Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

March 16th, 2018, 4:41 pm #21

Fearless Defenders #8
Valkyrie and Misty team up with Elsa Bloodstone in Chinatown, in something like "Big Trouble in Little China". They find the subterranean lair of Zheng Bao Yu, where she's been creating bio-engineered Brood drones. This also brings out "No-Name" of the Brood (from "Planet: Hulk"), who helps the Defenders. Carlone LeFay is still behind all the various villainous schemes. Interesting little monster story, which I'm guessing will play out as this title's final arc.
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Scrooge McSuck
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Joined: December 8th, 2004, 2:32 am

March 17th, 2018, 3:31 am #22

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1… Volume 2 (October 1993)

I plan on re-visiting the original run of TMNT, but I picked this up during the Summer for the sake of recapping it, and then I stopped reading my comics and got back into doing my rasslin’ recaps. The inside cover is a letter to the fans, presumably from Peter Laird (he tends to “interact” with the audience way more than Kevin Eastman), detailing the motivation behind a revamped series. The most important part is that all illustrations will be in color. For the longest time, only the covers were done in color (dating back to Volume 1, Issue #5), as well as the Archie Comics, but this is the first time they’ll have their hands on the product and go with that change in direction. Why? “It should be fun, it’ll look cool, and if we ever get tired of it, we can always go back to black and white.” Although Laird promises more hands on effort with the franchise (along with Eastman), their names are nowhere to be seen for Issue #1. Jim Lawson, who worked on Volume 1, is listed as Story & Pencils for the main story, as well as Story and Pencils & Letters for the back-up story. (Even with the full color direction, the mask color remains red for all the turtles, at least for now).

The first page is a beaten and bloodied Splinter, laying at the feet of one of the Turtles, who’s right hand is covered in (what we assume to be Splinter’s) blood. SWERVE! Splinter had a vision that he wants to investigate further through meditation. Donatello joins him and has his own vision of a flying space-craft. After telling Splinter of his vision, Splinter says what he saw was Chihaya, the village he was born in, and says Donatello was there to bury him. Huh?

We suddenly jump to Casey Jones sleeping on his couch, when he’s approached by what appears to be a mutated freak that resembles himself, and vaguely threatens “Shadow”, prompting Casey to wake up and check on a small child in her crib. April O’Neil has been having weird nightmares too, involving being chased by Mousers and having an encounter with Dr. Baxter Stockman (still African-American), who has tubes coming from his face and neck, connected to his torso. Casey chalks it up to bad midnight Pizza.

Transition again, this time to Raphael pursuing a rat through dank tunnels of the underground. The rat gradually grows in size until it’s larger than Raph himself, and sends him crashing through a stone wall where one of the other Turtles (unnamed, and indistinguishable) is strapped to a table by two weird looking creates: one a faceless, generic Alien, and the other a slightly remodeled Triceration. They appear to prep Raphael for some kind of operation, when things fade to black… and it turns out to be a film, credited as a “Michaelangelo Production.” (1993, and they still can’t spell Michelangelo correctly!)

The “bonus” comic is of little note, and not worth recapping. The final page has an advertisement for Volume 2, No. 1 of Stan Sakai’s “Space Usagi” (and yes, that character got a “Space” themed figure from Playmates, although I’m sure it had nothing to do with the comic).

For a first effort, I thought this had little focus or direction, and did nothing to establish any characters. If the idea of a relaunch is to hook new fans, then where was the effort in giving us any meaningful plot or character direction? Dream sequences are fine as filler in an established series, but the FIRST ISSUE? Volume 2 of TMNT didn’t run for nearly as long as Volume 1 (issue count that is, since Volume 1 had sporadic production dates for the first 3-4 years), and if this is any indication on quality, it’s obvious why it ran for so little time. Take a pass, read one of the Archie issues instead. At least they had (ridiculous) focus.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

March 19th, 2018, 2:21 pm #23

Lockjaw #1 (2018)
Lockjaw bounces between the moon and Brooklyn, picking up D-Man and fighting intergalactic hamsters. Then they hop to the Savage land. As fun as it sounds. It's played mostly for humor, but when you think about it, Marvel itself is full of ridiculous concepts and crazy characters, so this is totally indulging in that.

