Monday, September 2, 2013

TMNT (Dreamwave) #7


Publication date: December, 2003

Written by: Peter David
Pencils by: Lesean Thomas
Inks: Erik Sander
Colors: Stuart Ng, Jong-im Lee, Sigmund Torre
Flats: Kenny Li
Letters: Matt Moylan
VP/Editor in Chief: Roger Lee
President: Pat Lee
Cover: Skottie Young

“Kali Flower”

Summary:

Outside the Second Time Around shop, Dheeraj and Jaya are having a makeout session.  April interrupts them, as it’s time for Dheeraj to get to work.  Inside, Dheeraj brings up the Turtles within earshot of customers and April pulls him aside for a little chat.  She tells him that their existence must remain a secret, and if he respects the Turtles, he’ll keep his mouth shut.


That night, in the alleys, Casey Jones and Leonardo bust up some punks.  Leo asks Casey what he knows about the Thoogs and Casey says that they’re a weird gang of pseudo-cultists, out to resurrect ancient gods.  Casey tells Leo where he can find their hideout (an old theater), then hops on his motorcycle and leaves.  Leo heads to the roof where he’s met by his brothers.  The other Turtles insist on helping him deal with the Thoogs and Leo reluctantly accepts the offer.  Together, all four Turtles pile into the Sewer Sled and head to the theater.

Elsewhere, Dheeraj arrives at his family’s apartment only to be greeted by Mangesh, the leader of the Thoogs.  Mangesh explains that the Thoogs have taken Jaya hostage and if Dheeraj doesn’t join up with them, they’ll kill her.  Dheeraj agrees to join their gang and Mangesh tells him to meet up with the Thoogs at midnight at the old theater.


The Turtles arrive at the theater through the rear entrance and spot the Thoogs on stage.  Jaya is tied up and they’re performing a ritual to summon Kali.  Leonardo thinks and realizes that just beating the Thoogs up won’t be enough to stop them from tormenting Dheeraj; they need to scare the punks straight.  Donatello looks around at the leftover theater props and figures he can work something out.


Dheeraj makes it to the theater and attempts to hoist Jaya up to the catwalk by her ropes.  He’s spotted and Mangesh prepares to kill their sacrifice.  Suddenly, a giant robed, four-armed figure wielding swords and sais appears on stage.  Its Leonardo disguised as Kali, of course.  Using the booming audio equipment, Mikey tells the Thoogs that Kali is outraged at their impudence.  He swears to swears to destroy all the Thoogs for bothering him with their foolish ritual.  On cue, Don shuts off the lights and the Turtles beat down all the Thoogs.  Mangesh attempts to flee, but is knocked out by Dheeraj.  “Kali” vanishes and Dheeraj and Jaya leave together.


Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT (Dreamwave) #6.  Although it is the last issue, material for the partially completed issues #8-10 were later published as bonus content in the trade paperback collection.

*Contrary to popular belief, the cancellation of Dreamwave’s TMNT comic had NOTHING to do with Dreamwave’s bankruptcy.  Dreamwave closed down in 2005, almost two years after this series was canned.  The Dreamwave TMNT comic was cancelled because it sucked, end of story.


Review:

This has to have been the absolute WORST string of TMNT comics I have ever read.  Every issue ranged from bad to terrible, with boring stories, boring characters, incompetent pacing and incompetent art.  There is nothing redeeming about Dreamwave’s Ninja Turtles comic; it’s only saving grace is that you can get each issue for a quarter, I suppose.

This final issue (which wasn’t meant to be the final issue) finishes up Dheeraj’s storyline, as the Turtles find a way to keep the Thoogs off his back.  Hey, remember when the Turtles used to fight bad guys like the Shredder?  Apparently, that stuff is dullsville, man.  Episodic tales where the Turtles teach valuable life lessons to inner city children, THAT’S where it’s at!

Dheeraj is as obnoxiously milquetoast a character as ever.  Needless to say, he hasn’t the charisma to carry a two-issue story arc.  I wonder if David had plans to keep him around as a major supporting character in the series?  I’m grateful the comic didn’t last long enough for me to find out.

Apparently, the next issue would have begun a story arc called “T4: The Turtlenator” which the comic had been advertising for a few months.  The solicit says that Baxter Stockman’s Mouser mainframe would have gained sentience and, angered that the Turtles “killed” her “children”, seek revenge by building a robotic doppelganger called the Turtlenator.  The ads even call out that it’s featuring the enemy from the 2003 Konami TMNT video game, trying to make some sort of tie-in with it.  Wasn’t the evil robot called the Turtlebot in the Konami game?  Whatever, it doesn’t matter. 

