Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #2

Publication date: March, 2004

Story: Steve Murphy
Pencils: Jim Lawson
Inks: Eric Talbot
Frontispiece and letters: Peter Laird
Cover: Lawson and Talbot

“Seeds of Destruction”


Frontispiece: Sitting beneath a torri, Leonardo ponders that Master Splinter would be very proud of him, as he has made great strides in mastering “the lesson of the bittern”. This is the ability to attain perfect calm so as to commune with nature. Now, with all of nature listening, Leonardo decides to tell a story…

Fifteen minutes ago: On a rooftop in New York, a mystic in a meditating position, chews on sunflower seeds and laughs evilly to himself. Down in the lair, Raph and Donnie come home with some loot they got at a junkyard. Leo and Mike have ill-tidings, as Splinter has been trapped in a levitating, meditating position for seven hours, unable to be woken from his trance.

Ten hours earlier: Awoken from his sleep by a noise, Splinter investigates and finds a glowing sphere in the sewers. The sphere transforms into several rocks and attacks him. Splinter dodges, only for the rocks to become shuriken and nearly impale him. Splinter demands to know who his attacker is and the spectral form of the mystic answers that he is Splinter’s death. With the challenge issued, the mystic’s spirit departs. Splinter deduces that the mystic may be a member of the Foot Clan and that his worst fears are about to be realized.

Eight hours earlier: Pouring over many ancient tomes and scrolls, Splinter tells Mike that he and his brothers have the day off from their studies, but that they must not bother him under any circumstance.

Seven hours earlier: Leo uses the day off to practice, Mike uses the day off to read comics and Raph and Donnie use the day off to go hunting for scrap at a junkyard. Finishing up his studies, Splinter determines that he at last knows what he must in order to meet the mystic’s challenge. Taking a lotus position, Splinter performs an astral projection for the first time, detaching his spirit from his body. He follows the trail left by the mystic and confronts him on the rooftop. The mystic is shocked that the old rat could learn such an advanced technique so quickly and counters by projecting his own spirit.

The mystic sends Splinter on a chase through many metaphysical dimensions in an attempt to wear him down, eventually landing in an endless field of sunflowers. The sunflowers fire bullet-seeds at Splinter’s spirit, distracting him long enough for the mystic, now a giant clad in samurai armor, to burst from the soul and snatch Splinter in his hand. Splinter is no easy prey, however and first transforms into many small rats to escape the mystic’s grasp, then transforms into rain which cuts a hole in the ground beneath the mystic, plummeting him into darkness. Furious, the mystic grows wings and escapes the hole.

One minute ago: The Turtles gather around Splinter, wondering what they can do. In the astral plane, Splinter counters by transforming into an armored bat and begins out-fighting the mystic. The mystic recognizes Splinter’s style as that of the Foot and is confused. Splinter finally defeats him with multiple energy blasts, explaining that his will is greater than the mystics, thus ensuring his victory.

On the rooftop, the mystic’s body is curled up in a paralyzed fetal position. Three Foot Mystics (a woman, a warrior and an old man) approach their initiate (Myzoko) and declare that he has failed his final ordeal. They then kick him over the side of the roof where he falls to his death. Leaving, the female Mystic says that one day, they too must face the rat in combat.

In the astral plane, the mystic’s spirit dissolves now that his body is dead. Splinter, holding no ill will, tells the mystic to go in peace as his spirit ascends to the heavens.

Splinter suddenly awakens in the lair and tells his sons that he is alright… albeit very hungry. Mike offers to make him some dinner and Splinter accepts (with the condition that the meal not contain any seeds).

Turtle Tips:

*Considering that Splinter does not learn to master astral projection until this story, and the Foot are unaware of his connection to their clan until this encounter, I would place this story as prior to TMNT (Vol. 1) #9.  That one was a flashback story where Splinter is shown using the technique which also takes place before TMNT (Vol. 1) #1 (where Splinter will reveal his existence to the Foot and the Shredder).

*There is a bit of discontinuity due to this, as the Turtles look older in this issue than they did in TMNT (Vol. 1) #9 and have adopted the strip bandanas over the skullcap bandanas.

*In the letters page of Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #4, Murphy says: "Issue 2's tale took place sometime in 1996. (But I no longer remember why!)"  Well, that goes against my assessment, but it completely clashes with the actual story, where Splinter has to learn astral projection and the Foot are unaware of his connection.

*The Foot Mystics from this issue will return, after a long absence, in Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #11.

*This issue also featured a 2-page bonus gallery detailing the creation process of the cover of Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #3.

*In the opening editorial, Murphy explains that this story was based on a submission he sent to Dreamwave, applying for the writing gig on their TMNT comic based on the 4Kids animated series. He was rejected in favor of Peter David and the script (originally titled “In the Realm of the Super-senses”) went unused until now.


You can definitely detect the lingering artifacts of this story having originally been written to take place in the 4Kids animated series. While it functions perfectly well as a flashback tale to the early years of the Mirage characters, it would have fit in just fine at the beginning of the cartoon (Murphy even says it was written to take place just after the first episode). The Foot Mystics, for example, were conceived for the 4Kids cartoon and imported to the Mirage comics after the fact (by this story, no less). 

Despite not having been meant for this continuity from the outset, it fits in rather well and shows us an important development in Splinter’s mystical abilities (how he learned to astral project). It manages to dodge disrupting continuity by not having Splinter battle a true member of the Foot Clan before TMNT #1, but just a failed initiate (who dies before he can tell the rest of the Clan of Splinter’s connection).

Back in 2004, when this was first published, I recall not being too enthused with “Seeds of Destruction”. The story seemed a little light for me, consisting mostly of a chase and a game of imaginary one-ups-manship. This is the first time I’ve read it since 2004 (my god, eight years ago) and my attitude feels much less damning. It’s a good focus on Splinter and reads really well alongside stories like “A Day in the Life” and even helps make a lousy tale like “The Pantheon” read better (explaining Splinter’s rather random mastery of the mystic arts).

I think another part of my initial opinion was that back in 2004 I was a fresher initiate to the Mirage comics and hadn’t quite built up my “callus” to Jim Lawson’s contemporary art style. I’ve since gotten over that and this is certainly some of his better work in the modern era; great expressions on Myzoko’s face as Splinter batters and zaps him and Talbot’s inking creates a better sense of depth to Lawson’s pencils than you usually see.

There isn’t much else to say about “Seeds of Destruction” other than how cool the frontispiece by Laird is. I mentioned in my review of TMNT (Vol. 1) #12 that the guy can draw scenic natural splendor like nobody’s business, and he certainly hadn’t lost his talent for it by 2004. Gorgeous landscapes in that frontispiece.

Grade: B (as in, “But I'd be terrified, too, if the Phanto mask from Super Mario Bros. 2 suddenly appeared in my bedroom”.)

Friday, September 28, 2012

TMNT (1987 cartoon) Season 2, Part 2 - Review

I've finished up my review of the second season of the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon produced by Fred Wolf, taking a shot at the last seven episodes.