Oh, and I guess I missed the "bombshell" that D-Man's gay? Considering we don't really make a point of other heroes' sexuality (except when ROMANCE is a plot point), I don't see any issues here.
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Scrooge McSuck
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Joined: December 8th, 2004, 2:32 am

March 19th, 2018, 10:32 pm #24



Eastman & Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #5 (October 1985)
(We’re back to the full-color “The Works” reprinting for these issues. Issue #5 is the first of the TMNT series to give credit to someone besides Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. Steve Lavigne receives credit for lettering, and will continue to be credited for his work for the immediate future. As mentioned before, much of the Triceraton storyline is featured and holds close to the source material in the 2003 TV series.)


When we last saw our heroes, the Turtles infiltrated the TCRI building in search of Master Splinter, confronted the (yet to be identified) Utroms, and jumped into a transference portal. In the one-off issue of Fugitoid, we finally find out their destination, finding themselves in an alley with the robot cornered by a squad of General Blanque’s Galactic Federation soldiers.

With little time to react, The Turtles engage in battle with General Blanque’s troops. With the convenient distraction, Honeycutt (the Fugitive Android, “Fugitoid”) makes a run for it, breaking his way through some poorly crafted wooden wall. Being a good-hearted person, he can’t escape alone, and directs traffic to his newly created escape route, which includes roof-tops and diving into the back of a dumpster, despite Honeycutt pleading about his fear of heights. This brings us to a two-panel joke about how strange the universe is, and a group of goofy-grinning aliens that offer nothing more than a quick laugh.

While on route for cover, Honeycutt lets the Turtles know they are in the city of “Peblak” on the planet D’Hoonib, which looks like a futuristic war-zone with hovercrafts everywhere. The Turtles and Honeycutt bond over a quick recap of each of their origin stories (Turtles? Origin story? Haven’t heard that one enough, am I right?). Meanwhile, General Blanque and the Triceraton Army are both putting together plans for capturing Honeycutt. The Turtles wander the streets and come across Portneroy’s Spaceport Jockeybar, which with a near-full page panel, looks like something that could be described as “Mos Eisley Cantina”-like in appearance. It doesn’t take long for Federation soliders to discover the Turtles location and another battle erupts. In even shorter order, a group of Triceraton soldiers blow their way through the building and capture the Fugiotid. The Turtles pursue them in a hovercraft (no doubt the inspiration for the Nutrino’s ride in the original animated series), nearly wrecking a few times.

The Turtles eventually catch up with a few of the Triceraton, but are no match for them, even with the aid of a flying vehicle, as the Triceraton troops tear apart their transportation with ease, causing the Turtles to have a crash landing. Donatello has a mild meltdown, fearing that without Honeycutt, they’re stuck in a galaxy far from home. Nearby, more Triceraton and Federation troops are battling in a large wooded area. The Turtles recover some blasters from fallen soldiers and follow the troop keeping Honeycutt captive. Turns out that the entrance they found their way into was a disguised spaceship. The Triceraton make their escape, laughing at the Federation army wasting their time on a decoy.

Once a comfortable distance from Blanque’s army, the Fugitoid is brought in front of the Triceraton leader (who is still without name in the comics). He lets Honeycutt know that he discovered him through information obtained from Blanque, which in turn lets Honeycutt know that Blanque knew all along who he was. Honeycutt insists he doesn’t have the means to help with a transmit device, having never built a prototype. Unnamed leader doesn’t accept this for an answer and offers him the means to complete the task on a gigantic base that is home to the Triceraton race, atop what is basically a large asteroid with a giant city built on the flat side of it. Meanwhile (I use that a lot, I apologize), the Turtles have been trapped in the cargo hold section of the ship and are running out of air… and that’s where we leave things, hopefully resumed in Issue #6.

