Somehow the cover for this issue is the one that always gets used to define this Universe, as recently as the TMNT Forever tv movie. Why? A half-naked Raphael and his three brothers riding a giant sea turtle? I don’t get it.
Anyway, this is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures # 17. It begins with two aliens, Skul and Bean, hitching a ride to earth in a spacecraft disguised as a meteor… presumably the same meteor the Turtles noticed in the sky at the end of the last issue. These aliens are the same ones that Krang promised Earth to way back in issue #12, and now it seems like that plot is being picked up again.
What’s great about this series are the ongoing plots, which is what makes any Turtles comic as far as I’m concerned, and is the reason the 80s television series didn’t stand the test of time.
Anyway, they contact their scary-as-hell queen and explain that because of the plant’s depleting ozone layer it’s perfect for their species. Environmentalism wasn’t subtle here, kiddies.
Anyway, with that little bit of prologue / foreshadowing over, we get “Fight the Power,” which begins with Man Ray and April riding humpback whales through the ocean.
That does not sound right.
Anyway, they stumble across some fishing trawlers and May Ray gives us some education about the Kemp Sea Turtles and how special devices in the nets help them from being harmed. April wants to see them and they dive down.
Then Leonardo says, out of nowhere, “Hey. let’s try to contact Master Splinter psychically.”
Now, this meditation-enhanced ability is a well documented part of Turtles lore since the movies, but its been well established that this is a different universe. A universe where this power has never been brought up. So to just have Leo bring it up this way… and to have his brothers go for it… is odd, to say the least. Now if they’d all looked at him like he was retarded, maybe I would have bought into it a little more.
And apparently they establish contact fairly quickly, because April is still holding her breath on the ocean floor when they do. WOW. Anyway, May Ray discovers Kemp Turtles dead because the nets don’t have the devices as required by law and has himself a little meltdown. He storms up onto the ship and sees a Sea Captain named Mossback with one eye and one leg and proceeds to beat the piss out of him, right after leaving April at the bottom of the sea and exclaiming that the fisherman have no respect for life.
He gets beaten by them and is about to be executed, when April (apparently cool that he left her for dead) alerts the Turtles and they show up on the back of a giant sea Turtle to save the day looking menacing as all hell… except Raphael, strangely.
The Turtles fight off Captain and crew until Man Ray arrives and knocks the Captain overboard. He exclaims that he can’t swim (I imagine it would be hard with a spear for a leg) and Raph and Ray look as though they’re about to let him die when a giant sea turtle saves the man.
We then get an epilog in which Kid Colt apologized in person to Null for his failure to capture the Turtles, at which point Null introduces his two new business partners: Skull and Bean!
I hate this issue. I can tell you why by summing the issue up quicker: Man Ray discovers fisherman not using proper nets. Rather than reporting it to the authorities which would result on a slap on the wrist and a fine, he beats an old blind cripple and then tries to drown him.
Doesn’t seem very nice, does it? I get that extinction is bad… but this issue is so heavy-handed with that messages that it turns our heroes into murderers. And I’ll take litterers over murderers any day.
This is the worst yet, and possibly in the series, in my opinion.