Script: Steve Sullivan
Art: Brian Thomas
Colors: Freddy Mendez
Editors: Scott Fulop and Freddy Mendez
Managing editor: Victor Gorelick
“How the Turtles got their Weapons, Part 1”
*The prologue of this story is continued from TMNT Adventures #70. The story continues in TMNT Adventures #72.
*The Pre-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles last had a flashback in TMNT Adventures #58.
*Slujjcorp was first introduced in “If a Tree Falls…”
*This issue also contained a reprint of “Origin of the Species”.
With all the staff shake-ups, it’s pretty clear in this issue that Archie’s TMNT Adventures title had fallen into a fatal state of turmoil. Not only did this story come out a month late, but it’s only 15-pages long. “How the Turtles got their Weapons” is really only a 1-issue story, broken in half to cover two, with reprints filling out the rest of the page space. With Murphy and Allan off the team, and the already advertised “Forever War” story arc now cancelled, TMNT Adventures was rendered confused and directionless.
So what we get is delays, an unobtrusive flashback story and a bunch of reprints to cover collective editorial asses while the powers that be get their shit together. Well, the proverbial fecal matter was never successfully rounded up and TMNT Adventures will meet its end next issue.
While “How the Turtles got their Weapons” certainly wasn’t the story readers were expecting, it’s still a decent little flashback tale. I’ve said it before, but Brian Thomas is really one of the most overlooked artistic talents in the title’s stable. As far as mixing action and cartoonish expression goes, he was pretty much the next best thing to Chris Allan. Had TMNT Adventures continued on with Thomas as the regular artist, the book would still have maintained an excellent visual standard. I particularly liked his design for Lynda; he seems to have a lot of fun with her hair.
In regards to Sullivan’s script, it’s kind of funny. Murphy was let go by Archie’s editors because they thought his scripts were too dark and too violent. While this has nothing on Hitler blowing his own brains out or zombies getting dismembered, Sullivan’s script for this story has its own edge of death, tragedy and menace that the Archie editors were supposedly trying to distance the book from.
As it happens, my favorite part of this issue is the flashback-within-a-flashback, as Splinter recalls his days in New York as Hamato Yoshi, before the Shredder mutated him. The Fred Wolf cartoon almost never dwelt on Splinter’s past as Yoshi beyond the second season and TMNT Adventures, though it offered a more detailed background, still glossed over it more often than not. So any glimpses of his human days strike me as being special, as I’ll admit to greatly preferring the “Yoshi-is-Splinter” origin over the “Yoshi’s-pet-rat-as-Splinter” origin (Mirage purity be damned).
Never the less, this is just 15 pages; a single issue cut down the middle and sold for twice the price ($1.50 an issue in 1995, sure, but I had to pay $7 bucks a piece for these on the aftermarket). And because of the bisecting, the plot point this story is title after, the Turtles choosing their own unique weapons, is completely absent from this half of the narrative. I think I finally understand how all you British people feel whenever you get American comics reprinted and chopped to pieces to stretch the material out over as many months as possible.
Grade: B– (as in, “But after some thought, Lynda’s design reminds me a lot of Relena Peacecraft from ‘Gundam Wing’.”)