It's a pretty basic issue plot wise, with the Turtles meeting Honeycutt, looking for help, and Honeycutt being kidnapped by one of two armies fighting for his knowledge for an ultimate weapon. The art gives a good impression of a war-torn land, with some interesting creatures inhabiting it. The Turtles come off more as background noise here, as the table continues to be set with focus on Honeycutt/Fugitoid, the Galactic Federation, and the Triceraton Army.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

March 20th, 2018, 3:33 pm #25

It always amazed/fascinated/confused me how the Turtles were immediately visiting different sci-fi worlds. They have a LOT of stuff crammed into those first 6 or 7 issues. It's like they had all these crazy ideas and didn't have the patience to wait for their implementation.
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Scrooge McSuck
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Joined: December 8th, 2004, 2:32 am

March 20th, 2018, 5:38 pm #26

Once they return to New York a few issues down the road, things kind of flounder a bit, and then they fall back on a character that was (thought to be) killed off (SWERVE)!. Once that wraps up, the next 30+ issues is literally guest writers and artists without any consistent structure. Eastman and Laird return for the final dozen issues to wrap things up nicely, but damn that three year lull in the middle...
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

March 21st, 2018, 10:10 pm #27

Fearless Defenders #9
Feels like I missed something, as the story opens with the Defenders fighting Quicksand, (a new version of) The Enchantress and the (obligatory) Headmen in the middle of NYC. The villains are also backed by Caroline LeFay. That Brood stuff from last issue? Forget about it.

In the middle of the fight, Valkyrie turns back to Dr. Annabelle Riggs after seeing Riggs' ex-girlfriend. Riggs then suddenly KISSES the ex, cuz' that's what lesbians do! At least in the minds of comic book fanboys.

The chicks are supposed to meet up with their boyfriends/love interests, who all pitch in and help out. Some of these connections are news to me, but we've got:
Dani Moonstar -- Nate Grey and Cannonball
Clea-- Dr. Strange (of course)
Misty Knight- Iron Fist (of course)
Hipployta-- Hercules (not really an item, but something in common)
Elsa Bloodstone -- Jack Russell the Werewolf (by Night). Never noticed it before, but wouldn't someone named "Jack Russell" be a Were-TERRIER by Night? Hey oh!

Venom (Flash Thompson) is also there, but I have no idea who he's connected with.

They all hang out at a pub owned by the former superheroine Shamrock (guess where she's from?)

This title really takes a nosedive with this issue. The letters page is full of Tumblr and Twitter references, with the editor more interested in getting fans to "cosplay" the Fearless Defenders than anything else. The covers have all taken to cutesy gimmicky themes (anime, street hoodie chicks, Russian constructivism posters, etc).

Fearless Defenders #10
As part of the "Infinity" crossover and also the "Inhumanity" crossover. The team fights some of Thanos' Wardogs, while picking up newly hatched Inhuman, Ren Kimura. Her forearms turn into razor sharp gauntlets...and I'm sure any familiarity to "Witchblade" is all a coincidence. Ren also apparently has a crush on Annabelle Riggs, so fanboys can angle for some sexay-three-way action. *fart*

More fighting ensues as Caroline LeFay arrives with her new team of Scorpia, Mindblast (who?), Titania and Shriek. You wouldn't have known Shriek was there, unless they labeled her on her first panel. Sloppy issue, all around.
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Scrooge McSuck
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Joined: December 8th, 2004, 2:32 am

March 26th, 2018, 3:12 am #28



Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #6 (February 1986)

Picking up where Issue #5 left off, we open with the Tricerations, in possession of Prof. Honeycutt, approaching their home-world, featured in a beautiful two-page spread of multiple asteroids cobbled together with metal, arm-like attachments hosting each smaller asteroid’s base. There’s plenty to admire, but it’s crowding doesn’t lose focus, either. While inspecting the ship for damage, Triceraton troops come across the Turtles, who appear to be in a meditative state of unconsciousness.

The Triceraton high council attempt to persuade Honeycutt in building their ultimate weapon to defeat “the Federats”, but are met with resistance. Upon discovering that Honeycutt has a connection with the Turtles, they’re used as a bargaining chip and placed in a maximum security cell. Michelangelo eggs on one of the Triceraton, mocking his race and calling him a coward for not using his blaster on them. The Triceration recognizes him for his spunk and looks forward to killing him first.

Honeycutt laments what has transpired in the form of deep exposition, giving the reader a refresher on his journey, then goes into a monologue about how the Federation and Triceraton are just as ethnocentric, xenophobic, and paranoid as the other. If he were forced to build the Transmat, he couldn’t, knowing the potential for mass death and terror it would cause, even if it means death for himself or his four new friends.

