Credits: Ryan Brown & Dean Clarrain (plot), Dean Clarrain (script), Jim Lawson (pencils), Gary Fields (inks & letters), Barry Grossman (colors)
Following last issue’s cliffhanger, the Turtles find themselves attacked by an army of sewer rats. The rats are called off by their leader, Ha’ntaan, the Rat King. (If “Ha’ntaan” is supposed to be a reference to something, it’s lost on me.) The Rat King accepts Leonardo’s apology for disturbing his kingdom and allows the Turtles to go free. Don’t be discouraged, kids. Even if Rat King didn’t do much in this issue, I’m sure you can have hours of fun with his Playmates action figure.
The Turtles continue to search the sewers for Shredder, and eventually discover a Foot Soldier sentry robot. I don’t recall this guy ever getting his own toy, but he does put up a decent fight for a few pages. Giving him skull and bones word balloons is also a nice touch.
After defeating him, the Turtles make their way to Shredder’s underground base. There, they learn that
the Greys the Sons of Silence have rescued Bebop and Rocksteady from the mountain of debris.
The Sons, who are working for Krang, put the Turtles in a trance. Krang and Shredder are now free to search for the Turnstone; however, Mary Bones is using the Turnstone to spy on them. She takes her true alien form and uses the Turnstone to teleport the Turtles to Dimension X. Krang decides to chase Mary and the Turtles in his skull-shaped rocket ship.
Review in a Half-Shell: I guess having the Turtles fight rats is slightly more exciting than the X-Men fighting birds, but that’s not saying a lot. The Rat King doesn’t seem to fill a role in the story outside of making Playmates happy, which is too bad since I have fond memories of him from the cartoon. (Why exactly, I’m not sure. I think he was portrayed as a regal anti-hero who would occasionally aid the Turtles, but I could be wrong.) Since the Archie series has twenty-eight pages of story each issue instead of twenty-two, at least there’s still room to move the plot along after the Rat King diversion is over. I don’t remember how the Turnstone storyline eventually ended, but it’s interesting to see how various elements from the previous issues are coming together into a cohesive story.
What the Shell?: Krang’s ship is in orbit over this bum-what world?
Turtlemania: The TMNT role playing game, which has art from the original comics and is recommended for players age twelve and older, is advertised. I was intrigued by this ad, but couldn’t convince my mother to pay the $10+ price tag. Seeing artwork of the original, grittier Turtles always had an odd effect on me as a kid. I knew these were the “real” Turtles, but they seemed so different from the mass-merchandised version.