While I enjoyed the first half and its tighter plotting a bit more, this second half of season 2 has some pretty fun episodes, including a few of my all-time favorites ("Enter: The Fly" being my pick as the season's best).  Of course, it also has some of the most inept in the series, like the borderline incompetent "New York's Shiniest", but even the bad ones are at least fun to watch for their rampant idiocy.

So if you wanna read about the Punk Frogs, REX-1, Baxter-Fly and the return of those god damn Neutrinos, head on over to the link above.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

TMNT (IDW) #14

Publication date: September 26, 2012

Story: Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Art: Andy Kuhn
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow

"Sins of the Fathers, Part 2"


At the Jones house, Splinter holds Casey’s dad hostage with a sai at his throat, asking if Raph thinks murdering him to be the right thing to do. Raph concedes that killing Jones wouldn’t solve anything and admits that he nearly gave into his inner anger. Splinter reveals that in his youth, he also struggled with similar demons and that it was the love of his family that brought him peace. Raph asks what they can do about Mr. Jones so that they can help Casey and Splinter says he has an idea.

On Burnow Island, General Krang is giving Baxter Stockman a tour of the facility. He brings him to a room full of stasis tubes, each containing a brain-creature similar to himself. Krang explains that he is an Utrom from the planet Utrominon in Dimension X. Krang then escorts Stockman to the dimensional portal room, where many humans and Stone Soldiers scramble about, working on projects. Stockman is somewhat incredulous and so Krang details his history.

Long ago, Utrominon was a powerful world and his father, a warlord named Quanin, conquered many planets (with Krang as his second-in-command). Unfortunately, Quanin’s success made him many enemies and Utrominon was eventually attacked by fleets of ships. The world was destroyed in the battle and the only surviving Utroms now dwell in the stasis tubes on Burnow Island.

Suddenly, Krang’s story is interrupted by a pair of Neutrino rebels who forcibly burst through the portal, guns blazing. Captain Tragg and the Stone Soldiers fail to quell the sneak attack, leaving Krang to eliminate the rebels with the gauntlet lasers of his robot body. Krang hurls the Neutrino corpses through the portal and delivers a series of commands: Captain Tragg is to make sure that Pogue and his technicians make the portal more secure and Lieutenant Granitor is to double the guards at the portal entrance on the Dimension X end.

Baxter, recovering from all the fireworks, is curious as to Krang’s point in giving him such a friendly tour. Krang tells him that the only reason he hasn’t been executed for failing in his genetic experimentations is because his Mousers have proven him to be skilled with robots. He then ushers Stockman to a construction zone to introduce him to his next project: The completion of the Technodrome!

At the Second Time Around shop, the Turtles and April help Casey to recover from his beating. Casey realizes that he was wrong not to go to his friends for help before, but having spent so much of his life alone, he finds that asking others for help doesn’t come easy.

At the Jones house, Splinter tells Raph to collect Casey’s things, as Casey will be moving in with them. Returning to the shop, Splinter asks that the whole family (including April and Casey) gather around for a serious talk. Splinter reinforces his teachings about non-violent solutions and that killing should be avoided whenever possible. However, he explains, the Shredder is a far different foe and must be dealt with more drastically. He regretfully tells his sons that they may have to break their code against killing in order to end the Shredder’s reign of terror for good.

At Foot HQ, the Shredder explains his intentions to Karai. He says that before he had Hamato Yoshi and his sons executed, he spied on the family for days. He saw great potential in Yoshi’s eldest (now Leonardo) and believes that he still retains that warrior spirit. After observing him in the present, Shredder concludes that Leonardo is the only one worthy to be his heir.

Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT (IDW) #13. The story continues in TMNT Micro-Series #7: April.

*The events of TMNT Annual 2012 occur between this and next issue.

*Splinter (as Hamato Yoshi) was shown battling with his anger in TMNT Micro-Series #5: Splinter.

*This issue marks the first time ever that the Utrom Homeworld has been given a proper name: Utrominon.

*Despite the similarity in likenesses, the Neutrinos killed by Krang are not the same as the Neutrinos who show up later in TMNT (IDW) #17.

*The Shredder, in disguise, tested Leonardo’s skill to determine his worth in TMNT Microseries #4: Leonardo.

*This issue was originally published with 3 variant covers: Cover A by Kuhn, Cover B by Eastman and Pattison, and Cover RI by Ramon Perez and Ian Herring.


Many revelations punctuate this issue, as IDW’s TMNT comic kicks into high gear (even more so if you read the Fugitoid microseries after this issue, as it was intended to be published). In regards to the Foot Clan subplot and it’s forward momentum, I find it very gratifying to see all the seeds planted by Waltz and Burnham in the first year coming to fruition. I had thought that the Shredder’s convoluted scheme to disguise himself as a normal Foot Soldier and test the Turtles seemed rather random, but now we know his true purpose: To see if Leonardo was worthy of being his heir. There’s a lot of “thinking ahead” in this title, which is what I like to see. It’s great having a book with a dedicated architect plotting years in advance as opposed to authors who work in trade-friendly “arcs” and then pack their things after six issues are up.

The Jones section of the book, and by extension the portion focusing on the Turtles, was perhaps the least interesting plot line, but it gives the TMNT-themselves a breather from all the action and I like to see that, sometimes. Casey coming to live with them is a pretty cool idea, as I always liked his dynamic in the Mirage comic when he and the Turtles shared the farm in Northampton. The lengthy speech about “family” got a bit saccharine after a fashion, but it’s important to drive the point home that Casey has friends looking out for him. The guy’s kind of thick, so he probably needed the three pages of dialogue to get it through his head.

And, of course, there’s everything with Krang and Dimension X and the Neutrinos and the Technodrome and man, I’m flipping out. While the early publication of the Fugitoid microseries somewhat undercut the dramatic reveal of the Technodrome (it was mentioned so off-handedly in the Fugitoid issue, I had a suspicion we weren’t meant to know about it yet), that doesn’t make its return any less awesome. While keeping the “golf ball” look might be questionable, I still can’t wait to see it in action. And hopefully it doesn’t get waylaid five minutes after it powers up like at the end of every season of the Fred Wolf cartoon.

Perhaps the most satisfying thing in this whole issue was seeing Zak and Dask get slaughtered. Or, at least, I hope that was meant to be them. Please let it have been this universe’s version of them. I really, truly hated those two (but Kala should have bitten the dust, too; equal opportunity in “hi then die” cameos, IDW!). While I know Waltz didn’t write that scene as a gift meant exclusively for me, I’m going to pretend he did, anyway. And thank you, Waltz. It has been an early Christmas.  (EDIT FROM THE FUTURE: it wasn't them.)

I don’t have anything new to say about Kuhn’s art that I didn’t get off my chest in the previous review. It’s strong for all the same reasons and it stumbles for all the same reasons. As the Turtles aren’t in this issue’s spotlight, you get more page-time devoted to Kuhn’s strengths and that makes this a better-looking issue than his more Turtle-centric efforts. His layouts are great and, if he does his own inking, his use of heavy shadow in the Krang portions of the issue are superb. The Neutrinos also look so positively ridiculous as they make their dramatic bid to assassinate Krang, I absolutely loved it. If you love-hate the Neutrinos as much as I do, then you’ll find those pages pretty hilarious (in large part to Kuhn’s art).

