Pencils: Chris Allan
Letters: Gary Fields
Story: Gunther Jones and Eric Talbot
Art and letters: Jim Lawson
Colors: Barry Grossman
Edits: Fulop and Gorelick
“North to Alaska, Part Four”
Entering through the front door that the redneck fur-poachers left open, the wolf pack attacks. The wolves chase the rednecks out the back door and to the pen where the she-wolf is being kept. The lead redneck attempts to shoot the wolves, but Inky bites his arm and makes him drop his gun.
*This story is continued from TMNT Adventures #69. The story continues in the prologue of TMNT Adventures #71.
*Future-Raph warned present-Raph of his break-up with Ninjara in TMNT Adventures #44.
*Ninjara was originally intended to return in TMNT Adventures #74. That issue and it's storyline were never published (only a pencilled and inked cover were completed). She won’t be seen again until the future-set storyline Furrlough #47.
*Mokoshan’s ultimate fate will be revealed in Furrlough #48.
*We never find out if Inky ever gets reunited with Tattoo, sadly.
*The Hype section of this issue contains an ad for “The Forever War”, supposedly beginning next issue. That storyline wound up being cancelled with Steve Murphy and Chris Allan’s departure from Archie Comics. For more on this, read my research article, “Whatever Happened to the Forever War?”
*This issue also contained a bonus Inky story by Jones, Talbot and Lawson.
The “Moon Eyes Saga” concludes and Ninjara. Is. OUTTA HEEEEERE!
Obviously, you can tell that this wasn’t meant to be the end of Ninjara. Murphy (Vollman) was clearly setting up some character arcs, particularly with Revyen and that scheming look she makes as Raph and Mokoshan fight. I got the impression that Revyen didn’t cotton to Ninjara too well and may have had her heart set on replacing Nei’Sha as Mokoshan’s mate (and thus setting herself up as “queen”). All presumption on my part, but that seems like the typical direction these things go.
As far as Mokoshan goes, the guy is just a mess of a character. When introduced, he’s a violent and threatening creature that swears death to the Turtles the moment he meets them. Next, he’s a smooth charmer that instantly puts the moves on Ninjara. After that, he’s a melancholy widower, lamenting the death of his lost love. And here, he’s now a pacifist that doesn’t look for trouble, has no interest in hurting others even when they try to provoke him and is quick to forgive and forget.
You just can’t get a bead on this guy.
The end result is that he’s incredibly sloppy; his personality does an about-face whenever it’s convenient to the plot. Need him to be a snarling villain for a thrilling cliffhanger? Sure! Need him to be an irresistible canine Casanova to woo Ninjara away from Raph? Okay! Need him to be a grieving victim to garner sympathy from the audience? Why not! Need him to be a mellow, gentle giant that refuses to fight and doesn’t make enemies? Hell, he’s been everything else!
And it isn’t like Ninjara is the last female anthropomorphic canine on the planet, either. Beyond just Revyen, the village is shown to be populated by plenty of wolf-women. So it’s not like he put the moves on her because he had no other options… The guy just instantly forgot about his dead mate (her corpse probably not even cold yet) and immediately started chasing some teenage tail. And, again, the fact that this guy is drawn to look much, MUCH older than Ninjara just makes things really gross.
Like I said, Mokoshan is just a total disaster.
What I did enjoy about this issue is Ninjara finally putting Raph in his place. I said this in my review for the very first installment of the “Moon Eyes Saga”, but Ninjara basically outgrew Raph and you can't really blame her. The way she puts it in this issue makes it clear that she’s over her “bad boy” phase, which was a take on the matter I absolutely liked. She sees Raph for the selfish, immature, volatile jerk that he really is and has the epiphany that she can do better.
Of course, she kind of overshoots in her search for a more “mature” man and winds up hooking up with a guy in his 30s or 40s. Ninjara just makes a lot of bad decisions when it comes to her love life. She ends up having Mokoshan’s kid, too.
And one more thing: Why the hell is she wearing a bikini on that cover? And please, don’t say “sex appeal”.
The subplot involving the US Government dumping toxic waste in Alaska is more environmental pap. It is entirely superfluous, along with the mutant polar bears (Hell, they could have been just regular polar bears and served the same purpose), and only included for the sake of some contrived finger-wagging. I thought at first it would be an explanation for the wolf-people, but it wound up not even having that level of impact on the story (the wolf-people are “natural mutants” like the fox-people). It’s just utterly pointless filler that turned two issues-worth of story into a tedious 4-part affair.
As for Inky… The greatest tragedy of TMNT Adventures’ untimely cancellation was his loose end. Oh Inky, did you ever make it home? I stay up at night, wondering…
Grade: D (as in, “Did Ninjara just faint again? She’s done that at least four or five times between this and last issue”.)