Tuesday, February 3, 2015

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (vol. 3) #7 - February 1997

Credits: Gary Carlson (writer), Frank Fosco (penciler), Andrew Pepoy (inks), Chris Eliopoulos (letters)

Pizza-Free Summary:  The Turtles investigate Shadow’s kidnapping and discover that their nearby homeless friend, Charlie, has been murdered with a sai.  Raphael is indignant when his brothers suggest the Foot Clan is responsible.  He storms off to speak to the Foot directly.  Meanwhile, Casey Jones lashes out against the Turtles in a drunken rage.  At the Foot’s headquarters, Raphael learns that they actually are responsible for Shadow’s kidnapping.  The Foot council gives Raphael an assignment if he wants Shadow returned to him -- the murder of mob boss "Big Tony" Puzorelli.  Raphael sneaks into Tony’s high-rise apartment but can’t bring himself to commit the act.  When he tries to leave, he’s caught by security.  Shortly before retreating out of a window, Raphael discovers Shadow is inside Tony’s apartment.  The Foot declares that they cannot tolerate failure and cuts Raphael’s rope.

Continuity Notes:  Karai is mentioned for the first time in the Image series.  Raphael explains to the Foot council that “Karai - leader of the Foot in Japan, promised PEACE between our clans!”  They respond by telling Raphael that there is division within the Foot, and Karai is missing and presumed dead.

Total N00B:  I have no idea if Charlie, the Homeless Person is an established character, but the Turtles act as if they’ve known him for years.  

What the Shell?:  Raphael defends his friendship with the Foot by telling Leonardo that he’s the one who told him to give the Foot chance.  Later in the conversation, just a few panels later, Leo exclaims “They're criminals!  Hired killers!”  So…why exactly did he want Raphael to give them a chance?

I Love the '90s:  Michelangelo does his writing on a typewriter, which is destroyed by Casey this issue in a drunken rage.

We Get Letters:  Erik Larsen repeats, once again, that there will be no female Turtles. No. Female. Turtles.

Review in a Half-Shell:  Gary Carlson and Erik Larsen have stated in interviews their desire to return to the Frank Miller-inspired style of the earliest TMNT stories, and this issue is the clearest example of that so far.  The Turtles are now in the middle of a ninjas vs. gangsters feud, which is pretty much textbook Miller (early Miller, at least).  The art also borrows heavily from the high-contrast Sin City style, which suits the shadowy Foot Clan quite well.  Plus, most of these scenes take place in the dark, so there’s some justification for the choice outside of it looking cool.  Parts of the issue overplay the soap opera dramatics, but overall, there’s a solid motivation for the characters and a nice cliffhanger for the next issue.  Hopefully, future issues will clarify what exactly the Turtles’ relationship with the Foot is supposed to be (this is one area of Mirage continuity that this series hasn’t explained particularly well), and provide some closure on Charlie’s murder.  We know that the Foot kidnapped Shadow, but there’s no given reason for why innocent Charlie had to die…and even the Turtles seem to forget about him within a page of finding his body.  I understand that the wounds on his body are the clue that leads the Turtles to the Foot Clan, but I’d like to think his death would serve a larger story function than that.

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