Publication date: May, 2006
Plot: Dan Berger and Peter Laird
Breakdowns: Jim Lawson
Letters: Eric Talbot
*This story is continued from Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #8.
*The Turtles last met the Utroms in “Terror by Transmat”.
*Kuroda references the TMNT’s escape from the Triceraton Homeworld in TMNT (Vol. 1) #6.
*Chronologically, Leatherhead will return in Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #50.
*The Utroms will commend Leatherhead for his work in stopping the Illuminated Utrom Alliance in TMNT (Vol. 3) #24.
*Ribky was seen driving the truck that lost the ooze in TMNT (Vol. 1) #1. He escaped from Earth with the rest of the Utroms in TMNT (Vol. 1) #7.
*The Turtles will learn the full extent of the "Multiverse" in Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #58.
If “Attack of the Replicants” has one drawback, it’s that the title monsters play an ultimately small role in the comic, only menacing the Turtles for 3 pages before being taken out with a machinegun. For those hoping to see the Turtles fight a horde of Leatherhead clones, that can be just a little disappointing.
Misdirecting title aside, though, this was still a satisfying conclusion to Dan Berger’s “Leatherhead trilogy”, tying up all the loose ends begun way back in TMNT (Vol. 1) #45 and bringing poor Leatherhead some much needed closure. All the poor guy ever wanted was to be reunited with the Utroms, but in the end he finally realizes that he’s happier on Earth. Exactly why, I’m not so sure, since all he ever did on Earth was mope around in the sewers, building a transmat. To each his own, I suppose.
Sadly, Leatherhead’s future won’t be too peaceful, as he’s kidnapped (again) and forced to endure a “The Most Dangerous Game” parody, then continues his mood swings well into Vol. 4, bouncing back and forth between “Bruce Banner” and “Hulk” at random. Last time we ever see him, he’s stuck in “Hulk” mode, battling Gameraph for raw meat.
We can’t all have happy endings, I guess. And this is about the closest to a happy ending Leatherhead will ever get.
The reveal that Ribky was the Utrom driving the waste van was a nice nod to continuity and this issue’s big shocker. Ribky regarding the Turtles and Leatherhead as his “children” might have been pushing it a bit, but I can definitely see how a character described as unerring in his duties would feel responsible for the creatures he accidentally gave sentience to. His final speech to the Turtles was a nice moment, as was Kuroda’s eulogy in the final pages.
Berger’s “Leatherhead trilogy” is a little all over the place, probably due in part to the installments each having been written with many years between them. In reality, it’s actually a 4-part story, though Leatherhead doesn’t have anything to do with the fourth chapter (Tales of the TMNT #34). Still, while it doesn’t read all that smoothly, it remains one of my favorite Leatherhead storylines and does a lot of work in building his character (by applying some retroactive continuity patchwork, but whatever).
Grade: B (as in, “But man, Leatherhead has it rough. When he isn’t getting kidnapped by Utroms, he’s getting kidnapped by big game hunters or teleported to God Knows Where by Triceratons. Gator can’t catch a break”.)