Story: Steve Murphy
Inks: Eric Talbot
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).
*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 “callous” 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”.)