Thursday, May 3, 2012

TMNT Adventures Vol. 1 prologue and epilogue

Publication date: 1991

Published by: Tundra

Script: Dean Clarrain (Steve Murphy)
Pencils: Ken Mitchroney
Clean-ups: Marlene Becker
Inks/letters: Gary Fields
Colors: Mark Bode’
Cover: Michael Dooney




Down in the sewer lair, April is sharing tea with Splinter and tape recording an interview regarding his life and the many adventures he’s shared with his sons.

Splinter explains that he was once a Japanese man named Hamato Yoshi, who was leader of an honorable ninja clan called the Foot. One day, he was framed for the attempted assassination of a visiting sensei by his rival, Oroku Saki, and banished to America. His honor forbidding him from begging or stealing to survive, Yoshi went to live in the sewer, where he befriended the rats.

One day, he found a quartet of turtles by a storm drain, coated in a strange ooze. The ooze was a mutagen that caused its victims to take on the traits of the animal they’d most recently been in contact with. The turtles, most recently in contact with Yoshi, mutated into teenage anthropomorphs. Yoshi, most recently in contact with the rats, became a rat-man.

The Turtles nicknamed him “Splinter” on account of his old walking stick and he in turn named them after his favorite painters: Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michaelangelo. He then began training them in the art of ninjutsu.

Eventually, Splinter’s old nemesis, Oroku Saki, returned from Japan as leader of the Foot Clan; now a villainous organization. Taking on the identity of the Shredder, he amassed an army of robot Foot Soldiers thanks to Krang, an evil warlord from Dimension X. The Turtles would go on to have many encounters with Shredder, as well as other foes, which Splinter happily relates to April in detail…


Having finished hearing of the Turtles’ adventures up through their encounter with Codename: Chameleon, April is still left with many lingering questions. What did Stump and Sling have planned for Wingnut and Screwloose? What ended up happening to Leatherhead? And how did the “Final Conflict” turn out?

Splinter pours another cup of tea and tells her that those stories shall all be told in due time.

Turtle Tips:

*The above prologue and epilogue were created for the Tundra trade paperback collection, bookending TMNT Adventures #5 through TMNT Adventures #9.

*The prologue was later reprinted in TMNT Adventures Digest Vol. 1, but the epilogue has never been reprinted.

*All issues in this collection were re-colored by Steve Lavigne, Michael Gaydos, Denise St. Laurent Lavigne and Mark Bode’.


My “Holy Grails” of TMNT collecting are typically pretty modest, as I don’t aim for the more expensive stuff. Mostly, I’m just out to get a copy of every story and I’m not too particular about things like print numbers or what have you.

The prologue and epilogue from Tundra’s TMNT Adventures reprint was one of those Holy Grails, as the thing was just a pain in the ass to find. It seems that sellers rarely listed it on eBay and not many fans in the Buy/Sell/Trade forums were looking to part with their copies. Eventually, I was directed to one on eBay that had slipped past my notice and snatched it up for $8 bucks. Not bad!

“Metamorphosis” is your typical prologue summary stuff, but with the added bonus of being penciled by Ken Mitchroney. It’s nice to see his take on the origin story and I found this go around at it better-looking than his next attempt, TMNT Adventures #45, which ended up looking like a rushed fill-in issue.

So far as any added insight goes, the only scrap of “new” information is that Yoshi chose to live in the sewers because his code of honor forbade him from begging or stealing. Not… much, sure, but whatever. I’m in it for the art.

Mark Bode’s coloring is nice and lavish and he does a particularly good job in terms of “lighting”. I wasn’t quite so hot on the recolors of the reprinted issues; the only stories I felt they actively improved were the ones penciled by Jim Lawson.

All in all, I spent $8 for 10 pages of new material, and I’m cool with that. I’ve paid more for less. The bookends don’t really add anything new to the experience, and in a few places are a bit contradictory (April acts like she’s just now learning that Splinter was Hamato Yoshi, when he already explained that to her when they first met). I wouldn’t really recommend going out of your way to get it unless you’re like me and want to have a copy of every story. Even then, I’d say don’t pay too much.

Grade: N/A (as in, “Now, the backside of Michael Dooney’s cover is just weird. As. Hell.”)


Anonymous said...

Showus the back side of the art! :-)

Adam said...

I'm glad you pointed out how awkward that April-Splinter interview comes across. I've only got two in-universe explanations for why it seems like April and Splinter just met each other: (A) it's an example of Murphy trying to subtly retcon the origin story to his own tastes, or (B) with Splinter's permission, April is recording this interview for future reference and thus plays a little dumb for the sake of the would-be listener. That's the best I've got.

As far as the colors in this volume go, I agree that it does wonders for the Jim Lawson art! I no longer have to be bugged by the weird turtle feet colorings in the original #9.

I actually prefer these recolors on most of issue #6 as well. Somehow they just give a little bit more depth to Mary Bones and her bayou voodoo. I also like the water tones in issue #5 and the details on Shredder's armor. I don't really care for the liberal splashings of pink backgrounds though.

You might also want to mention (for those "completists") in this review that there was never an TMNT Adventures Volume 2. I think Archie/Tundra first changed their format to 3-issue-sized TPBs which got them all the way from issues 5 to 16 before ending that run at four volumes. Then, Archie decided to release their miniature sized "Classics Digests" which also collected 3 issues per volume including some bonus content. That run lasted only 7 volumes, cutting off with issue #25 and the first 3 installments of April O'Neil back-up stories from issues 24-26.

guille said...

yo, yoshi! have you ever heard the word "WORK"?
PS: i agree with anonymous on the backside cover matter

snowkatt said...

talk about conincidences

i recieved this collection last week in the mail after buying it on ebay for a tenner from a german seller
no idea what it was i just knew it was a adventures collection so i picked it up on a whim

the cover of my version however is quite different
with leonardo in the lower half of the cover and a wresteling ring in the back ground where cryin houdn is juggeling with the turtles and cudley is hovering near the ring looking angry

the back shows cropped versions of covers v1 to 4

and a price tage which seems to be cheaper too 6,95 instead of 9,95 ( 7,95 in canada )

my version is most likley a later reprint

Adam said...


My guess is that you actually own the first volume of Tundra's 2nd attempt at reprinting the TMNTA issues. The second Tundra series consisted of four 3-issue-sized TPBs which got them all the way from issues 5 to 16 before ending that run. Each volume featured a different turtle in the foreground with an action scene from the issues collected in the background.

I've never seen any of those issues so I don't know if they contain the same bonus content as the original Tundra V.1.

josedavid555 said...

Can't seem to find it online in order to see it nor buy it, any way you could show us all the scans? (Damn,we turtle fans sure are annoyingly thorough... we just want to see it all don't we?)

Unknown said...

I just got it for $10 on eBay.
Copy is stated as VF/NM and the seller had 3 of them.
People interested shall check it cause lately prices seemed to be way higher.
I can't wait to receive it now !