Back in New York City (the city of lights, hopes, dreams, and violence), we catch up with April O’Neil, who is deeply worried about the Turtles, who have been missing for 2-days. April turns on the TV (disappointed that the Munsters are on, and she’s apparently too lazy to change the channel), and we’re soon treated to a BREAKING NEWS report from outside the T.C.R.I building. A flash of light, reaching several miles into the sky, was seen at 9:30 PM 2 nights ago, and no word has come since, and no one has been allowed into the building. With nothing left to do, the National Guard has been alerted to attempt forced entry, leaving April even more worried than she was moments earlier.

Meanwhile, in a Galaxy Far (but not too far) Away, “A major sporting event is about to take place.” It’s a survivor take all competition, and the four off-world contenders (Turtles) will take on four reigning Champions. We fill time with a few panels of various wide fights featuring outlandish creatures, but it doesn’t take long to get us to the Main Event (not scheduled for 1 fall)… The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (yes, acknowledged as such) take on The Triceration Republic All-Star Team of Mixx Trolo, Xoite Damaz, Daz Ublem, and last but not least, Monza Ram.

The Turtles throw around some colorful language, including some damn’s and even “let’s kick ass” with TRIPLE exclamation point! We are treated to four full pages of fighting without text, with the Turtles holding their own, including Leonardo slashing one of the Triceraton with his Katana, and Raphel piercing another in the ribs with his Sai. The Turtles make a run for it, commandeering a camera craft, and attempt to rescue Honeycutt. The Turtles take the Triceraton Prime Leader as a hostage, but it doesn’t last long, as a laser war-zone unfolds. Suddenly, a blinding light appears, and the Turtles, Honeycutt, and several of the Triceraton are transported through time and space… TO BE CONTINUED.

Yes, this was ONE ISSUE, and I skimmed parts that probably could’ve been covered. Visually, it’s one of the best issues, highlighted by the two-page spread that opens the issue, and a solid 8 pages of combat with the Turtles and Triceraton. We’ve touched base back in New York through April coming across a breaking news update about the TCRI building (again, all this was rehashed in the 2003 animated series). Character inconsistencies pop up, with Michelangelo of all people being the aggressive jerk of the group in the face of their imprisonment. We’ve heard over and over he was the least utilized of the four, and was never the focus of story-telling, so it kind of doesn’t come as a surprise. I don’t mind a monkey-wrench in the formula, but he’s yet to find consistent behavior in any issues to date.

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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

March 28th, 2018, 3:09 pm #29

Fearless Defenders #11
Because they've only been together for a short while...the team takes a vacation to New Amazonia, home of Hippolyta. Annabelle Riggs and Ren Kimura immediately shack up, because that's what lesbians do, goshdarnit! The writers have also backtrack a bit and insist that Ren is an "adult", when she was clearly presented as a mid-teen, only one issue ago.

Magma (from the New Mutants) makes a guest appearance. Amazonia gets attacked by Aradnea (Greek goddess of monsters n' stuff) and Echidna-- making her first appearance and supposedly an Atlantean witch. It's all orchestrated by Caroline LeFay, again.

Only real interesting note is that Hipployta is trying to build up the Amazons, again. It seems like that might conflict with the other sub-plot of Valkyrie trying to build up the Valkyior/Shield-Maidens. LeFay offers the Amazons a chance to join her. Sounds like that'd be a ongoing plot, but...

Fearless Defenders #12
They track Caroline LeFay and all of her flunkies to a cave outside...Los Angeles, I guess. With the help of Frankie Raye (Nova; former herald of Galactus), they siphon off the energy LeFay was trying to steal and disperse it. Buncha' two-page spreads of fightin', as all the flunkies are dealt with.

LeFay disappears, yet it actually turns out that she was successful in summoning her mom, Morgan LeFay, back to the land of the living.

Oh, and the cover appears like...I'm not sure of the exact name, but some indy publisher that does "Grimm Fairy Tales" with a buncha' slutty looking chicks on the cover. That's what you get, as it's Valkyrie almost falling out of her top while Annabelle strokes her.