And it should be mentioned that he totally nailed Karai’s expression on that last page.

Grade: A- (as in, “And for all you people not liking the Fred Wolf-isms, we’re starting to get some 4Kids-isms with Shredder trying to turn Leo to the dark side”.)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Slash!" by Jeremiah D. Allan, Randy Valiente and Kris Johnson

About a week ago, I received an e-mail from writer Jeremiah D. Allan with a pretty cool gift inside.  Apparently, before the Viacom buy-out of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise from Peter Laird, Jeremiah wrote a 10-page comic introducing the villainous, palm tree-obsessed Slash to the Volume 4 era of the Mirage TMNT series.  The story was drawn by Randy Valiente and lettered by Kris Johnson.

Jeremiah had this to say about the creation of the story:

"Not much history behind the comic. I was born in '83 and have thus developed a lifelong love for the Turtles. Slash has always been a favorite, with his bad ass toy and adventures in "Adventures," which I bought off the rack at a local drugstore from #23 until the end of the series. Several years ago, Go Green Machine was putting together a fan tribute book that I wanted to be a part of so I wrote a script introducing Slash to the Vol. 4 continuity and commissioned a friend to draw it. The tribute book was canceled during the Nickelodeon buyout so I've just been sitting on this story in the meanwhile."

With Slash's recent comeback via the IDW TMNT comic, now seems like a better time than ever to become reacquainted with The Evil Turtle from Dimension X (who isn't always from Dimension X).  So, without further ado, here is the comic as sent to me by Jeremiah:

Definitely a cool little story with a rebooted origin that sticks very close to Slash's Archie Comic roots (while IDW's reboot is playing a little closer to his Fred Wolf origin).  I think Jeremiah struck a steady balance in terms of tone between Slash's admittedly sillier Archie back story and the grittier, more political atmosphere of Mirage's Volume 4.  I particularly liked how he worked in both Slash's palm tree obsession and his reduced intelligence into the story.

Perhaps my favorite element to the tale, though, was the way the script was paced, with regular interludes to the history of Slash's people, punctuating the present-set action.  It was a much more enthralling way of communicating the back story than just doing a linear past-to-present tale.  The inclusion of Agent Bishop from the 4Kids series may have felt like one dollop of "fanwank" too much, but author Tristan Jones had already slipped in a cameo/reference to the character during Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #61, so there's already a precedent for you continuity hounds (you know who you are!).

Valiente's art has a good sense of layout to it and I thought he really excelled on the past-set pages of Slash's homeworld.  The present-set pages do suffer a bit from "empty space" in regards to the background, but the focus is supposed to be on Raph and Slash tussling, so that's hardly a grievance.  The lack of shading/toning perhaps added a bit to the "empty space" effect and some sort of shading might have made moments like page 9, panel 1 a bit easier to read (without anything designating the ground, Raph and Slash kind of look like they're floating in mid air).  Johnson's lettering flows fluidly and unobtrussively.  I particularly liked the parchment effect used for the narration of the past-set pages.

Overall, this was a lot of fun to discover and I'm grateful to Jeremiah for sharing it with me.  I suppose the Go Green Machine tribute book can join the ranks of the Mirage Universe Sourcebook and the Forever War miniseries as casualties of the Viacom buy-out.  Still, it's great to see what could have been.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) Season Two, Part One - Review

Continuing my watch-through of the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon produced by Fred Wolf in 1987, I jump into the first half of Season Two.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) Season Two, Part One - Review.

Despite a noticeable decline in production values and a clear bit of "tidying up" to appease BS&P, there's surprisingly quite a bit to like about this season, particularly the first half which forms a pretty tight-knit story arc.

Unfortunately, there's also some crap, but that can't be helped.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #35

Publication date: June, 2007

Plot: Chris Allan and Dean Clarrain
Words: Clarrain
Art: Allan
Letters: Eric Talbot
Cover: Chris Allan
Frontispiece: Christian Colbert

“The Pantheon”


Frontispiece: In an alley somewhere, the Turtles strike an epic pose. Taking front and center, Raph ponders to himself how he has no time for sob stories and doesn’t care how a rotten apple became that way…

In a temple in some misty, other-dimensional land, the Queen of Cats approaches the elderly King of the Rats in his throne room. She brings ill-tidings from the rest of the Pantheon; that the King of the Rats has grown too old and now time draws short. They fear he has no time left to choose a worthy successor. On his final breaths, the King of the Rats is forced to agree and wonders if he can find someone in time.

Down in the sewer lair, Splinter is meditating when a plague of rats scurries up to him. He can see something troubles them, but before he has time to ask, he is approached by the spiritual form of a man wrapped in bandages, calling himself the Rat King. The Rat King, looking for some action, was drawn to Splinter due to his spiritual and metaphysical prowess. The Rat King baits Splinter to the halls of the Pantheon to engage in battle.

The pair hover about the mists for a bit, firing energy blasts at each other, but Splinter is merely toying with the Rat King. Far more skilled in astral battle than his opponent, Splinter, deflects all his attacks, then grows to humongous size; seizing the Rat King in his hand. Splinter then looks into his eyes, searching for the truth behind the Rat King’s power.

Some time ago, at a hospital, a young punk (wrapped in bandages after a non-descript accident) escaped from police custody through a window. While making his way through an alley, he was approached by the dying King of the Rats. With no time left to find a worthy heir, he bequeaths his powers to the young man, hoping that he’ll use them wisely. The newly appointed Rat King did not, however, and instead used his newfound mystical talents for personal gain and cheap thrills, letting his “subjects” (the rats) multiply out of control and die without his guidance.

The Rat King collapses at this revelation and Splinter promises to help him come to understand the responsibility he has inherited and teach him to be worthy of his crown. The Rat King, however, was merely tricking Splinter into letting his guard down. The Rat King hits Splinter with a telepathic command, freezing the old rat where he stands. Before he can return to Earth and his “less than noble pursuits”, the Queen of Cats and the rest of the Pantheon surround the Rat King. They say they can no longer allow him to use his powers for evil and that he is unworthy of his role.

The Queen of Cats frees Splinter from his trance and tells him the purpose of the Pantheon: to watch over the little souls they have been bequeathed to protect. Splinter has vague memories of them from his days as a normal rat; a fact which impresses the Queen. The Queen offers Splinter the chance to become the next King of the Rats, though Splinter is curious about the fate of the Rat King should he take the position. As the Rat King cowers in agony from some severe mental and spiritual strain, the Queen tells Splinter that he will die. Not wanting to cause the death of any living being, no matter how wretched they may be, Splinter declines the honor.

The Pantheon backs off from the tormented Rat King, bowing to Splinter’s decision. The Queen then kisses him, informing him that he will have another opportunity to take the role of King of the Rats, but it will be upon his death.

Splinter’s spirit then returns to his body and he awakens in his chamber. Fixing a pot of tea, Splinter sits among the rats in the sewer tunnel, having much to contemplate.

