Script: Vollman (Murphy)
Edits: Fulop and Gorelick
Cover: Chris Allan and Octavious Spore
Story: Gunther Jones and Eric Talbot
Art and letters: Jim Lawson
Colors: Barry Grossman
Edits: Fulop and Gorelick
“North to Alaska, Part Two”
Out in the wilderness, Inky has assimilated into the pack of wolves, though he would rather be eating canned dog food than freshly killed moose. Following a sound, the alpha male leads the pack to a cabin where he finds his mate trapped behind an electric fence.
*This story is continued from TMNT Adventures #67. The story continues in TMNT Adventures #69.
*This issue also contained an Inky back-up story by Jones, Talbot and Lawson.
Just something I found out today while doing a bit of googling, but a “Mark Volman” was the lead singer of a popular 1960s rock band called The Turtles… Which I think explains the genesis of Murphy's new "J.D. Vollman" pseudonym.
Why he’d take on a second pseudonym, I don’t know, but by this point in TMNT Adventures, Murphy’s relationship with Archie’s editorial staff had just about disintegrated. If you look at the credits page for this storyline, they’ve dropped the silly occupation designations for Victor Gorelick and just call him “editor”. Fun’s over, I guess.
And speaking of the fun being over, that’s kind of what the “Moon Eyes Saga” really amounts to: four issues of tedious teen romance and melodrama. While I felt perfectly comfortable with Ninjara’s decision to leave Raph, as it actually read like a valid one, the story just drags about two issues longer than it ever should have. There’s no levity to the “Moon Eyes Saga”, just two angsty mutants fighting over another angsty mutant while April worries about radioactive Eskimos and was that an Indian? Yeah. Nothing says “fun’s over” like including an American Indian in a story. Get ready for lengthy soliloquies about the plight of his people.
As for Mokoshan, the bait and switch in regards to last issue’s cliffhanger felt pretty cheap. Last issue ends with Mokoshan swearing to kill them all, then this issue opens with him essentially saying, “Oh, never mind. One of you is hot”. I think my only real problem with the Mokoshan/Ninjara romance is that Mokoshan… doesn’t look like a teenager. In the slightest. The defined features, heavy lines under his eyes and humongous build make him come off more as a guy in his thirties. Ninjara, meanwhile, is a teenager.
So yeah. Kinda messed up.
The worst thing about this issue is the conversation between Ninjara and April. the two have almost never intereacted exclusively with each other before now and this wasn't a superb start. Actual dialogue: “Nothing did happen… But at the same time everything happened, you know?” Jeez, how hammy and ponderous can you get? It goes on for two pages with each clump of dialogue carrying the insipid “everything and nothing” theme which is like something a bad fanfic author would conceive as deep and meaningful.
As always, the saving grace of any lesser issue of TMNT Adventures is the solid artwork by Chris Allan. While Ninjara taking a bullet for a bunch of wolves seemed pretty ridiculous, the two-page spread where she gets shot is very well rendered and appropriately dramatic. Allan really nails a lot of Ninjara’s expressions in this issue, particularly her smitten face after meeting Mokoshan.
Also, lots of red blood in this one. Normally an Archie no-no. Crazy.
While the “Moon Eyes Saga” certainly addresses a fundamental problem in the relationship of two characters, it’s about twice as long as it needs to be and we’re only halfway through.
Grade: D (as in, “Didn’t Mokoshan’s mate die, like, a day ago? The guy rebounds pretty fast, doesn’t he?”)