Friday, September 7, 2012

TMNT Adventures #72


Publication date: October, 1995

Story: S. Sullivan
Art: B. Thomas
Colors: F. Mendez
Edits: S. Fulop and F. Mendez
Axe Grinder: V. Gorelick
Cover: Thomas

“How the Turtles got their Weapons, Part 2”

Summary:

Prologue: Down in the sewers, April asks Splinter to stop keeping her in suspense. Splinter stares out through the storm drain and continues his story…


Leaping into action, the Turtles attack the four bionic saboteurs with their bo staffs while Splinter escapes the martial arts school with the unconscious Lynda. The bionic saboteurs prove formidable foes, busting the bo staffs of Leo, Mike and Raph (Don’s is the only one to make it unscathed, as he is most proficient with the weapon). The Turtles make due, however, as Leo uses his broken halves as escrima, Raph uses his splintered half to disarm his enemy with the three jagged prongs and Mike ties his two halves together with his bandana and uses them to trip his enemies.

The Turtles send the saboteurs tumbling down the stairs, but the villains use their flamethrowers to set the building on fire, trapping the Turtles inside. Raph takes charge and leads the Turtles to the martial artis weapon shop on the first floor. Leo, Mike and Raph then grab some fresh weapons (katana, nunchakus and sais) and head out into the streets to catch the saboteurs.


Proving more skilled with their unique weapons, the Turtles take down the saboteurs, destroying their bionic suits. As Lynda comes to, Splinter tells his pupils to vanish before she sees them.

Later that evening, the leader of the saboteurs is revealed to be Don Tower, the contractor in charge of building the new Slujjcorp skyscraper intended to go where Lynda’s martial arts school currently stands. Shelton Slujj pulls up in his limo and assures Lynda that he had no idea Tower was trying to force people off the land to build his skyscraper. Slujj offers to compensate her for all her loses and change his building plans so as to include her martial arts academy in the design. Lynda happily accepts his offer.


As Lynda goes over the wreckage of her school, Splinter appears to her in the shadows to see that she’s okay. Lynda recognizes his voice as belonging to her old friend Hamato Yoshi, but Splinter refuses to let her see him, fearing she would find his appearance terrifying. Lynda doesn’t care what he looks like and the two old friends reunite. Splinter then introduces her to the Turtles and Lynda offers them a reward: They can choose one of any weapon in her shop. The Turtles wind up fighting over a boomerang.

Epilogue: Laughing, Splinter reveals that Leo, Mike and Raph eventually chose the weapons they use now, while Don got the boomerang. Don later lost the boomerang and went back to using his bo staff. April asks whatever became of Lynda and Splinter tells her to look out the storm drain. April takes a peek and sees Lynda’s martial arts academy prospering, now integrated into Slujj’s shining skyscraper.


Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT Adventures #71. The present-day bookending narrative will continue in Year of the Turtle #1.

*The Turtles would eventually meet Shelton Slujj themselves in “If a Tree Falls…”.

*This issue also contained a reprint of “Red Sails in the Sunset”.


Review:

And so TMNT Adventures, the longest running Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic of all time, goes out on something of a whimper.

“How the Turtles got their Weapons” was actually a pretty fun story with some great Brian Thomas art, so I can’t really get behind the hate it receives. It’s not a great ending, no, but it clearly wasn’t meant to be anything approaching a conclusion. It’s just a cute filler story (that definitely shouldn’t have been broken in two). I guess it gets a lot of flak for not being “The Forever War”. Ah well.

Despite its title, the subplot in which the Turtles select their unique weapons is sort of secondary to the main story revolving around Lynda. The way the story ties into the 4-part arc from the first two TMNT Adventures Specials was a nice touch and helps make the universe of TMNT Adventures feel all the more solid. I was actually afraid that the shadowy boss-man was going to be revealed as Shelton Slujj and totally contradict his characterization in those stories, but Fulop pulled a fast one and had Slujj show up at the end; the same kind-hearted but environmentally neglectful guy he’s always been.

On that note, I kind of wish Don Tower had been somebody else; a previously established character. When they do the reveal (in a Scooby-Doo parody), the fact that he’s a guy we’ve never heard of kind of undercuts the suspense.

Not much else to say about this final issue, which might actually be its sole damning quality. The series goes out without much fanfare or noise. There’s still the Year of the Turtle miniseries, though, to give us a proper conclusion (at least until “Forever War” gets published… maybe).

Grade: B (as in, “Brian Thomas… I wonder what he’s up to, today? It’d be pretty cool if IDW dusted him off for a Microseries or some trade paperback covers or something”.)

3 comments:

ShezCrafti said...

Mark, I just wanted to tell you thanks for all of these great reviews you've done of the TMNT Adventures. You've helped fill in all the gaps from what little of the TMNT Adventures I've read/collected over the years. I want to start purchasing all the digital editions as they get released on Comixology, but not much exists so far and I'm impatient, so these posts have been great to get my Archie TMNT fix.

Also, I just recently read your '25 Greatest Moments in TMNT History' articles over at AiPT and wanted to tell you how awesome I thought both of those were as well.

Mark Pellegrini said...

@ShexCrafti

I appreciate the feedback!

I'm going to try and do more TMNT cartoon reviews over at AIPT in addition to my comic reviews here at TMNT Entity; that way I can get double the Turtle content out of my system.

After I review the Year of the Turtle miniseries, I'll post a TMNT Adventures Continuity Timeline similar to my Mirage one, so hopefully you'll find that useful when gathering all your Archie TMNT comics together to read in proper story order.

Thanks again for the support!

Chet said...

Thanks Mark for your great reviews on the Archies!

For the past year now I've been reading your blog, and your reviews on this book took me back to a part of my childhood that'll probably stick with me for the rest of my adult life. Great seeing some of those images back again after all those years. Especially Chris Allen's work and Michael Dooney's stuff was wonderful.

I still have my TMNT comic collection boxed on my parents' attic somewhere, and each time I visit your blog, I want to sit down and re-read them. Perhaps I'll finally take the time to do that as the holidays come around.

Also, thanks to your reviews, I finally have some better understanding of the Turles' Achies universe as a whole, which I didn't quite 'get' as a child, nor ever revisited later on - perhaps due to a "healthy" lack of interest in the franchise in my teens and later discovering that Mirage stuff was in fact "the real deal".

But by now, I learned to love the Archies for what they were, with growing appreciation for some of the latter story lines, which didn't really stick with me after reading them the first time around (pretty much the final year of the book, which I now see as a whole lot of wasted potential for a pretty awesome and mature comic book for many years to come).

Reading this final review kinda made me sad on how the book ended (has it already been 17 years?!?), fairly unglamorous and rather briefly, plus it made me think back about the months I dwelled by the shelves full of comic books, hoping the series were just delayed.

By some point, mid-1996, I'd given up hope on the book ever returning, and accepted the "loss" by focussing my attention to other stuff. By that time, I was a teen myself, and the Ninja Turtles were barely more than some hardly looked-after action figures collecting dust in my bedroom.

Yet my love for the "heroes in a half shell" never truly died. It's still unconditional, if not as passionate as two decades ago, but every time I visit your blog, I again feel like that little boy gazing towards those shopping mall shelves for that freshly plastic-sealed new issue of TMNT Adventures (my late grandmother bought it for me monthly, until she passed away in August '94).

It has been fun reliving those days one bit at a time, so I'll be looking forward to reading your cartoon reviews as well (I haven't seen a full episode since at least 1995). Also, I really enjoy your reviews on the IDW series, which contain a lot of nice surprises for the old fans.

Keep up the great work! Cowabunga, dude!