Turtle Tips:

*It is difficult to place this story. This is Splinters first encounter with the Rat King, so it has to predate TMNT (Vol. 1) #55. The Rat King is permitted to live at the end of this story, so it has to predate Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 1) #4 (it cannot take place after that one, as he’s shown to have died from his shuriken wound in TMNT #55). Splinter is shown living in the sewers. The Turtles were driven from the sewers in TMNT (Vol. 1) #2, forcing this story to occur earlier in the timeline, predating TMNT (Vol. 1) #1. As the Turtles make no appearance, there’s nothing to say they couldn’t be children at the time of this story.

*Splinter previously mastered the art of astral projection in Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #2.

*The Turtles will meet the Rat King in Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 1) #4. Splinter will encounter him again in TMNT (Vol. 1) #55.

*Splinter’s death will occur in TMNT (Vol. 4) #10.

*In case you aren’t a fan of Archie’s TMNT Adventures series, “Dean Clarrain” is a pseudonym used by Mirage staffer Steve Murphy.

*This issue also contained a back-up story, “Secret Spirit” by Will Tupper, Diego Jourdan and Erik Swanson


While my hatred for this story has mellowed over the five years since it was published, I still can’t profess to liking it at all. I’m of the opinion that some origins just don’t need to be told, and the Rat King’s origin was one of them. Part of his allure is his mystique; is he really a mystical entity with power over rodents or is he just an insane bum with multiple personality syndrome? The Mirage series was never explicit in this fact; when he first appeared, he was just a crazy guy whose identity altered with the seasons and only *thought* he was a monster. When he reappeared, it was as a ghost haunting Splinter for several issues, and while that added some mystical credence to his character, it was far from any concrete proof that he was anything more than the ghost of a loony bum.

So the decision to pen a definite origin for the Rat King never sat well with me. The end result is something that, for what it is, certainly works in the scope of the universe, the characters and their relationships, explaining the spiritual bond between Splinter and the Rat King, but does so in a way that dilutes the creepy menace of the Rat King with its answers.

For its good points, “The Pantheon” is definitely well-researched and ties all of the Rat King’s appearances together with a coherent purpose. His defeat here clearly broke his mind and he was returned to Earth as a harmless bum, no longer having the faculties to exploit his powers (and thus, no longer a threat to the Pantheon). That sets him up for his appearance in Tales #4, where he’s finally done-in by a shuriken to the chest and a fall off a ledge.

More so than anything else, this story explains his fascination with Splinter and why he spends the remainder of his appearances haunting the old rat, both during “City at War”, then again in “Cold, Cold Ice” and lastly at Splinter’s death in TMNT Vol. 4. We now understand why the Rat King continued to appear to Splinter and his apparition appearing at the time of Splinter’s death gives us a sense of hope, that Splinter’s consciousness would live on as the new King of the Rats, having the position bequeathed to him as prophesied.

The issue is also very well-drawn by none other than TMNT Adventures artist extraordinaire, Chris Allan. While the sight of Splinter and the Rat King firing kamehamehas at each other and zooming around the sky was silly as hell, it would have looked quite a bit worse had any other artist tried to render it. Allan’s style is probably a bit too “clean” for a gritty and gruesome character like the Rat King, but it actually fit well at this point in the character’s timeline, as the Rat King hadn’t yet fallen into insanity and squalor. And gotta love “Batman” as the King of the Bats in that two-page splash of the Pantheon.

As for the Rat King’s origin-itself, disregarding any personal preference for “mystery” over “fact”, I just didn’t care for it. It felt way too much like the origin of Kyle Rayner from the 90s Green Lantern comic (a dying Guardian of the Universe bequeaths the Green Lantern ring to the first human he meets in an alley, hoping they’ll be worthy). Making the Rat King into a juvenile delinquent escaping police custody in a hospital (hence the bandages) felt like a rather shallow means to explain his “evil” disposition. Fact of the matter is, the Rat King was never really “evil” in the first place. In “I, Monster” he was just a crazy guy that thought he was a monster, but was really only a nut in a costume covered in mud. When he returned as a ghost, there was little menace about him; he, in fact, aided Splinter more often than otherwise. Having him be a criminal granted awesome powers who used them for his own gain felt terribly counter to the character.

All this being said, I will admit to liking the origin given to him in the 4Kids animated series. As contradictory as that sounds to everything I just said, it worked perfectly fine IN THAT UNIVERSE, continuing a plot thread left open after a previous episode and not undermining the character’s integrity. I’ll surely take “defective cyborg clone of Bishop that’s slowly going insane” over “escaped criminal accidentally given magical animal powers”, at any rate.

“The Pantheon” is, to be blunt, a story you could skip and never, ever miss. It serves only to answer the questions nobody asked and take one of the more enigmatic recurring characters of the TMNT series and make him a generic criminal thug. Sometimes, it’s better to leave well-enough alone and the origin of the Rat King should have gone unwritten.

Grade: F+ (as in, “For the record, the + is in regards to the artwork”.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #14

Publication date: August, 2005

Plot: Murphy, Liard, Remender
Script: Murphy
Pencils: Rick Remender and Mike Manley
Inks and tones: Mike Manley
Lettering and letters page art: Eric Talbot
Frontispiece: Dario Brizuela

“Loops, Part 2 of 2”


Frontispiece: On a rooftop, Leonardo does battle with a rampaging Leatherhead. As he leaps down on the gator, Leo can’t help but contemplate how time travel never fails to confuse him. Even weirder than time travel, though, is meeting yourself…

Before the cat-person can strike 45-Leo down, 15-Leo intercedes, only to get knocked away. More cat-men arrive and 100-Leo, having long ago vowed to never take another sentient life, takes one out with his high-tech bokken. 15-Leo asks what the bokken’s deal is and 100-Leo explains that it channels his own bio-energy via willpower and delivers a powerful debilitating shock to his enemies (and it was a gift from Donatello on his hundredth birthday). Together with 8-Leo, they take down the cat-men.

Suddenly, a cat-woman with a chained gorilla-man named Mon-Ghat attacks. 100-Leo attempts to sway the enslaved gorilla to their cause, but the cat-woman has his family held hostage. The Leonardos are forced to surrender and are bound and taken before King G’Dello. G’Dello asks why they have trespassed into the conquered kingdom of Feenosia and 100-Leo explains that they’ve come to deliver a gift to the Cynocea. G’Dello laughs and takes them to the Cynocea.

The Cynocea is actually the title of the true ruler of Feenosia, before G’Dello invaded and killed the previous ruler, Macqou-Doth Noor. Macqou’s infant son, Pai-Doth Noor, now resides in the nursery/prison cell, being looked at by a host of gorilla-women. G’Dello leaves the Turtles to spend their lives in Pai’s cell, not thinking that their gift (a gem stone) is of any value worth seizing. After he leaves, the monkey-woman Luschea places the gem in Pai’s mouth. The mystical powers allow Pai to escape his dying body in the Astral Plane and sends his fully-formed consciousness into his infant body.

