Credits: Dean Clarrain (writer), Jim Lawson & Dan Berger (art), Mary Kelleher (letters)
Summary: The Turtles discover that the glowing tree Gaea is Tresmundo’s last remaining tree, and the Qats and Grrrufs both claim ownership. The Turtles befriend a Qat named Pumarro and protect him from the Grrrufs, who have devastated the forest and now demand the remaining tree. The light inside the glowing tree suddenly gives out, angering the Grrrufs. Qat is kidnapped, along with Splinter and the Turtles, by the Grrrufs’ reinforcements. King Gorrrge of the Grrrufs declares that the six of them must pay for extinguishing the tree by becoming fuel. They’re tied to stakes and surrounded by fire.
Continuity Notes: The location of this story is revealed as the land of Tresmundo Not surprisingly, the Qats are anthropomorphic cat-people and the Grrrufs are anthropomorphic dog-people. It seems that the newspaper strip is their only appearance. What a shame that the children of the world never had an opportunity to bug their parents for Pumarro and King Gorrrge action figures for Christmas.
I Love the '90s: King Gorrrge says that without the light from the tree, there is only “now a thousand points of blight.” This is a reference to a phrase used in more than one speech by President George H. W. Bush.
Review in a Half-Shell: A pretty weak batch of strips, to be honest. Clarrain/Murphy is doing his predictable spiel about disrespecting our precious mother Gaea, and the evil Grrrufs have no motivation outside of pure greed. Even if you’re not exhausted with the writer’s pet themes, it’s hard not to notice that the daily continuity becomes extremely awkward during these weeks. The sequence that has Pumarro approaching the tree seems to drag on forever, with the Turtles repeating the same dialogue day after day as Pumarro moves like a snail towards this stupid glowing tree. The fight scene with the Grrrufs is also remarkably tepid, even by the standards of a daily “action” strip. Jim Lawson’s still around for this entire run, which means that the Qat and Grrruf designs look like something out of an early ‘80s B&W indie, but by no means resemble the cartooning I associate with the mass-merchandised TMNT franchise. If Ken Mitchroney could’ve drawn any of these strips, it should’ve been this run. I will say that Lawson occasionally seems to be enjoying himself. I like the way he plays around with the standard three-panel newspaper format, incorporating the panel designs into the lettering during the Grrruf’s debut, and transforming the panel borders into prison bars when the heroes are incarcerated. Any break from this tedium is appreciated.