Credits: Dean Clarrain (script), Ken Mitchroney & Garrett Ho (pencils), Ryan Brown & Gary Fields (inks), Gary Fields (letters), Barry Grossman (colors)
From the pages of TMNT Adventures comes Mighty Mutanimals, a miniseries that spotlights the various mutants the Turtles have met in the previous issues. The story picks up where TMNT Adventures #19 left off, as Jagwar, Man Ray, and Dreadmon witness the hatching of the meteorite Man Ray found underwater. Maligna’s larvae emerge from the meteorite, and promptly begin eating the rainforest. When Jagwar tells them to cut it out (he manages not to cry this time), they decide to eat the environmentally friendly mutants instead.
Meanwhile, the Turtles are rescued from Null when Splinter mentally commands an army of rats to eat their bonds. Null escapes with Scul and Bean, but unbeknownst to them, Raphael and Mondo Gecko have stowed away on their ship.
Elsewhere, Maligna orders the executions of Stump and Sling for sending aid to the Turtles when they fought her children earlier. They’re rescued by Leatherhead, Wingnut, Screwloose, and Cudley. When the others learn that Maligna is preparing to invade Earth, they disobey Stump’s orders and fly to Earth inside of Cudley. (Stump thinks the invasion of Earth could make for great ratings, making him a slightly less evil capitalist than Null, apparently.) Unfortunately, Cudley’s shot down by a mysterious spacecraft during the trip. He lands on Earth, oddly enough, right next to Jagwar, Man Ray, and Dreadmon.
Review in a Half-Shell: There’s a lot of action and a few humorous moments, so it’s maintaining the tradition of the best TMNT stories. There are a lot of coincidences involved in getting the Mutanimals together, but I’m not sure at this point if they’re true coincidences or if some sort of “cosmic fate” angle is going to be played up later. I guess I have an obligation to point out that the ‘90s were so crossover and spinoff crazy, the Archie Ninja Turtles series couldn’t even avoid it, although this does feel like an organic extension of the main book.
I Was Not Aware of That: This probably isn’t that much of a surprise, but the Mighty Mutanimals almost became a cartoon and toy line in the early ‘90s. You can see some of the various concept art at the Lavigne/Brown blog.