Publication date: April 13, 2016
Originally published in: TMNT Amazing Adventures #9
Story and Art: Caleb Goellner & Ruairi Coleman
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow
In the dojo, Leonardo and April are doing some weapons sparring when Leo accidentally knocks April's tessen (fan) into a narrow fissure where no one can reach it. Worried what Splinter will say when he finds out, April begs Donatello to figure out a way to get her tessen back... and fast!
Donnie has a solution already in hand: Mini Metalhead. He's rebuilt Metalhead, albeit without the interfering Kraang tech and at a handheld size. Unfortunately, Mini Metalhead's battery life is short and he'll only be able to search the fissure for a few minutes.
Metalhead journeys down the fissure and meets up with one of Donnie's old spy roaches. Riding it like a steed, Metalhead travels down a pipe into a septic tank where he finds the tessen, and four Squirrelanoids, embedded in sewage. Metalhead dislodges the tessen, but the Squirrelanoids converge on him. Spying an old fire extinguisher, Metalhead ruptures its tank. The pressurized blast sends him and the tessen flying back up the pipe and out the fissure.
April retrieves her tessen just as Metalhead's battery life dies and he powers down. As Leonardo and Raphael hurry to patch the fissure up, Michelangelo notices that Donnie seems sullen. Donnie plucks up Mini Metalhead and says he has to follow up on something.
In his lab, Donnie thanks Metalhead for his service and, looking over some blue prints for a full-scale Metalhead, promises to rebuild him better than ever.
*The series continues in TMNT Amazing Adventures #10.
*Metalhead was destroyed in the season 2 episode "Metalhead Rewired".
*The spy-roaches appeared in the season 1 episode "Cockroach Terminator".
*The Squirrelanoids were re-trapped in the city septic tanks by the Turtles in TMNT New Animated Adventures #24, in the story "Favorite Haunt, Part 2".
Man, Nickelodeon Donatello sure loves to make promises to other characters and then never follow through on them. He promised to restore Mutagen Man back to normal, didn't he? How much progress has he made on that? (I think Mutagen Man might be dead, actually) And he promised to rebuild Metalhead someday after the little robot attained sentience and sacrificed himself to save everyone. Whatever happened to that? I swear, the only reason he followed through on de-mutating Kirby O'Neil is because he wanted to impress April and maybe get laid.
Well, this story follows up on that thread of Donnie promising to rebuild Metalhead. We see he's been at least tinkering with the concept a bit. The middle of the story is completely silent, as Metalhead traverses the sewer pipes in search of April's fan. What's nice is that there are moments where Metalhead stops and contemplates his next move, showing that even in mini size, he retains some of his individual intellect and isn't just a mindless drone again.
As far as visuals go, Coleman doesn't seem like the right artist to pair with Goellner. Goellner writes in a lot of cartoony visual gags, like Donatello zipping away and leaving behind a cloud of smoke in the shape of his body; stuff like that. Coleman's style is a bit more "serious", or at least doesn't lend itself to Looney Tunes shtick so well. It ends up looking really awkward. When the story gets away from that stuff and we follow Mini Metalhead into the sewers for his pantomime adventure, the aesthetic finds its place and the pieces fit a lot better.
I think I enjoyed this backup more than the A story in this issue, but perhaps that's because I like Metalhead a hell of a lot more than Napoleon Bonafrog. Take it as you will.