Credits: Dean Clarrain (script), Garrett Ho (pencils), Jon D’Agostino (inks), Gary Fields (letters), Barry Grossman (colors)
The story begins with a bizarre sequence. A bald eagle watches as Death, riding a horse, spots a scrap of what appears to be jaguar fur in the desert. Death sniffs the fur, then tosses it into the wind. It’s retrieved by the eagle, who flies away.
The natural transition from this scene is, of course, a shot of Mondo Gecko skateboarding. We learn that the Mighty Mutanimals are still in the Amazon, just waiting for another adventure. After Man Ray introduces the Glublubs to their new home, an underwater marine preserve, he meets up with Kid Terra (formerly Null’s henchman, The Kid). Man Ray is still angry about Bubbla’s death, but he’s willing to forgive Kid Terra. Kid pledges that he’ll expose Null’s environmental violations and help clean up his toxic waste dump. (Even though he’s only now referred to as “Kid Terra” on-panel, he’s been listed that way since his earliest appearances, over a year prior, in the indicia. Clarrain/Murphy obviously was planning a lot of this out far in advance.)
After Wingnut and Screwloose have fun with the local bat population, they reunite with Leatherhead, Mondo Gecko, Dreadmon, and Man Ray at Jagwar’s temple. Jagwar gives the Mutanimals jangala fruit, so that they can all have the same psychedelic experience. He explains, once again, that his mother was a free-spirited human who mated with a Jaguar spirit. As motherhood was “not one of her strong points,” she abandoned him when he was twelve. As he’s telling the story, he’s visited by the spirit of his father, who tells Jagwar that his mother is in danger. Jagwar (and the rest of the mutants, since they’re all tripping together) sees an image of his mother in the desert, receiving the scrap of fur from the bald eagle. Suddenly, she’s attacked by Death and kidnapped.
The bald eagle lets out a scream, which awakens the Mutanimals. The Mighty Mutanimals exit dramatically to search for Jagwar’s mother.
Review in a Half-Shell: Apparently, the Mighty Mutanimals mini was pretty successful, since it didn’t take long for the regular series to debut. This is the only issue of the monthly series I own (I was losing interest in TMNT at this point), which is too bad since I enjoyed revisiting it. The story’s intriguing, and Garrett Ho’s pencils manage to merge an old school Disney look with standard superhero art.
What the Shell? : The entire issue is freaky, especially when you consider that it was a Ninja Turtles spinoff published by Archie. I especially like the fight scene between Jagwar’s mother and Death. She shouts “Cripes!” and “#^$!!!” during the fight, revealing that the naturist who’s traveling the world in search of spiritual enlightenment has a dirty mouth.