Pai exclaims that he has found the key to escaping death; by reincarnating himself through a “loop”. The Turtles are confused and Pai explains his origin story. After G’Dello seized Feenosia, he kept Pai alive for political reasons, but left him a prisoner in his own castle. Pai developed great mental and spiritual powers, eventually escaping to the Astral Plane. From there, he was allowed to journey through mystical and intangible realms and observe other worlds, but could never again return to the physical plane. The Turtles, though, helped him finally achieve his dream and he thanks them by unbinding their hands and returning their weapons.

The Turtles make their escape and are immediately barred by more cat-men and Mon-Ghat. 100-Leo repeats his offer and Mon-Ghat accepts, helping them take down the cat-men. Eventually, they succeed in overthrowing G’Dello and returning the rule of Feenosia to Pai. Pai happily sends them all back home, though he assures them they’ll have no memory of their adventure. 100-Leo, however, has a bad premonition and asks to stay behind a while and help Pai. Pai refuses, thinking he’s won the day and cheated death. Shortly after he sends his pawns home, the army of the Pharaoh, on the trail of the Turtles that saved baby Moses, discover the kingdom of Feenosia and attack en masse.

Returned to his proper time, though not proper place, 8-Leo finds himself in the Engyptian wing of a museum. Staring before him is a huge stone relief picturing Egyptian soldiers toting the corpse of a four-armed monkey behind them. 8-Leo quickly forgets the significance of the image and escapes before a guard sees him. Likewise, 15-Leo and 45-Leo are returned to their proper times with no memory of the event, recalling it only as a recurring “day dream”. 100-Leo, however, remembers it perfectly. He contemplates how Pai risked his life four times in a foolish quest to cheat death. 100-Leo remarks that no one can cheat death, not even a turtle.

Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #13.

*100-Leo will return in the future-set story Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #41. The reason for his vow never to take a sentient life will be explained in that issue.

*A cat-person will appear in TMNT (Vol. 4) #11, however, according to Steve Murphy in the letters column of Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #16, that cat-person is unrelated to the ones which appeared in this story arc.

*This issue also included a bonus Professor Obligado story, “First Mud” by Murphy, Lawson and Talbot.


While the first half of “Loops” was more about watching the four different Leonardos interact with each other, the second half winds up containing the lion’s share of the plot. It can be a little awkward, as we’re very quickly thrust into long, ranting expositions explaining the political landscape of Feenosia and Pai-Doth Noor’s origin. Still, the pacing isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds and the pages of exposition are punctuated with a healthy serving of action.

Pai-Doth Noor isn’t so much a villain character as he is a delusional one, making the true antagonist of this piece a bit harder to nail down. Yes, Pai risks Leonardo’s life on four separate occasions to achieve his own end, but Leonardo agreed to the terms of the contract when he came to Pai for aid in defeating the Worm-Shredder. And Pai certainly plays everything square; there’s no underhanded trick in his mission and not only does he follow through with sending them home once they’ve succeeded, but he thanks them repeatedly. He’s certainly not a bad guy, by any means, even if his hubris proved his ultimate undoing.

That would make D’Gello the next candidate for the villain role, but he’s pretty much just your bland dictator type. He appears to facilitate some exposition and we never even see him get overthrown at the conclusion. Really, I don’t think “Loops” HAS a typical cut-and-dry antagonist character, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either. There’s plenty of conflict and action to move the story along, so it doesn’t require a “bad guy” to function.

For whatever reason, Remender was only able to pencil the first 9 pages of this story. Ink and toner Mike Manley completes the remainder and does a really good job. His style isn’t exactly congruous with Remender’s, as he takes a much less angular approach to the Turtles which I rather liked. On some pages he appears to be making an effort to mime Rememder’s look, but more often than not he does his own thing. I suppose if I had any complaint, it would be that he draws 8-Leo looking as old as his adult counterparts on many pages, with really defined musculature and facial lines. Still, his action layouts are great and the change in art isn’t jarring; his style is different but not radically, so you transition pretty smoothly.

All in all, “Loops” is one of my favorite Leonardo-centric stories. While it has nothing on “What Goes Around… ...Comes Around!”, it beats the heck out of “Blind Sight”. If you don’t like Leo, I doubt this one will change your mind about him, but I think even his disparagers can appreciate “Loops”.

Grade: B (as in, “Brizuela’s frontispiece for this issue is worth picking the book up all by itself”.)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #13

Publication date: July, 2005

Plot: Murphy, Laird, Remender
Script: Murphy
Pencils: Rick Remender
Inks and tones: Mike Manley
Letters: Eric Talbot
Frontispiece: Kieron Dwyer
Letters page art: Dario Brizuela

“Loops, Part 1 of 2”


Frontispiece: As Leonardo chops the hand off a robot (or maybe a cyborg or maybe a guy in high-tech armor), he contemplates his philosophy on life. He has always walked the straight and narrow and believed that A will invariably lead to B. However, he is reminded of the one exception to that rule, when reality seemed to fold and loop…

In some weird Astral Plane, the mystical monkey-man, Pai-Doth Noor is nearing death. He has lived a long time and done many things, but fears having it come to an end. So, remembering a debt owed to him by Leonardo, he summons the Ninja Turtle.

Leonardo, meanwhile, is 8 years-old and living in the sewer lair. At a ceremony, Splinter tells him that he has finally graduated from his wooden practice sword to a true blade. Childishly enthused, he plays with the sword late into the night until he vanishes at Noor’s beckoning.

8-Leo finds himself in the Astral Plane alongside three other versions of himself plucked across the timeline: a 15 year-old Leo, a 45 year-old Leo and a Leo that’s over 100 years-old. Noor tells them that they are to fulfill their debt by taking a “gift” (a crystal) to the Cynocea who lives in a castle in ancient Egypt. 8-Leo is frightened, 15-Leo thinks the adventure sounds totally rad, 45-Leo is suspicious and defiant and 100-Leo seems to be the only Turtle to recall how things played out, but is keeping tight-lipped on the subject.

Noor sends the Turtles to the banks of the Nile in the dead of night, where a basket containing a baby floats gently by. 45-Leo sees a crocodile about to bite the basket and leaps in to save the baby. As the baby floats away to safety and the crocodile flees, 100-Leo reveals that they just saved Moses. Suddenly, a group of Egyptian warriors working for the Pharaoh attacks. 15-Leo defeats them all with ease, sending them into retreat. The warriors quickly return with back-up and the Turtles flee.

After losing the warriors, 15-Leo calls for a time-out. He thinks the very idea of walking and talking with versions of himself is weird and doesn’t understand why his two older selves aren’t saying anything. 45-Leo tersely explains that seeing what they were and can never be again is pretty damn depressing.

The Turtles eventually spot a towering castle and city behind a moat and wall on the horizon. They decides to make camp for the night and continue on in the morning. At the campfire, 15-Leo thinks life is going pretty great and wonders why 45-Leo is so surly. 45-Leo simply explains that things will be changing very soon for him. Meanwhile, 8-Leo follows 100-Leo, who has gone to mediate by himself. 8-Leo sees his older self hovering off the ground by sheer force of will and marvels at just how awesome he’s going to become in the future.

The next morning, the Turtles approach the city and find the villagers outside the wall pleasant and friendly. 100-Leo explains that in these simpler times, mankind is closer to nature and thus do not fear the strange quite so much. 45-Leo shakes his head, knowing that in a few generations, White Men will come and destroy the peaceful African civilizations and enslave the gentle locals.

