Publication date: February, 1996
*This story is continued from The Year of the Turtle #1. The story, and the TMNT Adventures universe, concludes in The Year of the Turtle #3.
*This issue was originally published with 2 bonus pin-ups by Frankie Teran and Pitoick & Hanson.
Like a lot of three-part stories, the middle section is the weakest. Not that part two of The Year of the Turtle is a bad adventure, it’s just more forgettable than the opening and concluding chapters.
I think its primary flaw is how terrible Shredder’s reject super villain henchmen are. While they’re certainly a welcomed break from idiot mutants and mindless robots… They still suck. Honestly, there can’t possibly be a superpower more embarrassing than the ability to create a keytar out of thin air.
This issue’s successes hinge more on Haynes’ kickass art than anything else, as he renders the action sequences in Slott’s script with incredible flare. All the set pieces look amazing, from the glorious two-page splash introducing the hidden temple to the goofy snowboard/shell chase down the mountain (which probably would have qualified as “awful” had anybody else drawn it).
My absolute favorite moment in the issue, though, is when Shredder storms the desert battlefield and just starts WRECKING tanks and infantry with his bare hands like it was child’s play. Haynes’ pencils just come to life in that amazing splash page, as hundreds of soldiers scramble in vain to stop him, as jets and helicopters levy missiles at him and tanks fire rounds of ammunition to no effect. For a villain who was more often than not an ineffectual joke in this comic, Haynes’ splash page of the Shredder effortlessly annihilating an entire army practically redeems him in a single stroke.
The cliffhanger, though, is a solid hook. Slott does a great job of foreshadowing it with Yoshi’s ominous narration at the start of the issue, and while the slapstick race down the mountain was a bit groan-worthy, the pay-off wasn’t. If anything, The Year of the Turtle is a miniseries that keeps you on your edge and coming back for more, even when it hits its own relative low.
Grade: B- (as in, “But c’mon, making forts was the best part about being a kid”.)