Friday, December 23, 2016

The Frogs of War - Part One

Publication date: April 13, 2016
Originally published in: TMNT Amazing Adventures #9

Story: Matthew K. Manning
Art: Chad Thomas
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow
Publisher: Ted Adams

"The Frogs of War - Part One"


Down in the lair, the Turtles and Casey are busy with a game of (vaguely implied for legal purposes) Frogger when Master Splinter interrupts them.  He shows them the front page of the morning newspaper which announces that a mutant reptile has been spotted fighting ninjas.  The Turtles insist it wasn't them, as they were busy elsewhere in the city at the time the mutant was spotted.  Splinter orders them to put a stop to the impostor, lest they expose the Turtles by accident.

As the Turtles and Casey head out on patrol, they spy a unit of Footbots robbing a store.  Before they can swoop down to save the day, Napoleon Bonafrog gets to them first!  The Turtles join Napoleon in taking down the Footbots and ask him why he's back in New York.

Napoleon explains that he'd been practicing his ninjutsu in the Louisiana swamps, and getting good at it, when he returned to the tribe one night to find Attila, Genghis, Rasputin and all the other frogs had been kidnapped.  He was then attacked by Fishface and Baxter Stockman, who left him behind after hitting him with a tire iron.  Napoleon followed them to New York to save his tribe and get revenge.

The Turtles agree to help him; seeing as how the frogs already hate humans, a kidnapping could incite them to take more aggressive measures against mankind.  Donatello reveals that he slipped a tracking device on one of the Footbots that got away and they follow it to Brooklyn

They follow the Footbot to an alleyway and destroy it.  But before they can investigate further, an army of frogs waving spears descend from the rooftops...

Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT Amazing Adventures #8.  The story continues in "The Frogs of War - Part Two".

*Napoleon Bonafrog last appeared in TMNT Amazing Adventures #3 in the story "Freaks and Frogs".


Aw man, not Napoleon Bonafrog.  I gotta sit through a two-parter about HIM?

So yeah, like I said before in my review of "Freaks and Frogs", the film "Napoleon Dynamite" didn't do anything for me.  So a character whose entire gimmick is that he's a one-note parody of the main character from that movie... The joke just doesn't land with me.  And even if you DO like "Napoleon Dynamite", how many times can you see the character go "GOSH" before the humor wears off?

Well, whatever.  I mean, there are people who hate, hate, HATE horror movies, so when the Nickelodeon TMNT cartoon does parodies of "Evil Dead", "The Giant Claw" or "Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan", all they can do is yawn and change the channel.  Meanwhile, I'm jumping for fuckin' joy.  So I guess it's all relative.

But I still don't like him.

The Manning/Thomas team manage to squeeze some fun out of Napoleon and even when the parody jokes aren't hitting the mark, the lively art does the trick.  Manning puts in a couple flashbacks in this part of the story (Donnie and Mikey remembering what they were doing the night Napoleon was spotted, Napoleon relating how his tribe was kidnapped) and he works in some audience commentary that's kinda funny.

As for Napoleon, he seems to have gotten better as an actual fighter and dismantles the Footbots with ease.  This might be an actual case of character development exclusive to the IDW comic, which generally tries not to contradict anything from the cartoon.  Then again, it's doubtful Napoleon's ever going to show up again in the show, so IDW is probably free to develop his fighting prowess however they want without fear of messing up continuity.

So yeah, this arc isn't going to be my thing.  But even if I don't like the focal character, the creative team is strong enough that I can still find elements of the issue to enjoy.