By nightfall, the Turtles arrive at the bizarre and silent city, cross the moat (where 8-Leo has to contend with a man-eating fish) and scale the wall. Inside, the place reeks of cat urine and the markets appear to have been hastily abandoned. 45-Leo goes on ahead to scout and is attacked by two sword-wielding cat-people. He knocks one out, but the other gets the jump on him, slashing him across the shell…

Turtle Tips:

*The story concludes in Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #14.

*From 8 year-old Leo’s perspective, this story takes place between “The Lessons” and TMNT (Vol. 1) #9.

*15-Leo exclaims that life is simple and good where he comes from, seeming to imply he was taken shortly before the events of TMNT (Vol. 1) #1 (the Turtles were 15 in that issue).

*The reason 45-Leo is so cynical will be explained in Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #41.

*Leonardo was left owing Pai-Doth Noor a debt after the events of Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #4.


If there’s one thing I would have welcomed more of in the second volume of Tales of the TMNT, it would have been more story arcs. When the title began, two-parters came around at regular intervals, punctuating the episodic adventures that comprised the bulk of the run. “Loops”, unfortunately, would mark the end of the consecutive multi-parters and ongoing stories would be scattered amongst the episodic stories. By the late #20s, Tales would eventually eschew story arcs altogether, even in scattered episodes, and it would be a long time before we’d see any ambitious narratives again.

It could be a bit frustrating, as the editorial mandate to kill all multi-part narratives resulted in entire storylines being dropped and never completed, and in my opinion, was the culprit behind a creative lull around the middle of the title (Tales Vol. 2 was strongest at its bookends, if you ask me). “Loops”, however, closes one of the loose threads left dangling after “Worms of Madness” concluded (the other won’t be dealt with until Tales #33) and is stronger because it takes the extra time to flesh out the potential of its concept, rather than race to cram it all into 20-something pages.

While Murphy’s various political and environmental agendas had a habit of making his work seem stuffy (he doesn’t miss an opportunity to awkwardly rant about the evils of white slave-traders in this issue), he never-the-less has one of the better understandings of the core characters in the TMNT franchise. I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure he is in fact the most prolific author to work on the Ninja Turtles, having written more full issues than anybody else (thanks in large part to the lengthy run of TMNT Adventures). As a result, he succeeds in making each of the four Leonardos feel distinct, but never betraying their fundamental personalities.

Leonardo is often the “Cyclops” of the Ninja Turtles; the perpetually dull straight-man that is no fun to write because he can’t be as strong a subject as his more eccentric brothers. So while the idea of a story with FOUR Leonardos might sound rather loathsome on the surface, Murphy finds a natural way to make each incarnation stand out and play off one another for comedic and dramatic effect. 8-Leo is nervous and unsure of himself and just a bit childishly frightened. 15-Leo is youthful and reckless and used to a pretty sheltered, fun-loving lifestyle in the sewers (it’s clear he hasn’t battled the Shredder yet). 45-Leo is a cynical jerk, hardened and exhausted from years of struggle and loss (the fleshing out of this personality is of the better continuity nods in the otherwise irksome “Swan Song”). 100-Leo, meanwhile, is basically the “Splinter Jr.” he always wanted to be but refused to admit when his brothers teased him about it. I instinctively read him with Ed Asner’s voice and that automatically made him my favorite of the four.

The actual plot at work in this issue is somewhat thin (not really going anywhere until the second half of the arc); it’s really more an excuse to watch these four incarnations play off each other in different ways. As such, this half of “Loops” is more a character spotlight on Leonardo than anything plot-driven. The bit where they save Moses was a little hokey, but the issue needed some action and Murphy could have done worse.

Remender’s art is very slick; I’ve always enjoyed his take on the Turtles. At times he makes some gaffs, forgetting 8-Leo is supposed to be wearing a skull-cap bandana and sometimes drawing 45-Leo with 15-Leo’s sword sheath set-up (45-Leo is supposed to have them arranged in an X while 15-Leo is supposed to have them both at his right shoulder). Toner Mike Manley doesn’t help, as many of the bandana and identity mistakes come from him (shading the tops of heads like 8-Leo’s skull-cap bandana, or shading the top of his skull-cap bandana like his head). Regardless of these nitpicks, it’s still a very good-looking issue and Remender’s skill at action layouts really speaks for itself.

I’d say that “Loops” is probably less exciting than “Worms of Madness”, but it still qualifies as a good story. There are very few truly memorable Leonardo-centric tales out there, so I welcome any issues that manage to weave an entertaining adventure around such a dull character.

Grade: B (as in, “But admittedly, Ed Asner voices ALL the old people in my head”.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Archie TMNT Adventures continuity timeline


After I completed my previous research article, “The Mirage TMNT Continuity Timeline”, I began receiving requests to construct a similar chronological reading order for Archie’s TMNT Adventures series. For the most part, the Archie series is a far more intuitive, cut and dry read than the Mirage series. As such, there’s no need for a complex Key and color-coding system this time around.

Really, the primary confusion of the TMNT Adventures series involves discerning where the abundant miniseries and Specials should go in relation to the ongoing series. This would often prove more difficult than I had anticipated, as the stories published in the Specials tended to contradict the ongoing series from time to time. Additionally, the ongoing series featured a very tight-knit narrative, allowing for a slim number of storytelling gaps where the miniseries and Specials could place. As such, you’ll tend to find a lot of these stories bunched up in certain places.

For rationalizations on why I placed each story where I did, click “Review” and then scroll down to the “Turtle Tips” section of each individual article. Many stories are rather ambiguous and could take place more or less anywhere in the timeline (providing gaps in story serialization), so I often placed those tales where they “felt right”.

I’ve also included some notations at the end of this article for convenience, detailing certain anomalies or points of interest.

Anyhow, with IDW currently rereleasing Archie’s TMNT Adventures catalog in trade paperback form, the material is now easier to find and afford than ever before. They likely won’t be publishing them in proper story chronology, so with any luck, this reading order will prove a useful resource to collectors trying to read the whole story in sequence.



