Monday, September 28, 2009

TMNT Adventures #18 – March 1991

"Mondo Metal"

Credits: Dean Clarrain (script), Ken Michroney & Marlene Becker (pencils), Dan Berger (inks), Gary Fields (letters), Barry Grossman (colors)

Hey, it’s the hair metal issue of Adventures. And it managed to be published almost a full year before Nirvana became mainstream. The Turtles and April reach America’s shore, saying goodbye to Man Ray (who is leaving to investigate “stars” that have fallen into the ocean…more on this next issue). April and the Turtles arrive in New Orleans, and ride the trains until they reach New York. There’s only time for one environmental message on the trip, as April just has to comment on the awful oil and gas refineries in New Jersey. Every rose has its thorn, just like every Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures issue has tacked-on environmental messages. Yeah, it does.

They reach New York, and in the sewers discover the heavy metal band, Merciless Slaughter, has overtaken Shredder’s old base. Their lead singer, Mondo, carries a pet gecko on his shoulder (and, guess what, his lyrics have environmental messages). While trying to do a Dave Mustaine guitar move (yup, he’s referenced by name), Mondo accidentally overloads the circuits and kills the power. When he tries to turn it back on, he accidentally unleashes an army of Foot Supersoldiers. While the Turtles face the Supersoldiers, one of them escapes with Mondo’s girlfriend, Candy. While trying to save her, Mondo is knocked against a vat of mutagen, and shockingly enough…

…he mutates into the gecko-man, Mondo Gecko. Not particularly bothered with his mutation, Mondo carries on like a youth gone wild. He chases the Foot Supersoldier and Candy to the top of a large building (why does this robot want the girl anyway?). Mondo defeats the Supersoldier with his radical skateboarding moves, but is quickly rejected by Candy.

Don’t know whatcha got ‘til it’s gone, right, Mondo? Actually, Mondo doesn’t seem too bothered by this either (you’d think he was on something…). After Donatello briefly notices two flying objects near a skyscraper (see the previous issue), the Turtles return home with Mondo. They’re reunited with Splinter, enjoy a pizza, and everything is okay. After so far away, the Turtles are home sweet home.

Review in a Half-Shell: Is it too obvious to compare Mondo Gecko to Poochie the Dog? He skateboards, plays guitar, and speaks in only the coolest lingo. As crassly commercial as he appears to be, I remember liking Mondo as a kid, so I guess they did something right. This is highly reminiscent of the early issues of the series, which occasionally sacrificed storytelling for toy commercials. Mondo just screams “corporate creation tacked on to existing toy line” -- so much so that making fun of him seems unnecessary. Giving him braces actually is a nice touch, though. I don’t know where Ken Michroney’s art ends and Marlene Becker’s begins, but it’s another issue with solid cartooning. The giant Foot Soldiers are handled particularly well. I also liked seeing the Turtles sneaking their way through America through the traintracks. The idea that the Turtles always had to hide themselves and operate in secret was one of my favorite elements about the comic and cartoon as a kid.

What the Shell? : Mondo suddenly grows a pair of braces after he mutates into a gecko-man. He clearly didn’t have them before the mutation, so where did they come from?

Pizza References: Aside from the pizza party on the last page, Michelangelo also dreams of pizza while riding the train home.

Turtlemania: There’s an ad for the NES adaptation of the classic TMNT arcade game. Many months of my life were dedicated to this game.

I Was Not Aware of That: "Merciless Slaughter" was the name of an album by the metal band Flames back in 1986.

1 comment:

Matt said...

I was never a fan of Mondo Gecko. I do, however, distinctly remember that he showed up on the cartoon, initially as a bad guy, but befriended Michelangelo and moved into the sewers "right next door" to the Turtles, with the promise that now they could see each other "all the time."

...He was never heard from again after that.

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