Credits: Dean Clarrain (script), Chris Allan & Brian Thomas (pencils), Rod Ollerenshaw (inks), Gary Fields (letters), Barry Grossman (colors)
The Turtles are still in Japan, hanging out with the characters from the previous arc. After sushi is explained to them in great detail (just as it had to be explained to Homer Simpson at around the same time), Splinter suggests the Turtles explore Japan separately. While Michelangelo and Oyuki fly Japanese kites (Oyuki is the girl Khan kidnapped a few issues ago, although I think she’s only been identified by name in one issue), Leonardo trains with Splinter, Donatello investigates the damaged nuclear power plant, and Raphael examines a Torii with Ninjara. She explains that the Torii is a structure that acts as a gateway to other dimensions. This Torii leads to Yomi, aka the underworld, aka “the land of gloom.” Raphael finds himself strangely attracted to it, and has to be pulled away by Ninjara. She reasons that Raphael’s negative emotions draw him to the Torii, which makes her more interested in him.
Elsewhere, Donatello has an encounter with a manifestation of Yin and Yang, the Tao.
It encourages him to follow it to the peak of a mountain, where we can see the image of Yin and Yang on top of the nuclear plant’s cooling tower. Donatello’s response is “too weird,” which sums this scene up perfectly. Back to Raphael and Ninjara, we have the obligatory action scene. The street gang from issue #28 is back, hiding in the bushes. Raphael and Ninjara attack and defeat the gang easily (knocking a few teeth loose along the way).
As the last gang member falls unconscious, he reveals that they actually came seeking help. The issue draws to an end with an April O’Neil/Chu Hsi makeout scene (Wasn’t Casey Jones her love interest in other forms of TMNT continuity? Did he ever even appear in this title?), Leonardo breaking his katana while sparring with Splinter, and the images of Izanagi and Izanami reappearing over the island. The next issue box promises “something normal.” I wonder if kids were complaining that the series was getting too weird.
Review in a Half-Shell: This is mostly dedicated to character scenes, which reminds me of the myriad “let’s talk” post-crossover issues in the various X-titles. The four Turtles have all been defined pretty broadly in the past, which hasn’t been a problem since so much of the series is dedicated to action scenes, humor, or just exploring crazy ideas. Clarrain/Murphy is able to define the Turtles more clearly here, and sets up scenes that emphasize the differences between the characters. It’s a nice change of pace, and I like the vague clues that set up the next storyline.
Pizza References: Raphael would rather eat pizza than sushi, and Michelangelo performs a haiku dedicated to pizza and Japan:
“Rickshaws of pizza
Yin Yang crust upon my brain
What the Shell? : I’m sure the title of this issue is a reference to the Vapors’ song, the meaning of which, as Pop-Up Video once explained to us, may or may not be a little racy.