Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #9 ★★★☆☆

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Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #9
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 36
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

This is a prequel comic of sorts, but I’m not sure exactly. There’s no April O’Neal or space triceratops or robots or even the Foot Clan, but there are ninja’s with machine guns.

A dying samurai must pass on his heritage to his grandson who lives in America. He possesses Splinter’s body and Splinter and the boys track down the grandson. And are all promptly attacked by gun ninjas. The Turtles save the day, allow the spiritual succession to happen and everyone goes home happy. Except the dead gun ninjas. Because it’s wicked hard to go home happy when you’re dead.

My Thoughts:

Thankfully this was directly involved with the TMNT even while being a standalone story. It was hokey though and was about as 80’s as you could ask for. Samurai, ghosts and machine guns. All together. If that doesn’t scream The 80’s to you, then maybe you’re just too young. Young’en.

While I enjoyed this more than the previous issue with Cerebus the grumpy and dumb aardvark, I am finding that I want an overarching storyline from the TMNT. I get all the standalone I need from the Groo and Asterix comics and don’t need it here. Just gotta hang on while the artists get their act together.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #8 ★★★☆☆

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Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #8
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 51
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

A girl from the future steals a magic sceptre and goes racing through time to escape her master. She stumbles across the turtles in 1986 but upon her master discovering her uses the sceptre to transport them all to another time and place. A castle which Cerebus the aardvark is attacking to recover some magic scrolls from the demon controlling the castle.

The demon takes the sceptre and begins using its powers for himself. The Master appears and the demon begins attacking him with the sceptre. When nothing happens, the Master reveals that the sceptre is old technology and that magical digital quartz crystals, in wrist watches are the “in thing”. He banishes the demon, returns the turtles to New York, gets Cerebus the scrolls and punishes the girl by making her dust his library. What a tyrant!

My Thoughts:

So this was a standalone story that also was a crossover with Cerebus the aardvark. Why Cerebus was so popular back in the 80’s is outside my knowledge and considering all, don’t care enough to find out. This really wasn’t a TMNT story, more of a story that they were tangentially involved with.

I read the letters and “news” section and once again, it was like a time capsule. Seeing how a comic operated, with crossovers to other independent comics, name dropping and “back issues” from 1 year ago, it brought home (like hammer blows) just how limited information was then. As someone who grew up as computers were becoming mainstream, it is easy to forget that it wasn’t always that way.

From the ‘news’ section I’m expecting the next several issues to be all standalones much like this one.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #7 ★★★✬☆

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Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #7
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 42
Words: 2.5K



Synopsis:

The Turtles are beamed back to the TCRI building, along with the champion warriors of the Triceratons. Who promptly realize that the gizmo used on them is a working transmat device. They immediately go on the offensive and attack everyone. The brain blob robots use their stunners on them and the Turtles try to stay out of it. Master Splinter appears and tells the boys everything that has happened, from his perspective and that the brain blob aliens just want to go home now.

Outside the building, police, swat and the national guard are gathering. They assault the building, enter and begin making their way to the 3rd floor where the brain blobs have reconfigured the transmat to take them back to their homeworld. They take the Turtles with them and the building self-destructs 5minutes later, destroying all evidence of their existence.

The issue ends with the boys and Splinter getting transported into a bathtub in April’s apartment.

My Thoughts:

This issue had the first “news” article in it that comics soon began using to inform their readers of upcoming events and what not. It was very handy to learn that this was the end of this particular story arc and that the next couple issues would be standalones.

While not as exciting as the Arena Games of the previous issue, this still had plenty of soldiers and robots blasting away at each other. Sadly, the Turtles didn’t really get in on the action and so the “ninja” side of things was pretty non-existent. Rocket launchers vs robots with stun beam guns. Definitely made for some good pictures.

Of course, this was mostly backstory and thus allowed Eastman and Laird to really pad things. We get the Turtles origin all over again, just with the bit about the brain blobs being the ones who had created the goo. Then Splinter retells how he escaped from the killer mousers and that was all filler too. I would have been VERY disappointed in this volume if I had waited over 3 months from the previous issue only to get this one. Thankfully, I have scads more ahead of me so I can just whiz on through and do the Queen Wave at this issue.

Pip pip, cheerio, crumpets and tea at 2? Righto then, onto the rocket launcher.