TMNT Adventures (miniseries) #1 – “Heroes in a Half-Shell! Part I” (review)
TMNT Adventures (miniseries) #2 – “Heroes in a Half-Shell! Part II” (review)
TMNT Adventures (miniseries) #3 – “Heroes in a Half-Shell! Part III” (review)
TMNT Adventures #1 – “Return of the Shredder, Part I” (review)
TMNT Adventures #2 – “Return of the Shredder, Part II” (review)
TMNT Adventures #3 – “The Incredible Shrinking Turtles, Part I” (review)
TMNT Adventures #4 – “The Incredible Shrinking Turtles, Part II” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #10 – “Zen Million Years to Birth” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #3 – “The Night of Monsterex” (review)
TMNT Meet Archie #1 – “Origin of the Species” (review)


TMNT Adventures Vol. 1 – “Metamorphosis” prologue (review)
TMNT Adventures #5 – “Something Fishy Goes Down” (review)
TMNT Adventures #6 – “Of Turtles and Stones and Mary Bones” (review)
TMNT Adventures #7 – “Intergalactic Wrestling” (review)
Mirage Mini Comics Collection story #3 – “A Forgotten TMNT Adventure” (review)
TMNT Adventures #8 – “Wild Things” (review)
TMNT Adventures #9 – “Codename: Chameleon” (review)
TMNT Adventures Vol. 1 – “Metamorphosis” epilogue (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #5 – “Yo-Ho-Ho! And a Bottle of Mutagen!” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #6 – “Doomsday Hassle in Banshee Castle” (review)
TMNT Adventures #10 – “Going Down?” (review)
TMNT Adventures #11 – “White Light” (review)
TMNT Adventures #12 – “The Lost World” (review)
TMNT Adventures #13 – “The Final Conflict” (review)


TMNT Meet Archie #1 – “Green Legs and Gams” (review)
TMNT Adventures #14 – “Leave Heaven Alone” (review)
TMNT Adventures #15 – “The Howling of Distant Shadows” (review)
TMNT Adventures #16 – “Dredging the Ocean Blue” (review)
TMNT Meet Archie #1 – “Red Sails in the Sunset” (review)
TMNT Adventures #17 – “Fight the Power” (review)
TMNT Adventures #18 – “Mondo Metal” (review)
TMNT Adventures #19 – “The Man Who Sold the World” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals (miniseries) #1 – “The Wild Angels” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals (miniseries) #2 – “Under a Big Black Sun” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals (miniseries) #3 – “Ride of the Ruthless!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #20 – “Sun and Steel” (review)
TMNT Adventures #21 – “Space Junk Face Funk Cyber Punk Thief” (review)
TMNT Adventures #22 – “Rat Trap” (review)


TMNT Adventures Special #4 – “Louie’s Pasture, Part 1” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #4 – “Pig Heaven, Part 2” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #8 – “Cleaver’s Critters” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #5 – “The Darkest Hour” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #6 – “The Darkest Hour II” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #3 – “Monsters are the Rage!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #23 – “Search and Destroy” (review)
TMNT Adventures #24 – “Gimme Danger!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #25 – “Raw Power” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #9 – “Full Circle” (review)
April O’Neil: The May East Saga #1 – “Lost Island of Past Lives” (review)
April O’Neil: The May East Saga #2 – “The Battle for Splinter’s Brain” (review)
April O’Neil: The May East Saga #3 – “Splinter’s Wicked Headache” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #7 – “It Takes Guts…” (review)
TMNT Adventures #26 – “The Keeper” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #1 – “If a Tree Falls…” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #1 – “The Last Sea Serpent” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #2 – “The Wrath of the Fire God” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #2 – “The Ghost of 13 Mile Island!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #27 – “In the Dark” (review)
TMNT Meet the Conservation Corps #1 (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #9 – “Be a Star” (review)
Unpublished – “Coney Island Days” (review)


TMNT Adventures #24 (back-up) – “It Started in… Chinatown” (review)
TMNT Adventures #25 (back-up) – “Dragon Rage” (review)
TMNT Adventures #26 (back-up) – “Questions” (review)
TMNT Adventures #27 (back-up) – “The White Ninja” (review)
TMNT Adventures #28 – “Midnight Sun, Part One” (review)
TMNT Adventures #29 – “Midnight Sun, Part Two” (review)
TMNT Adventures #30 – “Midnight Sun, Part Three” (review)
TMNT Adventures #31 – “Turning Japanese” (review)
TMNT Adventures #32 – “The Good, the Bad and the Tattooed” (review)
TMNT Presents April O’Neil #1 (back-up) – “Oo-La-La, Part One” (review)
TMNT Presents April O’Neil #2 (back-up) – “Oo-La-La, Part Two” (review)
TMNT Presents April O’Neil #3 (back-up) – “Oo-La-La, Part Three” (review)
TMNT Adventures #33 – “The Karma of Katmandu” (review)
TMNT Adventures #34 – “The Search for the Charlie Llama” (review)
TMNT Presents April O’Neil #1 – “You’re Fired!” (review)
TMNT Presents April O’Neil #2 – “The Chinatown Connection” (review)
TMNT Presents April O’Neil #3 – “Big Trouble Under Chinatown” (review)


TMNT Adventures #35 – “The Black Stone” (review)
TMNT Adventures #35 (back-up) – “Mah Name!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #36 – “Steel Breeze” (review)
TMNT Adventures #37 – “Stump’d Again!” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #1 – “The Mighty Mutanimals!!” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #2 – “Snake, Rattle & Roll” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #3 – “Deadheads” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #4 – “Days of Future Past” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #5 – “Bad Attitudes” (review)
TMNT Adventures #38 – “United we Stand, Divided we Fall: Part One” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #6 – “United we Stand, Divided we Fall: Part Two” (review)
TMNT Adventures #39 – “United we Stand, Divided we Fall: Part Three” (review)


Mighty Mutanimals #7 – “Armaggon…” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #8 – “The Cruel Sea” (review)
Mighty Mutanimals #9 – “Slash!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #40 – “1492” (review)
TMNT 30th Anniversary Special – "Paper or Plastic?" (review)
TMNT Adventures #41 – “…And Deliver us from Evil” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #7 – “The Return of… Monsterex!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #42 – “Future Tense” (review)
TMNT Adventures #43 – “Past Lives” (review)
TMNT Adventures #44 – “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” (review)
TMNT Adventures #45 – “Mutations” (review)
Donatello and Leatherhead #1 – “Hassel in the Hollow Earth!” (review)
Donatello and Leatherhead #2 – “Found: One Lost World!” (review)
Donatello and Leatherhead #3 – “Attack of the Amazons” (review)


TMNT Adventures #46 – “Fox Hunt” (review)
TMNT Adventures #47 – “The Eyes of Sarnath” (review)
TMNT Adventures #48 – “Out of the Blue (Into the Black)” (review)
TMNT Adventures #49 – “The Dream of the Blue Turtle” (review)
TMNT Adventures #50 – “Kill Them!” (review)
TMNT Adventures #51 – “Chameleons are Forever” (review)
TMNT Adventures #52 – “Shattered” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #10 – “Fox Trap!” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #10 – “A Perfect Evening” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #11 – “The Fifth Turtle” (review)


TMNT Adventures #48 (back-up) – “Megadeath, Part 1 of 7” (review)
TMNT Adventures #49 (back-up) – “Megadeath, Part 2 of 7” (review)
TMNT Adventures #50 (back-up) – “Megadeath, Part 3 of 7” (review)
TMNT Adventures #51 (back-up) – “Megadeath, Part 4 of 7” (review)
TMNT Adventures #52 (back-up) – “Megadeath, Part 5 of 7” (review)
TMNT Presents Merdude and Michaelangelo #1 – “Dawn of the Kraken” (review)
TMNT Presents Merdude and Mondo Gecko #2 – “Voyage to the Bottom of the Barrel” (review)
TMNT Presents Merdude vs. Ray Fillet #3 – “The Last Tsarnian: Introducing Bloho” (review)
TMNT Adventures #53 – “The Animus War, Part 1 of 2” (review)
TMNT Adventures #54 – “The Animus War, Part 2 of 2” (review)
TMNT Adventures #53 (back-up) – “Megadeath, Part 6 of 7” (review)
TMNT Adventures #54 (back-up) – “Megadeath, Part 7 of 7” (review)
TMNT Adventures #55 – “Terracide, Part One of Three” (review)
TMNT Adventures #56 – “Terracide, Part Two of Three” (review)
TMNT Adventures #57 – “Terracide, Part Three of Three” (review)


