Publication date: June, 2006
Tones assist: Erik Swanson
*Continuity-wise, I would place this story during the Mirage "Volume 3" era.
*The children of Pangea are never seen or referenced again. We never learn what became of them.
*Incidentally, the fact that the Pangean humans were scattered about the universe may very well explain the existence of the human-like aliens seen populating outer space (mostly amongst the Federation) as far back as Fugitoid (microseries) #1.
*The prophecy will fulfill itself as human civilization is destroyed by global warming in Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #69.
*According to Steve Murphy in the letters page of Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #25, this story was originally conceived as an issue of Archie's TMNT Adventures, but went unused.
And so Steve Murphy gives us an issue of Tales that feels like it was a lost script from Archie’s TMNT Adventures.
Unfortunately, it’s reminiscent of the bad TMNT Adventures, not the good TMNT Adventures.
Story structure-wise, it’s similar to the Archie comic in how reactionary the Turtles are, not to mention how lackadaisical they are about the sanctity of their sewer lair. They’re just chillin’ and some weird robots show up so they invite them to hang back at their place; no biggie. The setting of the Turtles living in the sewer lair only gives it so many places it could fit in the Mirage timeline, as they spent less time living in the sewers in that series as you might think.
What makes “Rock of Ages” reek like a rotten issue of TMNT Adventures is the heavy handed environmental message, delivered with the utmost amount of damning finger-wagging as humanly possible. It’s nothing we haven’t heard before from Murphy a million times over the past twenty years. By 2006 the guy’s work has all the allure of a broken record.
The children of Pangea are never seen or heard from or referenced again and neither is the mysterious super civilization of Earth’s past. As a result, this one-shot tale feels meaningless, amounting to nothing more than a vehicle for more of Murphy's trite and ill-executed messages. I was able to suffer Murphy’s way of bloating TMNT Adventures with annoying, frequent, terribly blunt environmentalist mumbo jumbo because it was a kid’s comic and he subscribed whole-heartedly to the notion that “kids are stupid and incapable of perceiving subtlety”. The Mirage comic, on the other hand, seemed to be targeted almost exclusively at adult collectors (or those were pretty much the only people buying the thing), so did we really need an issue where Murphy talks down to us about the environment like we’re a bunch of mentally handicapped 7 year-olds?
As a saving grace, Mike Hawthorne’s art isn’t half bad, with a great flow of action between the panels and some handsomely rendered characters. He especially excels at drawing the cityscape of New York as well as military vehicles and carnage. A shame he got saddled with such a lousy script.
Grade: F (as in, “For the zillionth time, Murphy: WE GET IT.”)