Story: Dean Clarrain
April isn’t fooled and, later that night, dons her ninja garb and sneaks into the theater through an upper window (crowds that glimpse her mistake her silhouette for an angel’s, in fact). Sneaking in, she’s approached by Hollywood Hoey and a gang of knife-wielding thugs. Hoey orders the thugs to attack and April draws her sword.
*Don previously lost a time slip remote in TMNT Adventures #57, hence Raph’s annoyance.
*This issue also contained a bonus story, “The Angel of Times Square, Chapter III” by Clarrain and Morrow.
“Dreamland” continues and now the title is starting to make some freakin’ sense.
Crainiac’s scheme is actually a pretty novel one; stealing memories for aliens incapable of dreaming. It’s a very abstract crime, to be sure, while still having a tinge of ghoulishness to it as the alien makes off with the actual brains of celebrities and historical figures. Verminator-X’s part in all this seems a bit wobbly, though. I understand that he cares more about profit than the salvation of his homeworld, but how exactly is Crainiac going to make the whole caper worth his while (aside from alerting him to Earth’s impending demise and getting him out of there, I guess)?
I was more interested in the glimpse of back story Don dropped in passing. Villains are always better when you know more about them and Verminator offers something of a look at what Don might have been like had he grown to value science and tech over body and soul. Don’s always been the mad scientist and inventor of the group, but Splinter’s martial arts training and spiritual guidance kept him leveled; he was raised to appreciate nature and physical fitness first and foremost. Verminator, or Manx, is what Don would have been like had he lacked that upbringing; a capable scientist and inventor with no value for his own body or the natural world-itself, so much so that he traded his humanity for cybernetic upgrades and callously sells out the Earth for material gain.
From that perspective, Verminator’s a more interesting villain than he otherwise might be. And, in fact, Verminator is one of the reasons I always felt the cyborg-Don of the Image TMNT Vol. 3 series rang so false. Regardless of what continuity you ascribe to, Don is not a character that would embrace becoming a soulless machine because “firepower is cool”.
As for the Hitler stuff, as insanely daring as it was for a kid’s comic, the pacing threw the story off and the inclusion of Hitler’s shenanigans seems rather pointless to the overall story. There’s a major rush to get the set pieces in place, so everything begins jumping around. Where did Hitler’s brain get that robot body? He joins with his younger self and forms an alliance completely off-panel and in a very short span of time (seemingly only minutes). Then his robot body is destroyed by a convenient bomb and Raph knocks young-Hitler out. Then… young-Hitler BEATS them to the tunnel, somehow, and there’s a sloppy conversation about Hell that elicits Hitler to shoot himself in the head (so as not to mess up history).
The whole thing left me with the impression that Murphy (Clarrain) wanted to do a whole lot more with the evildoings of Hitler’s grey matter in Nazi Germany, but was thusly forced to truncate it all into a nearly incomprehensible series of panels. The end result is still shocking as all Hell for its content but is ultimately a total mess to read.
Artistically, this is some of Allan’s best work, though. Raph belting Hitler in the jaw is pretty awesome, despite everything I said about the story pacing, and the overall action layouts of this issue are astounding. His skill with expression also takes point on some of the more comedic scenes, like Don losing the time slip remote and Raph’s droll response to the dilemma.
As for the April back-up; this thing is a pain to read in 5-page chunks. I really have little new to say about this installment beyond the fact that, in her old age, April has apparently become a rather crappy ninja. People on the streets see her running along the rooftops and she’s caught seconds after breaking into the theater.
Ninja-ing is a young woman’s game, April. Think about retiring.
Grade: C (as in, “Can’t say I enjoy admitting it, but damn did the Nazi’s have cool uniforms”.)