Publication date: May 25, 2016
Originally published in: TMNT Amazing Adventures #10
Story and art: Caleb Goellner & Ben Harvey
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow
Publisher: Ted Adams
"Fly me to the Moon"
On the rooftops, the Turtles are enjoying some post-patrol pizza when Michelangelo notices that the moon is full. Again. For the third night. Donatello says that's impossible and goes to his lab to check on it.
After much research, he concludes that Renet hasn't caused any time-space distortions, Sir Malachai isn't playing a game with them, and the Dream Beavers aren't messing with their heads. That can mean only one thing...
Donatello suddenly wakes up in one of Baxter Stockman's laboratories, hooked up to a virtual reality simulator. Baxter reveals that he lured the Turtles into an ambush and kidnapped Donnie, hooking him up to a VR simulation while he was unconscious. Baxter wants to drain Donnie of all his intellect. Donnie headbutts Baxter before he can put him back in the simulation and his brothers arrive soon after to rescue him.
After deleting all the downloaded info from Baxter's computer, the Turtles ask Donnie how he was able to realize he was in a simulation and fight it. Donnie looks up at the full moon and thanks Michelangelo.
*The series continues in TMNT Amazing Adventures #11.
*The Turtles met Renet in the season 3 episode "Turtles in Time", Sir Malachai in the season 2 episode "Mazes & Mutants", and the Dream Beavers in the season 3 episode "In Dreams".
This one seems like it was pitched as a full-length story and then awkwardly trimmed to make it fit a back-up. Donatello escapes from the VR simulation after 3 pages. The remaining 5 pages consist of Donnie sitting in a chair and listening to Baxter Stockman describe his plan (a plan that is thwarted on the final page, making all that talk a waste of time).
The pacing is terrible for a back-up. The majority of the story should have been Donatello in the simulation trying to figure out why little nuances of reality don't add up, then escaping in the last one or two pages. Or maybe he keeps thinking he's escaped from the simulation, only to repeatedly notice something "off" and realize he's still in it. ANYTHING but what we got: 3 pages of something interesting, 5 pages of talking about it.
We could have had a story that's essentially a play on the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Perchance to Dream", or maybe an "Inception" parody. Instead, we got a whole lot of nothing.
Also, Harvey's pencils and layouts are fine and all, but it looks like he boarded his pages at different dimensions than he was supposed to. The panels are... shrunken to fit the page width-wise, leaving huge expanses of empty space at the top and bottom. As a result, all the characters look smaller than they should. Oddly, the last page seems to be the only one with correct dimensions. So I dunno what was going on.