Saturday, May 9, 2015

Natural Enemies, Part 2


Originally published in: TMNT New Animated Adventures #22
Publication date: April 29, 2015

Story: Paul Allor
Art: Dario Brizuela
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow

“Natural Enemies, Part 2”

Summary:

At the pier, the Turtles fight their way out of Spider Bytez’s webbing and then make a break for it as Spider Bytez and Baxter Stockman rain acid down on them.  Spider Bytez corners them into a dead end and hurls webbing balls filled with acid at them.  They scale the shipping containers and keep running as Spider Bytez gives chase.  Donatello finally knocks the arachnid down to the ground and the other Turtles tell him to surrender.


It was all a distraction, though, as Stockman comes plowing through in a truck hauling the red shipping container full of gold.  Leonardo finally asks Spider Bytez why he would work with Stockman and the slob tells him about their gold heist plan.  Leo explains that gold is only shipped in blue containers, meaning Stockman is pulling a fast one.

Furious, Spider Bytez knocks over the truck and opens the container.  It’s full of robot scrap; the very thing Stockman said he was going to buy with the “gold”.  Spider Bytez turns on Stockman, who offers him half the robot parts.  Before he can throttle Stockman, Spider Bytez sees a truck hauling a blue container and chases after it.  Raph asks Leo how he became such an expert on shipping containers and Leo admits that he made the whole thing up.


Later, back in the lair, the Turtles tell Splinter that they were able to chase Stockman and Spider Bytez off once they stopped working together.  Leo also admits that it was his fault the villains began a partnership in the first place.  Splinter assures him that screwing up when your're young only means you’ll grow up to be wise.  This excites Michelangelo, who figures he’ll grow up to be a genius.


Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from “Natural Enemies, Part 1”.


Review:

This is about as interesting as Spider Bytez has ever been.  I think teaming him up with another villain helps a lot; he’s pretty boring on his own but operates as an interesting foil when paired with someone else.  Beyond the spider and fly thing, teaming him with Baxter Stockman was a good choice, seeing as how Spider Bytez is a slovenly clod and Stockman is a genius.  The two played off each other pretty well, even if this wound up feeling a little short (though both parts combined for a full-length 22 pages).

Allor’s script is perhaps a little too preoccupied with breaking the fourth wall and satirically poking fun at itself.  It opens with the realistic revelation that spider webs, no matter how big, could never hold a person.  The narration even interacts with the characters to set up the gag.

Donatello gives a lengthy explanation as to how Spider Bytez could put his acid in a ball of webbing without it immediately eating through the webbing, eliciting commentary from Michelangelo.  It’s another lampshade moment, yeah.

Then there’s the bit where Don remarks that he preferred Spider Bytez and Baxter Stockman as humans, perhaps echoing some fan criticism of the cartoon, as a number of folks found the mutant henchmen more interesting before they were mutated.  Personally, I think that’s entirely true for Bradford and Xever, though Stockman and Spider Bytez don’t seem to have suffered much in the transition.

I don’t mind all the self-aware jokes, really, it just seemed like Allor crammed a few too many into 12 pages.  All things considered, though, this was a pretty fun two-parter.  The season one mutants seem to be mostly forgotten in favor of the newer action figures, so just on principle it’s nice when a story remembers they still exist and drags them out of limbo.  Snakeweed can stay there, however.


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