Publication date: Spring, 1994
Lettering: Mary Kelleher
The next day, the owner of the observatory, Doctor Seewell, returns and gives Cleaver a proper checkup. His fever has broken and he seems to have gotten over his Monster Pox. Doctor Seewell and Mrs. Beaver quickly fall for one another and the doc asks the young mother to move away with him to the much more pleasant Dimension of Love. A happy ending, the Turtles load all the smaller, gentler critters into Cudley’s mouth, offering to release them in Dimension X where they’ll fit right in.
On the trip back, Don apologizes to Raph for giving him such a hard time before about helping Mrs. beaver. Don tells Raph to go ahead and hit him as hard as he can to make up for the beating he gave him with his bo staff. Raph isn’t willing to oblige at first, but his Monster Pox suddenly comes back in full-force and he begins sneezing up critters that attack Don. Cudley’s cheeks expand as he hurries to drop his payload off.
*This story is continued from “Pig Heaven, Part 2”.
*Cudley the Cowlick will return in "Full Circle".
*The ending dialogue is extremely confused, as Raph claims to have tormented Don about helping Mrs. Beaver while Don is said to be the one that had the Monster Pox and saved the day. In reality, it was the other way around.
Another weirdo tale from Milton Knight, but like I said with the last three Knight comics I’ve reviewed, I just dig that guy’s style. “Cleaver’s Critters”, despite its surreal art style, isn’t a story that wouldn’t fit in with the overall weirdness of TMNT Adventures. It’s cartoony and goofy for sure, but this is a comic where two anthropomorphic trees hold wrestling tournaments in outer space. A baby that sneezes monsters isn’t really any worse than something like that.
Knight captures a frantic sense of motion in each panel as characters squash and stretch with each line of dialogue. Even if the art style isn’t to your liking, there’s no denying it’s a well-crafted comic with terrific layouts and visual consistency.
The story-itself is a fever dream of insanity, but not in the same “stream of consciousness” nonsense vein as similar cartoonists like Hedden and McWeeney or Mark Martin. There’s a narrative structure and plot that drives the story with its own internal logic. It’s very fun and never dull. I really hate comics that do randomness for the sake of randomness, thinking that it’s the same thing as actual humor; and that’s not what Milton Knight comics are like even if they may appear so superficially.
Overall, I wouldn’t say I liked it more than “Louie’s Pasture” and “Pig Heaven”, but “Cleaver’s Critters” was still a fun and weird story by a great cartoonist. These kinds of stories are nice diversions from the dower seriousness of the main TMNT Adventures ongoing, which by 1994 had kind gotten its head stuck up its own ass and wasn’t much “fun” anymore.
Grade: B- (as in, “But the Ku Klux Klan thing was laying the message on a little thick, I think”.)