TMNT Adventures #58 – “Adrift”/“How the Pre-TMNTs Got Their Colors” (review)
TMNT Adventures #59 – “Blind Sight, Part One of Two” (review)
TMNT Adventures #60 – “Blind Sight, Part Two of Two” (review)
TMNT Adventures #61 – “Once, Again, Always” (review)
TMNT Adventures #67 – “Of Wolves and Men” (review)
TMNT Adventures #68 – “The Howling of Distant Tomorrows” (review)
TMNT Adventures #69 – “Twilight” (review)
TMNT Adventures #70 – “A Dusk, a Dawn” (review)
TMNT Adventures #67 – “North to Alaska, Part One” (review)
TMNT Adventures #68 – “North to Alaska, Part Two” (review)
TMNT Adventures #69 – “North to Alaska, Part Three” (review)
TMNT Adventures #70 – “North to Alaska, Part Four” (review)
TMNT Adventures #71 – “How the Turtles Got Their Weapons, Part 1” (review)
TMNT Adventures #72 – “How the Turtles Got Their Weapons, Part 2” (review)
The Year of the Turtle #1 – “Chapter One: Go, Go, Mutant Turtles!” (review)
The Year of the Turtle #2 – “Chapter Two: Snow Way Out!” (review)
The Year of the Turtle #3 – “Chapter Three: Story’s End!” (review)


TMNT Adventures #62 – “April O’Neil: The Angel of Times Square, Chapter I” (review)
TMNT Adventures #63 – “April O’Neil: The Angel of Times Square, Chapter II” (review)
TMNT Adventures #64 – “April O’Neil: The Angel of Times Square, Chapter III” (review)
TMNT Adventures #65 – “April O’Neil: The Angel of Times Square, Chapter IV” (review)
TMNT Adventures #66 – “April O’Neil: The Angel of Times Square, Chapter V” (review)
Furrlough #47 – “Ninjara, Part 1” (review)
Furrlough #48 – “Ninjara, Part 2” (review)
Furrlough #52 – “Chapter Three: Seed of Destruction” (review)
TMNT Adventures #62 – “Dreamland, Part 1 of 5” (review)
TMNT Adventures #63 – “Dreamland, Part 2 of 5” (review)
TMNT Adventures #64 – “Dreamland, Part 3 of 5” (review)
TMNT Adventures #65 – “Dreamland, Part 4 of 5” (review)
TMNT Adventures #66 – “Dreamland, Part 5 of 5” (review)


TMNT Meet Archie #1 – “Storm Drain Savers” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #8 – “Ninjara vs. Mondo Dog Catcher” (review)
TMNT Adventures Special #11 – “E = MC Zip Lock” (review)


*TMNT ADVENTURES: The main TMNT Adventures series was mostly written by one man: Steve Murphy (using the pseudonyms “Dean Clarrain” and “J.D. Vollman”). As such, the narrative is heavily serialized, with one story leading directly into the next. However, wherever there were breaks within the pacing, that’s where I found it best to place stories from the miniseries and Specials. You’ll likely notice quite a few stashed around the “Slash Trilogy” (after TMNTA #22 but before TMNTA #28). That’s because, the trilogy aside, several one-shot stories were utilized as monthly filler during this period while the back-up serial caught up with the schedule so as to prelude the “Midnight Sun” arc. As such, that left plenty of room to throw in stories from the Specials.

*TMNT ADVENTURES SPECIALS: The TMNT Adventures Specials were a series of quarterly editions, each containing two to three stories. The stories in these Specials often occurred in different eras across the timeline of the ongoing, and the letters page even stated as such to soothe confused readers. These proved the most difficult to slot-in, as some contained contradictory elements (the 4-part arc between Special #1 and Special #2 was said to take place prior to TMNTA #5 in the letters page, but the stories-themselves contained references to later events) while others featured guest appearances from characters when there’s scarcely any opportunity for them to show up (Man Ray’s appearance in Special #6 is especially problematic). Still others contained an art style very chaotic and different than that seen in the ongoing. Be that as it may, I endeavored to include everything unless it made a positively irreconcilable contradiction to the series.

*THE MINISERIES: Perhaps the most important of the ancillary TMNT Adventures comics were the miniseries, which often acted as epilogues to story arcs in the ongoing or weaved in and out of issues, containing vital chapters. The placement of some could be a little bizarre (the Merdude miniseries acts as an interlude during the “Megadeath” back-up serial), but they were perhaps the easiest to fit, as they contained specific references to stories and events.

*THE MAY EAST SAGA: The lone exception is the May East Saga, which was originally published as canon to the TMNT Adventures ongoing (characters exclusive to the miniseries received biographies in the Mutant Universe Sourcebook #2) only to later be rendered non-canon by Special #11 (the events being written off as nothing more than a dream). “It Takes Guts…” is the only story to directly reference the events of the May East Saga, meaning it must be considered nothing more than a “dream”, as well. I refrained from placing both stories in the NON-CANON category simply because they were initially written to be part of continuity and were removed after the fact. And if you haven’t guessed, it’s because they were terrible.

*THE FUTURE: Toward the end of the ongoing, Murphy began writing several stories taking place in the not-too-distant to very-distant future. I grouped them here in chronological order: The April story takes place in 1999, the Ninjara story in a non-descript high tech future, and the “Dreamland” story a hundred years from the present of TMNT Adventures.  The Ninjara serial was published after the cancellation of TMNT Adventures in an... "adult" magazine.  As a result, it contains nudity, cursing and gore and will likely never be reprinted with the rest of the TMNT Adventures material.  It was also never completed and ends on a cliffhanger.

*THE FOREVER WAR: “The Forever War” was originally intended to be Steve Murphy’s story arc spanning TMNT Adventures #71-75. However, editorial issues at Archie resulted in the cancellation of that storyline. It was later intended to be completed by Mirage Studios in 2009, but the sale of the TMNT brand to Viacom resulted in the story being mothballed once again. It is as yet undetermined if it shall ever be completed and published. For more, see my article, “Whatever Happened to the Forever War?” then e-mail IDW and tell them how much you want it.

*NON-CANON: Generally, I tried to avoid labeling something “non-canon” as much as possible. TMNT Adventures featured a wide array of artists, each with their own radically different visual style. So with that in mind, I didn’t feel it appropriate to designate something “non-canon” just because it looked weird (the issues by Milton Knight, for example). The stories under this category were placed there because they contained fourth wall-breaking elements (“Storm Drain Savers”), cartoonish gags incongruous with the atmosphere of the series (“E = MC Ziplock”) or positively irreconcilable contradictions in character origins (“Ninjara vs. Mondo Dog Catcher”).