The Howling of Distant Shadows
Credits: Dean Clarrain (script), Ken Mitchroney (pencils), Dan Berger (inks), Buz McKim (clean-ups), Barry Grossman (colors), Gary Fields (letters)
The Turtles are still in the Amazon with April O’Neil and their new friend, Jagwar. After the story spends several pages exploring the area with detailed drawings of the environment and wildlife (which is apparently the type of material Clarrain/Murphy dealt with in his Puma Blues series), the Turtles run across the Coipacu tribe. The Coipacu believe that the Turtles are descendants of the Great Turtle, a central figure in their creation story. The tribe asks the Turtles to stop the pirate miners who have been kidnapping tribe members and forcing them to work in slavery.
Before the Turtles can learn the entire story, they overhear loud howling. It belongs to Dreadmon, an anthropomorphic wolf with a Jamaican accent. The tribe’s been leaving overripe fruit and a pate made of monkey bladder to feed him, which also sounds appealing to Michelangelo.
Soon, Dreadmon joins the Turtles and Jagwar in defeating the miners. Their activities are reported by The Kid, who is another employee of the sinister Mr. Null. Null orders Kid to stay on the Turtles’ trail, as they return to the tribe for a celebration. Did I mention that the tribe lives amongst dinosaurs? Because they do. (This actually reminds me of that Wolverine two-parter in the early issues of Punisher War Journal.)
Review in a Half-Shell: The story makes nice use of the Amazon environment, and it’s obvious that Clarrain/Murphy has spent a lot of time researching the area. Mitchroney’s art seems a little rushed in a few places, but he does a great rendition of Dreadmon (particularly his Wile E. Coyote-style facial expressions). It looks like Dreadmon didn’t get an action figure, either, which is a real shame. Playmates pumped out so many of these toys, yet chose to overlook such a cool-looking character.
Pizza References: Michelangelo wonders if the Coipacu have a Pizza Shack in their village. Why not directly name-check Pizza Hut? I’m sure they paid good money to sponsor the Ninja Turtles concert tour.
I Was Not Aware of That: The Coipacu’s belief that the world is an island borne on the back of the Great Turtle is apparently a reference to the Iroquois story of creation.
What the Shell? : This fan letter from Columbia, SC is very concerned about the future of Wingnut’s race and has a theory about what can be done.
Meanwhile, in Riverdale… : Jughead’s Diner is having a bowl-a-thon. Mr. Weatherbee is on the lookout for Archie with his new surveillance system in Archie 3000. The alien, Zark, becomes a student in Archie’s classroom in Riverdale High.