Nothing says “trained professional” like standing right out in the open 2 feet from the door you’re about to try to blast open. Why do comic artists draw such stupid things? Maybe I’m just being extra picky but it just stuck in my craw. And yes, I do realize I’m talking about “stupid” within the context of a comic that has brain blob aliens riding around in Terminator800 shells and warrior Space Triceratops. So upon reflection, maybe I just need to ease up.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #6 ★★★★☆

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Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #6
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 37
Words: 2.5K



Synopsis:

The boys are captured after the ship lands. Honeycutt the robot is threatened with their death if he won’t build a matter transmitter for the Triceratops nation. He refuses and the guys are thrown into a Battle Royale against 4 of the champions of the Triceratops. They beat them and then rescue Honeycutt. The issue ends with them, Honeycutt and one or two Triceratops being surrounded by the light of a matter transmitter.

My Thoughts:

This is NOT the 90’s cartoon. We’re talking broken wakizashi’s in the gut, bo’s in the throat, elbows and knees broken with nun-chucks, swords through the shoulder. All that good stuff. This issue earns the Ultra-violence tag.

This scan was from the collected color edition and not the original B&W comic hence the color cover. Color hides a LOT of rough art….

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #5 ★★★★☆

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Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #5
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 42
Words: 2.5K



Synopsis:

The Boys materialize on a different planet right in the middle of a firefight between some security goons and a robot named Honeycutt. They escape with Honeycutt as he has the knowledge of creating another Transmat. Unfortunately, Honeycutt is kidnapped by the Triceratons (triceratop aliens in space suits) and there is a running battle between the Federal Troops (the security goons) and the gun wielding triceratops. The boys manage to sneak aboard the spaceship of the Triceratons and the issue ends with the ship docking at a mobile weaponized asteroid and the cargo bay they are in being depressurized (hence they’re running out of air).

My Thoughts:

Having a color cover is really nice. I hadn’t realized how much of a difference it made until I compared this one to the previous one. The insides are still Number 2 pencil in black and white though.

The story is great and while I’d normally rant or complain about the extreme ramp in the action (I mean, we’re only in the 5th issue and we’re already on another world?), it just worked. The pacing carried on from the previous issue and it felt good.

Then you have Triceratops in spacesuits that are some kind of commando warriors. Reminded me of the Judoon from the tv series Dr Who. I’ve included a page here because I think they just look cool.

I feel like I’ve made that “connection” to this comic that is needed for a long term commitment to it. I’m happy about that as without it this series would have gone down the same path as Silver Sable or even Spawn. No need to do that to myself again! I’m looking forward to the next issue already 🙂

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4 ★★★✬☆

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Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 53
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

The Turtles are hanging out in April’s apartment and decide to go for some night exercise on the nearby rooftops. They run into a group of Foot Clan soldiers and battle ensues. One of them gets hurt and all of them see a big building with the letters TCRI on it. After defeating the Foot Clan soldiers, the boys head back to recover from their fight.

The next night they head to the building only to discover it has no doors, no windows, no ledges, no apparent way to enter except the front door on the street and one door on the roof. They make their way into the building and discover Splinter in some sort of container in a coma. They set off some alarms and the aliens come running, afraid the Turtles will damage or destroy their Translocation Matrix Machine. The Turtles accidently activate the machine and the issue ends with them all fading away, fate unknown.

My Thoughts:

I feel like this comic has a rhythm and it has taken me to this volume to feel it and get in the groove. It is very different from One Piece, or Asterix or even Bone. Part of why the earlier reads felt so disjointed or disorienting to me was because I hadn’t gotten that rhythm yet. I got it now though and really enjoyed this issue.

We find out the aliens are creating a translocation matrix machine, which is their goal. We all know what “translocation” mean, so it’s obvious they’re trying to bring something to Earth or to take something away. Of course, the boys screw up their plans royally when they invade and then accidentally activate it!

The little blobby aliens pricked something in my mind and after reading this volume I figured out what it was. They remind me of the toy brains from the Mattel toy line of Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors from the 80’s. We lived in an apartment complex growing up and one of our neighbors had a lot of toys. One such set was these Wheeled Warriors. The badguys where the Monster Minds or something and they were these green rubbery brains. They were so gross! And as a boy they were totally awesome. Anyway, the aliens remind me of them. Isn’t it weird how things like that work?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3 ★★★✬☆

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Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 43
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

After the Turtles turn off the mousers, they head back to their lair. Splinter is missing and they can’t find him anywhere. Cops and City Workers are crawling all over the sewers in the aftermath of the mousers, so the boys can’t stay. They call April and ask to crash at her place. On the way to her apartment her van is mistaken for one that was used by bank robbers and the cops give chase. Since the Turtles can’t afford to be apprehended, April drives like a fiend, through a park and evades the police. In an AMAZING coincidence they come across the real bank robbers and the cops catch them and ignore April and Gang.

The epilogue shows what happened to Splinter. After fighting off some mousers, he makes a run for it, only to be cornered. He escapes because the mousers all go after the Turtles. He is rescued by some sewer workers who find out he can talk. They take him to a TERI Lab. Splinter discovers that little blobby aliens are using meat suits as cover.

