (Maligna, the Four Horseman, Maligna again), and though that is clearly his modus operandi, it somewhat diminishes him as we never get to see what he can REALLY do.
“Terracide” is one of the strongest arcs in all of TMNT Adventures and, pound for pound, I prefer it to the much more revered “Future Shark Trilogy”. Though it sprang from a rather loathsome storyline, it is much less convoluted and contains less moments of hasty exposition. The amount of violence and innuendo may seem completely over the top (the Turtles stand triumphantly atop a pile of Malignoid corpses, covered in blue blood... then there’s the matter of Null and Candy), but it actually serves a purpose. It isn’t there to shock but rather to appropriately illustrate the scale of the forces the protagonists are up against.
Grade: B+ (as in, “Believe it or not, but I have always instinctively read Queen Maligna’s voice as being Andrea Martin doing her Queen Slug-for-a-Butt voice”.)