That's it for this title. A mild send-off to the team. It's only been 2-3 years, but I have no idea if they're still kicking around. The title also started off with a rough dynamic between Misty Knight and Valkyrie, which died out after the first arc. They were on rocky ground after the first adventure, but were magically working together and everything was fine...the very next issue. Similar situation with Dani Moonstar, as she was just along for the ride, despite her initial reluctance. They could've done a lot with Moonstar, but she was just a background character.

Another unnecessary plot point was that Clea suddenly wanted to divorce Dr. Strange. I always thought they were "lovers", but not actual partners. That must've changed in the past 3 decades, obviously. Again, I have no idea if there was any follow-up on that situation in the past 2-3 years.

I'd recommend the first half of this title (skip the "AU" issue), but would say you should eject after issue 7. At that point, the book began to congratulate itself too much and the all-female thing became bothersome, as we were reminded of it constantly. I'm sorry, but I don't think a frickin' comic book with gratuitous lesbian kissing is going to broaden my mind or anything.
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Scrooge McSuck
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April 3rd, 2018, 8:35 pm #30

Eastman and Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #7 (May 1986)


The issue opens with a news report being broadcast from outside the T.C.R.I. building. Three days ago, a blinding light shot straight out of the top of the building, and there’s been silence since. Suddenly, another light flashes, sending the nearby citizens into a panic, and the National Guard have been ordered to enter the building by force.

Inside the building, we see the Ninja Turtles, along with Honeycutt and three Triceraton, have been beamed back by the mysterious beings that inhabit the building. The Triceraton troops quickly realize what took place, having traveled by a transmat device, and wish to seize it for their own use. Chaos erupts, with the robotic beings stunning them to prevent destruction to “their way home.” The Turtles find out that they mean no harm, and instead reunite the Turtles with their master Splinter. Splinter sits the Turtles down for a bit of exposition. Dr. Baxter Stockman’s M.O.U.S.E.R.’s had him on the brink of death when he was discovered by the TCRI’s. They were set to vaporize him when he spoke, convincing them to nurse him to health for questioning. When the Turtles were accidentally transferred through space and time, he was able to convince them to bring them back from wherever they were sent. At this point, one of the TCRI’s cuts in to tell their story: 100 of them arrived over 20 years ago to observe the plant and its life forms. The ship they arrived in crashed, leaving a third of them alive. Using their exoskeletons and false skins, they assumed residency in New York City, and earned enough money to purchase the building that they presently reside in. The TCRI also confirm the origins of the Turtles. There was a near accident that caused a canister to jar itself from their truck, which in turn smashed into a bowl of baby Turtles, with everything crashing down through an open manhole. The cannister contained a mutagenic ooze that alters the DNA of whatever encounters it.

With everyone caught up to speed, the TCRI’s offer to transport the Turtles, but the translocation device was damaged in the scuffle with the Triceraton. With the National Guard breaking their way into the building, time is running dangerously low for all involved. The Troops are slowed by walking bots (which would be seen in the original animated series and video games, among other places). Dr. Honeycutt offers his help to the TCRI’s. The device is repaired, but with the Troops having progressed further than anticipated, it’s a mad scramble for the exit. The TCRI’s insist the Turtles must trust them by entering the portal, a leap of faith, if you will. With the building scheduled for self-destruction, they all enter the portal just in time as the building collapses in on itself. April O’Neil watches the news from her living room when she hears a loud crash… the arrival of the Turtles and Splinter in her bathtub. We end on a joke, with one of the Turtles grumbling about being sent “to the comfort of his home”.

The saga featuring the Ninja Turtles, The TCRI’s (or Utroms), Dr. Honeycutt, and The Triceraton comes to a close, which should make the next few issues an interesting journey with everything wrapped up. It was nice getting a bit more backstory to all involved, but at the same time, the origins of the Turtles seems like a good crutch to fill 2-3 pages worth of panels, and after such heart-pounding finale, it seems almost cheap that the portal magically sent everyone to their desired location without any explanation, just a simple “trust me.” If the series had monthly releases, I could’ve seen this storyline stretched to 5-6 issues easily, but with their release pattern, it makes sense I guess to try and wrap it up quickly by packing several issues. Coming up next will be the Micro-Series character specific issues for Michelangelo and Donatello (which were both released between issues 5 and 6, but didn't seem necessary to break up those issues with their connected storylines)
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