My Thoughts:

Well, THAT escalated quickly! From ninja master to aliens in only 2 issues. It does give me pause as to what else Eastman & Laird will throw our way in later issues. While I was not a follower of the Turtles, I do seem to remember aliens playing a big part or something, so I’m guessing these little blobby things are here to stay.

The “main” story with the Turtles and April running from the cops was just plain silly. They are using a volkswagon van and they are outrunning and outperforming the cops? The Turtles even mention a Nascar driver, so Eastman & Laird were very self-aware of what they were doing. When the cops eventually catch the correct van and the bank robbers, there is a page of about 10 cops surrounding the overturned van and all 10 say a variation on the old standby of “freeze!”. I think my favorite was “Do not ambulate!”

The artwork is “sketchy” as in the previous issues. The odd thing is, there was an advertisement in this for metal miniatures of the Turtles, so Eastman & Laird had the resources to do more refined work but have chosen not to. I do hope things get a little less “Number 2 Pencil” in future issues because right now it really looks like something a teenager would have scribble out in the back of their notebook.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 ★★★✬☆

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Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 42
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

Dr Baxter and his assistant April have created robotic mousers to help with the city’s rodent problem. Baxter goes nutso and decides to use the mousers to rob banks and eventually hold the entire city hostage. When April refuses to join him, he dumps her into the sewers and sends some mousers after her.

She encounters the turtles and they all head back to the secret lab to put Dr. Baxter out of business. Baxter initiates a fail safe where all the mousers will come back to the lab and eat everything within it. With only moments left, April and Donatello figure out a way to shutdown the power and stop the mousers.

My Thoughts:

This was a great little Mad Scientist story. We’re also introduced to April O’Neil who I know is part of the Crew in later stories. Whether Eastman and Laird created her with that in mind or as a one off isn’t apparent here but the fact that she now knows all about the turtles and didn’t die is probably a good indicator that they had plans for her from the get-go.

This issue had much higher resolution pictures making up the cbr file, so it was a much better visual read. Of course, it still looks like the creators used nothing but Number 2 pencils to draw this. I guess I am pretty spoiled by either more modern comics (Bone) or higher quality ones (Asterix). Of course, I think budget had more to do with it than anything. Akira was being published at this time and that artwork isn’t anything near as rough as this.

The main reason I bumped this up a half star from the previous issue is because with the introduction of April I was expecting some heavy fan-servicey shots; which never appeared. While Eastman & Laird’s skill as artists is still in the budding stage, it doesn’t take much to turn a woman into a sex fantasy and they chose not to go that route. It was nice to not to have to deal with that kind of thing.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 ★★★☆☆

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Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 53
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

The origin story of how the Turtles came to be and how Shredder became their nemesis. Parodying Daredevil, the turtles and an intelligent rat named Splinter get covered in green ooze and get bigger and more intelligent. Splinter’s owner was a martial arts master who killed a man trying to kill his fiance. They fled to the US since the Foot was stupid. The dead man’s younger brother comes up through the ranks and is given a chance to establish the Foot in New York and to kill Splinter’s owner. He kills them. So when the turtles start growing, Splinter teaches them all he knows and they go after Splinter. He falls off a building with a thermite grenade in his hands. The turtles walk away, convinced the threat is gone.

There is a short story afterwards about Donatello trying to get a newspaper and his misadventures. He falls off a building into a garbage bin, which is then emptied into a full garbage truck. Once he gets out of that he slips on a banana peel, falls through a glass window in a chemical factory and falls into pink dye. Then he gets a bundle of papers thrown at his head. He finally makes it home, stinking of garbage, pink and with a whole bundle of papers. Wasn’t his night.

My Thoughts:

Oooph, this was rough. I mean literally. It is black and white drawings that were around the 400x500px mark. I either had to squint or zoom in and make things slightly blurred to read it. I chose to zoom in. I’m hoping the future issues are of better quality. But even still, this was rough pencilled stuff, just like what you’d expect from someone trying to do something as quickly as possible who didn’t have a lot of money.

The origins of the TMNT are pretty well known to most comic fans (and with the advent of the movies, all bad in my opinion AND the tv series in the 90’s, to many non-comic fans) so this really wasn’t a new experience.

Just like any mythology, it is always best to look at the original and start at the beginning instead of relying on other interpretations through other mediums. For example, go read the book of Exodus instead of relying on the movie The 10 Commandments. I am considering this an exploration of a cultural mythology and not just me reading some old comics. Sounds much more intellectual and hoity toity, just like me.

Rating: 3 out of 5.