Of Turtles and Stones and Mary Bones
Credits: Ryan Brown & Dean Clarrain (plot), Dean Clarrain (writer), Ken Mitchroney (penciler), Dave Garcia (inker), Gary Fields (letterer), Barry Grossman (colors)
Boy, that’s a limp cover. The interior art is thankfully a lot more exciting. Another issue, another new character for the Archie continuity. This issue introduces Jess Harley, a poor Bayou man who steals a gem from a swamp witch named Mary Bones. He travels all the way to New York to sell it, only to drop it in the sewer after a pack of pizza-obsessed teenagers accidentally bump into him.
He soon recovers the gem, but is shocked to discover Mary Bones has followed him to New York. She explains that the gem is actually a “turnstone,” and she uses it to transform Jess into the human alligator, Leatherhead. Leatherhead tries to tackle her, but only crashes deeper into the underground. He lands in Shredder’s lair, where Shredder quickly takes advantage of Leatherhead’s new condition.
Shredder explains that the Turtles are servants of Mary Bones who actually volunteered to be turned into animals. (Just in case any of the slow kids were confused, Shredder has a helpful thought balloon a few pages later that reads “Ha! Ha! Ha! I am SUCH a good liar!”) Leatherhead joins Bebop and Rocksteady on their latest mission to destroy the Turtles. Meanwhile, Shredder reveals his plan to Krang, who is still in Dimension X. Krang tells Shredder that Mary Bones’ device is actually a “Transanimator” and that she must be another exiled warlord from Dimension X.
Leatherhead, Bebop, and Rocksteady soon confront the Turtles on a mysterious underground river bridge they’ve recently discovered. When Leonardo saves Rocksteady from falling off the bridge, Leatherhead realizes that the Turtles aren’t villains at all. When Leatherhead sees Shredder again, he throws a temper tantrum and accidentally destroys a section of the bridge, falling to his apparent death. As the Turtles return home, they encounter Mary Bones. She tells them not to mourn Leatherhead, and that victory will be theirs in the “Final Conflict.” She then disappears, leaving the Turtles perplexed. Suddenly, a shocked Raphael asks, “What’s that?!” To be continued…
Review in a Half-Shell: The basic plot is rather familiar, only now the new mutant briefly fights against the Turtles instead of automatically teaming up with them. The book is still finding its way, but there is a little foreshadowing for upcoming issues, so the narrative is already getting a little more complex.
I Was Not Aware of That: Krang wants Mary Bones’ Transanimator so that he can regain his original body. I thought he really was a giant brain (he’s based on a race of aliens from the original comics). I didn’t know he was ever supposed to be something else.
Pizza References: One and a half. The Turtles are on their way to a pizzeria when they bump into Jess, and a few pages later we see them inside the restaurant. One of the early running jokes of the series had the Turtles putting bizarre toppings on their pizza. In this issue, it’s rhubarb, kiwi fruit, fried clams, and peanut butter cups. It doesn’t seem like much of a joke to me today, but I guess kids love gross-out humor.
Absolutely Approved By The Comics Code Authority: Leonardo saves Rocksteady when he accidentally knocks him off of the bridge, instead of letting him fall to his death.
Turtlemania: The Turtles ride their “Cheapskate” skateboards in this issue. I had that toy as a kid and seem to recall that fan on the back constantly breaking off.