Credits: Dean Clarrain (script), Chris Allan (pencils), Brian Thomas (inks), Gary Fields (letters), Barry Grossman (colors)
The issue begins with the strangest abrupt opening yet.
We soon learn that Splinter is telling the Japanese creation story of Izangi and Izanami. Raphael comments that a blind god like Izanagi is the kind he can believe in, which is surely more bait for angry letters from protective parents. The Turtles, Splinter, and April are hiding in the luggage compartment of a commercial plane, on their way to Japan. April’s following the trail of Fu Shen and Chu Hsi to Hiroshima, picking up where her slightly tedious backup stories left off.
After fooling a guard at the airport (who somehow knows April O’Neil from American television), the group heads for the sewers. The plan is to stay there until it’s night, when the Turtles can move freely and search for their friends. Unfortunately, they run into a group of teenage punks who have confused them with the ninjas that are taking over the underworld. Those ninjas happen to turn up as the Turtles fight the teenage gang.
After a few pages of fighting and bad puns, the Turtles defeat their opponents and move on. One of the ninjas escapes and reports back to his master, Chien Khan. Khan has kidnapped a girl from the streets, and is threatening to kill her unless Fu Shen helps him take command of the Warrior Dragon. When Khan hears about the Turtles, he sends his minion Ninjara to deal with the problem.
Review in a Half-Shell: This is mostly setup for the Japan arc, and the pace is very leisurely. Once again, the Turtles face a group of opponents who aren’t that much of a threat, which is a problem the series seems to run into quite often. Chris Allan’s Turtles are also starting to look a little odd, as he seems to draw their noses in a way no one else does. I do like his human characters and his interpretation of Splinter, though.
What the Shell? : The letters page has people complaining about the Turtles engaging in the Satanic practice of “meditation” and the portrayal of a three-eyed character (Bellybomb), because that’s supposed to represent the Devil. I’m sure they’ll love the opening of this issue. There’s also a fan who opposes the “Storage Shell” TMNT action figures because they use sea life as weapons. The editorial response is “GOOD POINT” in giant print.