While the teasers for the Turtles fighting the Turtlenator may have looked promising, let’s not kid ourselves.  The issues would have suffered from all the same scripting and art problems that plagued the entire run of the Dreamwave series.  It may not have been as boring as three straight issues of the Turtles helping kids deal with “real life” problems, but it would have been terrible in its own unique sort of ways, I’m sure.

As for the art in this issue, I’m tired of pointing out all the same fundamental problems.  Instead, I’d just like to mention how hilarious it is that this issue had FOUR colorists and they STILL got bandana colors wrong on a couple pages.  All that and Matt Moylan screws up the lettering, assigning the wrong dialogue to the wrong Turtle.  And he’s the guy in charge of Udon Studios, now?  Can’t say I’m surprised.  It takes some powerful incompetence to spend ten years publishing Street Fighter comics that won’t sell.

Anyway, I’m just glad to have this dark cloud lifted from over my head.  I’ll never have to read these fucking things ever again.


Grade: F (as in, “Finally.  I can live again”.)

7 comments:

Mark Rodriguez said...

lmao. You bring up the point I keep telling people. The DW TMNT comic were cancelled cause they suck, not cause DW went down, cause I KNOW they were still making Transformers Armada comics after the Turtles were done.

And again, based on these comics alone, we go from Casey randomly fighting Raph to suddenly being buddy-buddy with all four of them.

T4 might have sucked, but I still say it would have helped make the comic last longer if they just went with that story for issue 5 and skipped these other stories.

Anonymous said...

Still its a shame the 2k3 series never had any cartoon tie-in comic. The Archie series was a counterpart to the original cartoon, and the Nick animated comics are a nice addition to the Nick cartoon. Meanwhile the 2k3 series just got the shortlived Dreamwave run.

Man, the 2k3 series really did suffer from, "middle-child" syndrome, didn't it? As great as that cartoon was, its almost entirely sandwiched inbetween everything else now. Its like only the hardcore fans even still talk about it. Maybe 5 years from now we'll see all the kids who grew up with the 2k3 run finally come to online forums and get nostalgic for it, that would be funny.

Adam Winters said...

Man, I REALLY wish I could have bought up all these issues for a quarter a piece! But in all my years of scavenging the bargain bins of various comic shops across multiple cities, I've never seen any of them priced for less than a dollar!

Issue 7 was the last one I needed to complete my "collection" (cough), but I passed on it for probably about 3 years before buying it just so I could have some reference for reading your review. So, yeah, I finally paid a little over $3 for it (the same copy that had sat around for all those years). At least I did get to own a physical copy of the Cheshire Cat bit. Those 2k3 Turtles really had that joke coming, IMO.

Arun said...

Thanks for doing these reviews, Mark. I almost considered blowing $2 to check out an issue of this series on comiXology a while back. I guess I was hoping for something that supplemented and added to the world of the 4Kids series (now that I'm watching it in its entirety) and it's a shame that it turned out as badly as it did.

I wouldn't say Thomas is a terrible artist going by some of the stuff I've seen on his deviant art, but yeah, the stuff on display here isn't all that impressive. The number of colorists and other hands contributing to a single freaking issue really doesn't do the artwork any favors, either.

Well, you have my and my wallet's gratitude, Mark. Keep up the good work!

Mark Pellegrini said...

@Arun

$2 bucks an issue? Comixology must be trying to pull a fast one or something. Yeesh.

Looking back over my reviews, I'm a little embarrassed at how vitriolic they are, but I don't think any of my criticisms are without substance. I endeavored to point out exact scenes and provide scans to back up my nitpicks, after all.

I hear Lesean Thomas has found his calling in the animation industry doing layouts, storyboards, directing, etc. That's all well and good and the shows he's been assigned to have been highly regarded. As a cartoonist, however, he simply lacked the fundamental skills to tell a story in the comic book medium. Developing a unique style is important, but before an artist can do that, they need to understand the basics of anatomy, scale, perspective and composition. You can't go to college until you've graduated from kindergarten. Thomas wasn't there yet.

But yeah, there's been much too much negativity these past few weeks thanks to the Dreamwave series. I'm ready to get back to some GOOD Turtle comics.

Arun said...

@Mark

I dunno, I may give Dreamwave TMNT a shot at some point, but at $2/issue for a comic that apparently wasn't very good? Yeah, that's moving waaaay down my priority list. I spend enough on comics every month as it is.

I do agree with what you say about Thomas's skill though. I can only assume this is much earlier work, but that doesn't excuse the obvious shortcomings in his work (given this was a professional gig and all). I think you were fair in the assessment, and seeing the scans helps, since I never saw what the interiors for these books looked like. I'm always studying the comics medium myself, as I hope to produce my own some day.

On a side note, I do enjoy your reviews. It's got me thinking about jumping on a review project for the Archie Sonic books I keep putting off.

Austin Reed said...

I'm thinking about trying to remake issues 8 through 10.