Friday, September 25, 2009

TMNT Adventures #17 – February 1991

Fight the Power

Credits: Dean Clarrain (script), Ken Mitchroney (pencils), Buz McKim (clean-ups), Dan Berger (inks), Barry Grossman (colors), Gary Fields (letters)

Looking at the cover, did you guess that this issue has an environmental message about sea turtles? Before that sermon begins, the issue opens with two of Maligna’s children arriving on Earth, which was promised to them by Krang. While reporting to Maligna, they can’t help but to mention that humans have “choked” the planet with “numbers and industry” (I guess they’re still caught up in the overpopulation hysteria of the ‘70s), the forests are burning, the planet is too warm, and atomic energy is causing disease. I hope you kids are now inspired to go save the Earth, and not slash your wrists instead.

The scene shifts back to the Turtles, who are still sailing the ocean with Man Ray and April O’Neil. As the Turtles try to contact Splinter telepathically through meditation, Man Ray and April go swimming. They come across fishermen casting their nets into the water. Man Ray explains that Turtle Extruder Devices are legally required to keep sea turtles out of the shrimp nets. When April asks to see the nets up close, Man Ray makes a heartbreaking discovery.

Man Ray flies into a blind rage and attacks the ship, which is lead by the old timey sailor, Captain Mossback. April recruits the Turtles for help, which leads to this somewhat self-important response.

The Turtles and Man Ray quickly dispose of Mossback’s men, leaving Mossback alone with Man Ray. Mossback, afraid that the devil fish will steal his soul, accidentally falls overboard. (Raphael has the line of the issue: “Who said anything about even wanting his soul?”) Mossback’s saved by a gigantic, kindly sea turtle, driving home the point that animals are pure and good and we humans are just awful. Speaking of evil humans*, the issue ends with Mr. Null introducing The Kid to Maligna’s children, Scul and Bean.

*Yes, I know more about Mr. Null is revealed later.

Review in a Half-Shell: It’s another “issue” issue, which is already tedious by now. The action works surprisingly well, considering it’s another issue of the Turtles fighting villains who shouldn’t be that much of a threat. And I like the designs of Scul and Bean.

What the Shell? : Raphael mockingly calls Captain Mossback “Cap’n Moss-Sac” on page twenty-one. Is this a pube joke?

I Love the (Early) ‘90s: While communicating telepathically, Splinter tells Raphael (who is now wearing only the bottom of his black wrestling costume), “nice jams.”


Anonymous said...

Their messages do tend to get a bit grating at times. I recently read the April spin-off series where her sidekick smokes, and just about every time she turns up, someone brings up how bad cigarettes are for you, and the girl coughs whenever she lights one up.

Can't say the environmental messages did bother me much back in the day, though I'm not sure if I caught a lot of the TMNT issues with them.

Chad said...

I wonder if the ending is a rip-off of Grant Morrison's "Animal Man" run, where one issue had a dolphin rescue the hunter who killed his mate (or was it child?) from drowning. Of course, then the obvious environmental message was covered up by the poignancy of the scene, and I have a feeling that in this case the author didn't succeed half as well.

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