Saturday, June 28, 2014

Postmark Panic

Originally published in: TMNT New Animated Adventures #12
Publication date: June 25, 2014

Story: Landry Q. Walker
Art: Chad Thomas
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow

“Postmark Panic”


Down in the lair, Mikey (under April’s suggestion) has decided to express himself artistically.  After videotaping a ninja training session, he mailed the cassette to “One Minute Masterpieces”, a funniest home videos TV program.  Leo is, of course, incensed, as the video could blow their secret existence to the world and the Turtles immediately head to the post box.

After discovering that the mail has been taken to the post office already, the Turtles change destinations.  Meanwhile, Karai watches them and decides that if the package is important to the Turtles, the Foot must have it.  Meanwhile, the Kraang watches her and decide that if the package is important to the Foot, the Kraang must have it.  Meanwhile, Jack Kurtzman watches the aliens and decides that if the package is important to the Kraang, he must have it.  Meanwhile, Pigeon Pete watches Kurtzman eat a sandwich and decides that if the package is important to a guy with a sandwich then it must have breadcrumbs in it.

At the post office, the Turtles find the package amongst a maze of conveyer belts and sorting devices.  Karai intercepts the package from them, but the Kraang intercept the package from Karai.  However, Kurtzman intercepts the package from the Kraang.  HOWEVER, Pigeon Pete intercepts the package from Kurtzman.  After a brief scuffle, Leo finally decides to end the madness by chucking the package into a shredding machine.  The Turtles promptly vanish with a smoke bomb.

Down in the lair, Mikey shows his brothers and April the backup of his video.  Much to their surprise, it wasn’t actually one of THEIR training sessions; it was one of April’s.  More so, it was a training session where April accidentally bumped into a table and catapulted a pie into her own face.  Furious, April splats a pie into Mikey’s face and storms off, though this only serves to inspire Mikey to film a sequel.

Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT New Animated Adventures #11.  The story continues in “Pizza Prize”.

*Pigeon Pete first appeared in the season 1 episode “The Gauntlet”.  He made a brief cameo in the season 2 episode “Metalhead Rewired”, where the Turtles freed him (and other mutants) from the clutches of the Kraang.

*Jack Kurtzman first appeared in the season 2 episode “The Kraang Conspiracy” and later appeared in “The Manhattan Project, Part 2” (or “Wormquake, Part 2”; I don't know if they ever settled on one title for that two-parter).


Apparently June was the month of Pigeon Pete.  He made his IDW comic debut over in TMNT (IDW) #35 and now he’s made a comeback of sorts to the Nickelodeon universe via this issue of TMNT New Animated Adventures.  There’s just so much potential in that weird little guy.

Walker’s script is a lot of silly fun and probably the goofiest long form story that IDW’s cartoon-based comic has produced yet.  The “inception” moment of spies spying on other spies, the fact that everybody wants something without even knowing what it is, and the whole game of “keep away” in the post office were pure cartoon silliness. 

By focusing more on humor than action or drama, I think TMNT New Animated Adventures is beginning to find its comfort zone.  It can’t do anything involving story arcs or character development as it can't contradict or interfere with the cartoon.  As a result, anything “dramatic” is forbidden from actually carrying any weight.  Luckily, comedy remains a viable alternative and their recent format of shorter gag pieces, 2 or 3 per issue, has been working really well.  I don’t know how much life New Animated Adventures has left in it (it sells really poorly on the direct market and did IDW cancel the Micro Fun Packs?), but I hope it keeps this format for the remainder of its run.  It definitely works.

Now, to address the elephant in the room, doesn’t this story seem just a little… anachronistic?  I mean, Mikey mailing a video cassette to a TV home movies program?  Now, as a person who lived through the Betamax and VHS era as well as the brutal hell that was America’s Funniest Home Videos and America’s Funniest People, all this seems perfectly normal on the surface.  But it isn’t 1993 anymore.  I mean, the kids whom this book is aimed at were all BORN after video cassettes had been retired, to say nothing of their e-mail generation being unfamiliar with snail mail (how many of these kids have ever written a letter, put it in an envelope, stamped it and then dropped it in a box on the street corner?).

I mean, I’m sure the tykes reading this (if there ARE any, given the sales numbers) will be able to follow along with the silliness since the script is pretty intuitive (the package contains proof of the TMNT’s existence and everybody wants it; that’s enough for a kid to follow), but the plot still relies on technology, TV programming and circumstances that pretty much don’t exist anymore.

It’d be like if Mikey disguised himself as a milkman to infiltrate a video game arcade because the Foot are going to send an explosive Candygram there.  But oh no!  Mikey spent all his quarters and needs change for the pay phone!  How will he get out of this one?  Maybe he can borrow some from the newsboy on the corner that’s crying headlines from the evening edition.

Oh whatever.  This issue had Pigeon Pete in it, so everything else can slide.  (Also, there's some great work from Chad Thomas, who seems to be getting more and more in the groove with each issue, pushing the boundaries of how cartoony and exaggerated he can make everyone’s facial expressions, which I like.)

Grade: B (as in, “But the Turtles sort of leave their buddy Kurtzman in the hands of the Foot and the Kraang at the end of this story”.)