Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Flavor of Fear: Part 1

Publication date: January 21, 2015
Originally published in: TMNT New Animated Adventures #19

Story: Landry Q. Walker
Art: Chad Thomas
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow

“The Flavor of Fear: Part 1”


The Turtles have been assigned a stake-out mission by Splinter to watch over a construction site (actually, the rat just wanted some peace and quiet).  Unfortunately, just across the street, a Lucky Star’s Mega Pizza Shack Super Arcade Funhouse has just opened and the temptation proves too much for Michelangelo.  While Leo and Donnie are asleep, Mikey sneaks off to get a few slices.  Raph, on watch, lets him go on the condition that he bring him back something.

Sneaking into the backroom, Mickey steals a karate hamster mascot costume and works his way into the parlor.  His disruption draws the attention of the other mascots (Snyder J. Sausage, Hot Sauce Harry and Mr. Magnificent Meeps) who chase him down.

Back on the roof, Leo surprises everyone with a pizza he snuck off and got earlier.  He’s ticked that Mikey left before he could present it, but the Turtles decide to just eat it without him.  They fail to see that the mushrooms on the pie have weird eyeballs and as soon as they finish, they begin to feel woozy.

Suddenly, they’re attacked by the Kraang who have taken Splinter hostage.  The Turtles meekly surrender and lay down their weapons.  It’s all just an illusion, however.

Inside Lucky Star’s, the mascots drag Michelangelo (who can’t get his brothers to respond on the T-Phone) out of the supply closet and to the big cheese-himself: Pizza Face!

Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT New Animated Adventures #18.  The story continues in “The Flavor of Fear: Part 2”.

*Obviously, this story takes place after the season 2 episode “Pizza Face”.

*I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that Michelangelo disguising himself as an “Adorable Cartoon Karate Hamster” was a reference to the Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters.  Created by Don Chin in 1986, they were the first parody of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

*While Mikey dresses up as a hamster in the actual comic, the cover features him garbed in a chicken costume for some reason.


So let me get this straight… IDW has published a TMNT comic featuring Pizza Face which is also a parody of “Five Nights at Freddy’s”?

There isn’t any good reason this shouldn’t be my favorite thing ever.

So thanks to the Nick cartoon introducing Pizza Face last season, IDW is finally able to do a comic featuring him.  As has been noted in the past, I absolutely adore Pizza Face.  He’s my favorite underutilized character of all time (emphasis on the “underutilized).  The episode of the Nick cartoon he premiered in was a blast and I’ve been counting the minutes until IDW finally caught up and put him in their spin-off book.

While this Pizza Face is, naturally, the “Pizza the Hutt” inspired version from the new cartoon, you can see that author Landry Walker delved into his old Playmates action figure bio for a bit of inspiration.  In that summary, Pizza Face’s MO involved stalking the Turtles by taking over various pizzerias around New York and feeding them pies laced with deadly toppings.  With this story, the modern Pizza Face lives up to the ill deeds of his ‘80s predecessor and does exactly what his old bio says he did. 

Of course, his “deadly” toppings are only hypnotic instead of, you know, DEADLY, but I’ll take what I can get.  In the cartoon, he brainwashed people with his gross toppings so he could bake them alive and EAT them, so that’s actually about 1,000x more horrible when you stop to think about it.

I said earlier that this story seems to be a parody of the popular video game “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and I may be jumping the gun, but it seems pretty legit.  Evil mascots from a kiddy pizza parlor going crazy and breaking down the door to get at the guy holed up in there?  C’mon.  Maybe Walker should have been more on the nose and locked Mikey in the security office instead of the supply closet, but that’s okay.

As for that game, it's simple and fun.  You can hate it for being “overrated” or “one-note” or whatever, but for five bucks you get your money’s worth.

Overall, perhaps I’m giving too much love to this first half of a story just because it features Pizza Face, but you know what?  I ain’t apologizin’ for shit.  I love Pizza Face.

Grade: B+ (as in, “Before anyone tries to call me out, the Nick cartoon parses his name as ‘Pizza Face’ while the old toyline had it as a single word, ‘Pizzaface’”.)


Anonymous said...

If I missed it in the review I apologize, but aren't those the mutant mushrooms from Fungus Humungous? Because that's a brilliant team-up

Mark Pellegrini said...


I actually didn't catch that one!

Adam Winters said...

Pizza the Hutt... Makin' it Great!