Originally published in: TMHT Adventures #22
Publication date: November 17 - 30, 1990
Story: James Nichols
Art: Sandy James
(credits taken from Holiday Special reprint)
"Help! Where's the Pizza?"
In the Technodrome, the Shredder is reviewing footage of old battles against the Turtles, trying to deduce a way to beat them. Suddenly, he realizes that without pizza, the Turtles would grow weak and helpless. Gathering Bebop, Rocksteady and an army of Foot Soldiers, the Shredder begins a campaign of laying waste to every pizzeria in the city.
Down in the lair, the Turtles are waiting on their pizza order when Leonardo comes running in. He has bad news: Half the pizza parlors in the city have been destroyed. Sensing the Shredder's handiwork, the Turtles race to the surface. They find the Foot about to trash to last pizzeria in town, Pizza Shop, but manage to scare them off. Leo decides that 24 hour guard duty is the only solution and the Turtles make camp at Pizza Shop.
It's quiet for a while, at least until Shredder, Bebop and Rocksteady return, piloting the Pizza-Eating Robots (bipedal brontosaurus-looking things). The Turtles take down the Pizza-Eaters, but they aren't quick enough to stop a bomb from destroying Pizza Shop. Triumphant, the Shredder retreats.
Desperate for pizza, the Turtles decide to hit the one "pizza parlor" that the Shredder doesn't know about: The pizza stash they keep in the lair! The Turtles return to the lair, only to find it trashed and Splinter unconscious on the floor. Their sensei regains his senses and explains that Shredder and his goons were too many for him and they destroyed all of the Turtles' emergency pizza supplies. Defeated, the Turtles slump into a deep depression. Realizing he needs help, Splinter calls on April O'Neil and together they come up with a plan.
Back at the Technodrome, the Shredder is coming up with his next evil scheme now that the Turtles are on the verge of starvation. April then appears on the news and reports that the city government, wanting to help the Turtles in their time of need, will be baking a world record-shattering giant pizza to present to them as a gift during a ceremony in Central Park. Infuriated, Shredder orders all of his forces to converge on the park and destroy the giant pizza.
The Shredder does just that, leading an army of Foot Soldiers and Pizza-Eaters toward the giant pizza on display in the park. Getting near it, Bebop discovers that the "pizza" is made entirely out of gunge. April then climbs a scaffold and shoves the giant pizza onto the Foot, trapping them in the sticky substance. Shredder, Bebop and Rocksteady break free, but with the Foot Soldiers and Pizza-Eaters destroyed, and the Turtles rallying, they've no choice but to retreat.
The day saved, April leads the Turtles to the actual reward offered by the city: Two truckloads of fresh-baked pizzas.
*This story was published alongside "Fast Flush!"
*This story was reprinted in the TMHT Holiday Special #1.
*"Gunge" is a British word for "slime". Apparently.
You know, I actually think the Fleetway comics capture the spirit of the old Fred Wolf TMNT cartoon better than the Archie comics did. I say this because the Archie comics aspired to be more than what the companion cartoon was. The Archie comics, for both good and ill, had ambition. But the Fleetway comics? These things hew closer to their mediocre source material, but that isn't always a disparaging sort of deal. Just like the Fred Wolf cartoon, the Fleetway comics are this baffling combination of inspired weirdness and half-assed shoddiness that makes them memorable beyond all tangible merit.
I mean, just look at this issue. Much of the art is traced or look-and-copied from artwork that appeared in other issues of both the Fleetway and Archie books. Look at Leonardo hacking into the Foot Soldier in the title page up at the top. Familiar?
It's a look-and-copy job of Michael Dooney art, no doubt about it. Yet also look at how much effort was put into the painted colors seen throughout this issue. That shit takes TIME.
The story, too. I mean, there are incongruities, like the Shredder knowing where the secret sewer lair is, invading it off-panel, and leaving Splinter alive and uncaptured just to destroy some pizza ingredients. But at the same time, the plot of the Shredder trying to starve the Turtles to death by destroying their singular source of nourishment is just crazy enough to work. Or at least carry 13 pages. Like I said, there's this weird juxtaposition of "actually trying" and "completely not giving a shit" throughout these comics that utterly boggles the mind.
On the subject of the Shredder, he is NUTS in this comic. It's funny, because the UK "Hero Turtles" stuff is typically viewed as being more sanitized than their American "Ninja Turtles" counterparts. I mean, they can't say "ninja", Mikey can't use his nunchakus, etc. But then LOOK at some of those selected panels I put in my summary. Shredder is blowing up buildings and burning half the city to the ground and he's loving every minute of it. This is some violent shit, at least in terms of property damage.
But much like the Fred Wolf cartoon, the Fleetway comics are best taken in small doses. If I were to marathon these stories, I'd get sick of them pretty quick. Also, I really wish these comics had consistent credit pages. You can sometimes tell who the artist is by just looking (I think this is Sandy James?), but I'm not really familiar enough with the Fleetway in-house crew to make unsourced definitive statements on who did what.