Thursday, October 29, 2009

TMNT Adventures #30 – March 1992

Midnight Sun – Part Three

Credits: Dean Clarrain (script), Chris Allan (pencils), Rod Ollerenshaw (inks), Gary Fields (letters), Barry Grossman (colors)

We learn more about Chien Khan’s plan, as the demon Noi Tai Dar is summoned. Khan is offering him Hiroshima’s souls in exchange for having “the pit of nothingness” swallow mankind. As Fu Sheng explains to Oyuki, Khan’s young captive, the pit of nothingness is when a demon swallows a human’s soul and prevents him from moving to the next stage of life. There are two ways to open the doorway to the demon, and Warrior Dragon is committing one right now. After he destroys the nuclear plant’s cooling tower, Donatello inadvertently lets him know how to actually create a meltdown.

Ninjara reveals that she now has issues with Khan’s plan, because she didn't know it involved using nuclear energy.

Noi Tai Dar, ready to consume some souls, suddenly emerges from the cooling tower and blasts Warrior Dragon. The blast conveniently revives Dragon’s real personality, which enables us to see the epic battle depicted on this issue’s cover. Ninjara reveals that Khan’s portion of the spell isn’t finished yet, or else Noi Tai Dar wouldn’t still be bound to the nuclear plant. She leaves with Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello to stop Khan from sacrificing Oyuki, the “young, strong life” he needs to fully summon the demon. As Oyuki fights against Khan, she knocks off his mask, revealing his true face and stylish haircut.

Meanwhile, Splinter senses great spirits near the nuclear plant. Izanagi and Izanami, the two figures from the Japanese creation story, appear. They banish Noi Tai Dar back to the netherworld, as the Turtles rescue Oyuki from Khan. Khan manages to escape while no one’s looking (a trick he possibly learned from Shredder), but everyone still seems pleased at the end.

Review in a Half-Shell: It’s another all-action issue, running a full thirty pages (the only interior ads are for the ongoing Mighty Mutanimals series and “Yo Yogi Berry” Capri Sun). Since a giant demon is a much more exciting opponent than the generic thugs of the previous installments, the action really works this time. Chris Allan’s rendition of Noi Tai Dar is about as intense a demon you’re probably going to get in an Archie comic. Clarrain/Murphy is now going into different forms of mythology to create anthropomorphic characters, which is a clever direction to explore. It opens the door to a wide variety of stories, which helps to move the series beyond the predictable “human finds mutagen and becomes new action figure” formula the series could’ve easily given into. It’s hard to imagine when this series began that we would be getting stories about human sacrifice, soul-stealing demons, and the primordial couple of Japanese mythology. And since Izanagi and Izanami appear as actual characters in the story, I guess the world of TMNT has established its own true religion.


Matt said...

Chien Khan was a pretty neat villain, and I thought he looked really cool. It's too bad (to the best of my recollection) he never returned.

Anonymous said...

Khan did turn up again, in April's spin-off series, which also revealed his backstory. I don't know if he ever returned after that, though.

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