Credits: Gary Carlson (writer), Frank Fosco (penciler), Mark Heike (inks), Pat Brosseau (letters)
Pizza-Free Summary: Leonardo has a nightmare that he’s been infected with Donatello’s cybernetics. He awakens with a prosthetic hand, which Donatello assures him isn’t cybernetic. Meanwhile, the city holds a parade for Casey Jones. Shadow’s grandfather sees her on television and vows to get her back. At Michelangelo’s apartment, Rock arrives to take Horridus on a S.O.S. mission. At the Foot Clan’s hideout, Raphael and Pimiko duel for leadership of the New York sect. Raphael wins, but refuses to kill Pimiko, rejecting the Japanese council’s authority. On their orders, Raphael’s Foot ninjas turn on him. He tries to escape but is ambushed by Lady Shredder. Pimiko emerges behind Raphael, leading him to question the identity of this new Shredder.
Continuity Notes: Pimiko loses her (ridiculously long, very ‘90s) ponytail during her duel with Raphael. Why exactly Pimiko tied up Splinter last issue isn’t clear (I’m assuming that was her), but he seems fine this issue.
Total N00B: For the first time since the Image series began, I think I understand Michelangelo’s living situation. He lives in an apartment, one floor below Casey and April’s apartment. Apparently, Casey owns the entire building. (Hmm. So why was he working at a grocery store?) Splinter is staying with Michelangelo while Donatello and Leonardo remain in their old sewer home.
I Love the '90s: Shadow thinks she sees one of the Teletubbies during Casey Jones’ parade.
Review in a Half-Shell: I’m not sure if Gary Carlson knew this when he wrote the issue, but TMNT Image-style is on its next-to-last issue. Some of the threads appear to be drawing to end, while new ones are still being introduced. (The mobster grandpa? Again?) The issue’s opening is a cute example of how Carlson occasionally plays with the reader’s expectations, giving us an abbreviated story arc involving Leonardo also becoming a cyborg, then revealing it’s a dream, then revealing that it might actually be coming true. Not that I want more cyborgs in this title, but if Carlson actually had a coherent plan to tie together Leo’s story with Don’s, and then return the characters to their proper status quo, then good for him. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see it.
We are seeing a conclusion to the (rather dumb) Raphael/Foot storyline. The upshot is that Raph learns that the Foot couldn’t be trusted all along, with even his closest confidants turning against him. While I’m glad this arc is over, and the idea ultimately was to teach Raphael a lesson, it’s hard to pretend that Raph hasn’t been twisted out-of-character to get to this point. Not only is he unusually tolerant of criminal behavior, but also just remarkably stupid for thinking that he could become best buddies with a clan of criminal ninja assassins. I will say that this is Frank Fosco’s best issue in a while, and it was a treat to see Raph don his traditional mask during the duel, after spending the entire run in various guises. Maybe one reason Fosco’s Turtles often seem so “off” to me is because he’s rarely allowed to draw them the way they’re supposed to look.