Wednesday, November 4, 2009

TMNT Adventures #33 – June 1992

The Karma of Katmandu

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

The layout of the cover is repeated on the first panel of the issue, only now it’s Splinter perched above a group of human security guards. He declares that he’s escaping and starts a fight. They knock him unconscious and place his naked body inside a dank prison cell. Splinter awakens from the dream, naked again, claiming that it’s a sign.

Soon, Splinter is leaving Japan with Ninjara and the Turtles. April, Fu Sheng, Chu Hsi, and Oyuki are flying to America, but Splinter and the others are sailing to Tibet. Along the way, they see the sights and barter their goods and clothing to help continue the journey. While traveling on yak, they run across Katmandu, a six-limbed humanoid tiger (the cover’s layout is repeated again when Katmandu first appears, spying on the Turtles in the distance). He’s under attack by Whirling Dervishes, a group of ninjas who spin in circles like the Red Tornado.

After he’s aided by the Turtles and Splinter, Katmandu reveals that he’s headed for the same location as the Turtles, the Crystal Palace. Splinter wants to see his former mentor, Charlie Llama, again, and Katmandu is hoping to improve his karma by becoming Llama’s bodyguard and pupil. Because cultural sensitivity is very important, Katmandu spends the next few pages explaining karma, nirvana, and Buddhist principles. The group finally reaches the Crystal Palace, but it’s empty. Suddenly, a whirling four-armed skeleton emerges. Laughing manically, it races out of the door and disappears. Katmandu declares it “bad karma” as the next issue box promises “The Search for Charlie Llama!”

Review in a Half-Shell: It’s not a bad start for the new storyline. A punny name like “Katmandu” is what I expect from the toy line and not the more serious comic book, but I guess it’s so obvious it had to be done. I like the traveling scenes, and the two-page map that details how the Turtles are getting around and which countries they’re traveling through. It doesn’t come across as a forced geography lesson, unlike some of the heavy-handed messages of the earlier issues, and it adds to the atmosphere of the story.

I Love the (early) ‘90s: Michelangelo’s response to Katmandu’s lesson on nirvana is “Smells like teen spirit if ya ask me!” Splinter also declares on the first page that he feels like “a rat in a cage,” but this issue predates the Smashing Pumpkins song by three years.

I Was Not Aware of That: A “whirling dervish” is an actual term that can describe “somebody who busily does many things in quick succession” or a "member of an ascetic Muslim religious group known for very energetic whirling.”


Anonymous said...

By the by Kendell, are these comics ones that are actually physically in your possession, or ones that you've found scans of online?

G. Kendall said...

These are comics I bought as a kid. Whenever I don't feel like scanning something, I go to the Turtles' official site or look elsewhere online.

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