Originally published in: TMNT New Animated Adventures #14
Publication date: August 13, 2014
Story: Landry Q. Walker
Art: Marcelo Ferreira
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow
“Mikey & the Machine”
In the kitchen, Leo and Don are giving Mikey a hard time about his lack of focus. Mikey takes it personally and storms out of the lair. Raph, of all Turtles, tells his brothers that they were being too hard on him.
On the rooftops, Mikey is pouting when Baxter Stockman attacks him in his remote-controlled Turtle Catcher 3000. The big tentacled robot grabs Mikey up and stuffs him inside its barrel-shaped body.
Down in an alley, the other Turtles are looking for Mikey so they can apologize. Suddenly, they get a call on their T-Phone from Mikey, telling them that he’s trapped in a robot. Right on cue, the Turtle Catcher 3000 bursts through a brick wall and begins pounding on them. Leo and Raph start to fight back, but their attacks rattle Mikey inside. They’re helpless to destroy the machine from the outside without hurting their brother.
Mikey then calls Donnie and tells him that he can deactivate the robot from inside if Donnie just guides him through it. Donnie doesn’t think Mikey has the focus to follow his instructions, but concedes that there’s no other choice. Donnie begins trying to tell Mikey which wires to cut, but soon overthinks the situation and can’t come to a consensus. He then gets smacked by the robot and loses his T-Phone.
On his own, Mikey has to decide which wire is the most important. He eventually comes to the conclusion that ALL the wires are important and pulls them all out. The robot deactivates and releases Mikey. The Turtles compliment their brother on his focus and Mikey begins to explain how he solved the problem… until he’s distracted by a penny on the sidewalk. Ha ha ha.
*Given Baxter’s face on the robot’s TV monitor head, this story has to take place before the season two episode, “The Lonely Mutation of Baxter Stockman”.
This was the stronger story in New Animated Adventures #14, I think. It has a lesson to be learned, yeah, but it works the moral or whatever into the plot a bit better than other attempts at the same formula. Sure, it’s convenient that every major conflict the Turtles encounter just happen to thematically connect to something they were personally struggling with just minutes beforehand, but hey, the cartoon is guilty of that shtick, too.
The comics, both from the US and UK, seem to treat Baxter as a bit more of a menace than the cartoon ever has. I don’t mean “threat”, because his schemes are always shallow and easily overcome, but “menace” in that he certainly bothers the Turtles with his giant robots and Stockman-pod armor much more in the comics than in the show. It’s good to see more of him, don’t get me wrong, but it’d be nice if he would do something other than just pop up in a robot at random.
“Mikey & the Machine” is the 8-page B-story of the issue, so there isn’t much more content to discuss in something so thin. Between the giant parasitic wasp and the Turtle Catcher 3000, this was sort of an all-Baxter issue (well, he DID create the wasps, after all, even if it was going solo). For a guy whose inventions fuel the conflict of both stories, he hardly participates in them directly.
Grade: C (as in, “Can’t wait until New Animated Adventures catches up with season 2 of the cartoon and maybe we can start seeing all those one-off toy-based villains that the season was inundated with show up for more stories”.)