Script, pencils, letters: Rick Veitch
Colors: Steve Lavigne
Cover: John Totleben
Outside, Casey takes a walk in the pouring rain.
*This story is continued from Casey Jones #1.
*The first 7 pages of this issue (numbered 25 through 31) were originally printed in black and white in Plastron Café #4.
“North by Downeast” comes to an explosive conclusion and it’s still one of my favorite Casey stories to reread.
It’s gory and crazy and weird, but the tale moves at a swift pace, hurling Casey from one insane predicament to another, and you can hardly tell that the thing was serialized when taking it all together. The only real artifact of the serialization style is the break between the two issues of the miniseries (they cut off Part 4 just as it was getting started rather than breaking the story cleanly in two after Part 3). As a result, the miniseries has a weird non-cliffhanger at the end of issue #1 and a perplexing non-introduction at the beginning of issue #2. Again, they really should have divided the serial cleanly in two for the miniseries publication, but I suspect there may have been some problem regarding page numbers per issue that resulted in the weird split during Part 4.
Anyway, even if you think Casey fighting lobster-men from Neptune sounds a little stupid, “North by Downeast” is probably the best trip inside of Casey’s head since TMNT (Vol. 1) #14. Veitch’s inner monologue for Casey shows a great understanding of his character; Casey isn’t necessarily stupid, but a guy who prefers to rely on his gut instinct as opposed to over-thinking a situation. Or as Veitch words it, “I don’t think. I do!”
Whether you take Casey’s story as having actually happened or not is up to you, but either way I think it works just fine (the Turtles have met stranger foes than alien lobsters, so I wouldn’t rule this out for “silliness”). As an imaginary story, it fits right in with Casey’s other spotlights in tales like “Casey Jones: Private Eye”, “The Unmentionables” and “Casey in Point”. Casey has always been shown to exist in his own little fantasy world (this is a guy who put on a mask and decided to become a vigilante superhero, after all) and he has a pretty wild imagination (he was shown dabbling in art in "Fun with Guns" and "I, Monster"), as well as a tendency for the melodramatic (his Cryptkeeper-style presentation of this horror-themed story rings similarly to his film noir-style presentation of the private eye-themed “The Unementionables”).
While “North by Downeast” is far from essential, I think it acts as a great compliment to “The Unmentionables” and the other Casey-centric stories from earlier in the run of TMNT. Such stories show a younger, wilder Casey more willing to indulge his own delusions and fantasies, which I find to be a far more fun interpretation of the character than the hard-drinking, bar-brawling drunk that would eventually hit rock bottom by the time of “City at War”. Either way, Casey is inevitably forced to grow up and put away his immature attitudes and delusions, which sort of made the character less interesting in the later volumes. While I wasn’t quite so sad to lose the “douchebag drunkard” side of the character, I did come to miss the “runs away with his own imagination” aspect.
Grade: A (as in, “And bikini or not, I don’t think there’s anything less attractive than a woman smoking a corncob pipe and talking like a scurvy sea captain”.)