Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fast Footin'


Originally published in: TMHT Adventures #21
Publication date: November 3 - 16, 1990

Plot: Andrew Donkin and Graham Brand
Art: Mick Austin

"Fast Footin'"

Summary:

Down in the lair, the Turtles are about to dig into some pizzas when Splinter tells them that April is making an emergency call via the Turtle Com.  The TMNT check it out via... the television (?) and April informs them that she's investigating the Toxco Chemical Factory in New Jersey.  She's found evidence that they've been dumping waste into the Hudson river, but fears she might have been spotted.  Her transmission is cut off when the factory boss sneaks up behind her and grabs her.


The Turtles hightail it ("fast foot it") to Toxco in the Turtle Van, bringing their pizzas along for the ride.  They sneak under the chain-link fence, but are soon attacked by guard dogs.  Donatello offers them their pizzas and the dogs become docile.  Leonardo gives them one of April's notepads to sniff and the canines lead the Turtles to the room she's being held in.


Inside, the factory boss has April chained to a toxic waste barrel on a conveyor belt heading to a sludge vat.  Once dunked, she'll be chopped up by a propeller and her remains dumped in the Hudson.  The Turtles crash through the wall in the Turtle Van and confront the factory boss.  He responds by summoning his robot guards.

As the other Turtles fight the robots, Leo jumps onto the conveyor belt to free April.  He cuts her loose from the barrel, but not before both of them plunge into the vat.  They're soon sucked toward the propeller and can't get out.  With the robots defeated, Donatello and Raphael run to catch the fleeing factory boss while Michelangelo swoops in on a dangling hook and chain to fish Leo and April out of the vat.  The factory boss is quickly captured and Mikey gets a kiss from April for his efforts.


Later, the Turtles watch April's report on Channel Six, enjoying the news that Toxco will no longer be polluting the river.  The Turtles all lament the horror of pollution and Splinter tells his pupils to practice what they preach by cleaning up the pizza boxes they've left all over the lair floor.


Turtle Tips:

*This story was published alongside "The Green Menace" in the same issue.


Review:

With a title like "Fast Footin'", you'd expect this comic to involve the Foot Clan in some capacity.  But NO!  That would be too obvious.  And Fleetway likes to keep its readership on their toes.

So instead, this story features a combination of the most common element of the Fred Wolf TMNT cartoon (April needing to be rescued) and the most common element of the Archie TMNT comic (environmentalism).  So much for keeping you on your toes.

Predictable as the plot may be, the art from Mick Austin is a nice break from some of the other Fleetway guys who constantly resort to tracing their own poses over and over again.  The draftsmanship is pretty nice (particularly on the splash page where the Turtles are peeking into the window of the room April's being held in) and I do like the flatter coloring style on this installment.  The usual glossy highlights are used judiciously and it isn't as overly painted as other Fleetway Turtle comics (the excessive painted coloring style always made the comics look too heavy and dark).

The rest is all puns and plenty of nonsense.  Why does the factory boss have an army of robots at his disposal?  Why does Mikey suggest they use the Turtle Launcher to get over the fence only for his suggestion to be completely ignored when the Turtles decide to crawl under it?  Why is the Turtle Com transmission being displayed on the television and not the actual Turtle Com?  Why am I even bothering?

One last note is that Splinter calls the Turtles "my sons" in this comic.  Although any familial relationships between the characters was absent from the Fred Wolf cartoon, he actually DID refer to them as "my sons" at least once in the first season of the cartoon.  So I won't chalk that up as an error on the part of the writers.  God, I'm so generous.  YOUR WELCOME, British guys who wrote a cartoon tie-in comic 26 years ago.  You owe me one.

4 comments:

Adam Winters said...

Good observation about the "my sons" comment. Having read most of the Fleetway original stories, I think the writers probably operated from a Season 1 only canon for the OT. Or even more likely, Dooney's 3-issue Heroes in a Half Shell adaptation comics. That's why we see many Foot Soldiers and Mousers as recurring threats and Krang, Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady follow Dooney's designs so closely. The good guys are limited to the turtles, Splinter, and April but never the rest of the Channel 6 crew like Irma. And although there are mobsters and occasional mad scientists to offer a rogues gallery variety from the Foot Clan, we never get introduced to any post-season 1 villains like Rat King, Leatherhead, or Baxter Stockman in Fly form.

Anonymous said...

Looking at these Fleetway stories, it makes you realize how bad Archie TMNT might have been had Murphy not been the main writer of the series.

Without Murphy, my guess is Archie would have just had random stories loosely based on the original cartoon like these Fleetway comics. No new stories or mutants, no new concepts...just random shit.

I feel sorry for our UK counterparts who grew up with these.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if April needs to be rescue is so common after all. It may be partly a myth. The most common plot is probably Shredder and Krang needing to re-power the Technodrome, which means Bebop and Rocksteady breaking into a power station.

This was published in 1990, and pollution is at least one of the most common elements for any early 1990's book, film, comic, TV-series, videogame or stageplay of that time. Far beyont limited to Archie or even TMNT in general.

Talking of New Jersey, isn't that where the Toxic Crusaders cartoon is set?

Phil A said...

Oh my god, I remember this one. I must've read these comics over and over as certain images are burned into my memory even after the actual stories were long forgotten, the guy in the hard-hat grabbing April in this case. So I guess the art made an impression, if nothing else.

The Fleetway strips are such an oddity in the TMNT canon. It's a shame the UK stories were so lame, because when Fleetway were given free reign with a licensed property, like on Sonic The Comic, they could do good things. I'm guessing they had an editorial edict not to deviate from the TV show bible in any way.

It's funny, as kids we never quite figured out why there was such a huge disparity between the US and UK strips, it was just confusing as to why they kept stopping the ongoing story to have random adventures of no consequence. Just to add to the bewilderment, only certain issues appeared on the newsstands so if you missed one, you wouldn't always have a clear idea when a storyline began or ended, because suddenly the Turtles would be back in New York with Shredder & Krang again.