These last few weeks, I’ve been going back over Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles original comics every Tuesday for “Turtle Tuesday”. In the last issue, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) finally found their lost master, Splinter, being held in suspended animation in the mysterious T.C.R.I. building. However, in their haste to jump into battle with the T.C.R.I. inhabitants (sentient brains inside robotic endoskeletons), the TMNT were caught in a teleportation beam and vanished from sight. Issue five continues right where the last issue left off, with the TMNT materialising in an unknown place, surrounded by gun-wielding soldiers and accompanied by a cute little alien robot.
Fighting their way to freedom, the TMNT soon discover that they’re not in New York City anymore; instead, their in the futuristic city of Peblak, an alien city on an alien world inhabited by all kinds of…aliens. Their new companion, Honeycutt, recognises the device that transported the TMNT to be very similar to a theoretical machine he had in mind, the Transmat device, however the TMNT’s hopes of Honeycutt being able to transport them home are quickly dashed when Honeycutt reveals his long and convoluted origin.
It turns out that Honeycutt was once a human scientist working on the Transmat Device for the government; however, as they wanted to use it as a means of warfare, he abandoned the project to focus on his Mentawave Helmet, a device capable of boosting the wearer’s capacity for telepathy and telekinesis. However, while answering a distress call from his worker robot, Sal, Honeycutt was struck by a freak bolt of lighting while wearing the helmet and tangled up in some wires with Sal. When he awoke, he found his human body was destroyed and that the Mentawave Helmet had, somehow, transferred his consciousness into Sal’s body. General Blanque, whose soldiers the TMNT fought in the opening panel, discovered Honeycutt’s charred remains and blamed it on Sal, declaring him a Fugitoid, ordering him to be hunted down and destroy. A really out of place and tacked on aside at the bottom of the page, however, reveals that Blanque knew about what had really happened (…somehow) and actually wanted to capture Honeycutt to abuse his Transmat technology.
Either way, the TMNT and Honeycutt decide to work together to get off-world and escape Blanque’s forces; however, while scoping out a nearby bar for a pilot or a means to escape the planet, they are attacked by Blanque’s forces once more. Despite being slightly intoxicated by the alien alcohol, the TMNT manage to hold their own thanks to acquiring the soldier’s laser rifles. Just as all hope seems lost, the bar is attacked by a group of Triceratons, massive aliens that resemble bipedal Triceratops dinosaurs.
The Triceratons capture Honeycutt and the TMNT give chase, resulting in a chase scene through the skies of the city using flying cars. Still reeling from the affects of the alcohol, and being unfamiliar with the alien craft’s controls, the TMNT are soon knocked from the sky by the superior Triceratons and, feeling the pressure of the events they’ve had to endure, Donatello briefly freaks out.
Luckily, some of Blanque’s soldiers fly overhead and the TMNT follow them to a massive shoot out between Blanque’s forces and the Triceratons; arming themselves with some laser pistols, the TMNT fight their way onto the Triceraton ship, gunning down anyone and anything that gets in their way. Before they can properly search the ship for Honeycutt, it takes off and leaves the atmosphere far behind. Honeycutt is taken to converse with the Triceraton commander, who attempts to woo the former scientist into developing a Transmat Device for them rather than General Blanque. However, as the Triceraton ship prepares to dock with their base (a massive, technologically-converted asteroid), the TMNT suddenly realise that they are slowly asphyxiating in the cargo hold as the oxygen levels begin to drop…
Man, we’ve come a long way from the first issue…it’s only issue five and we’ve already seen the TMNT fight rat-eating robots, battle aliens inside robotic bodies, teleport across the galaxy, be trapped on an alien world, and now they’re choking to death, lost in space! Suddenly, the idea of teenage mutant ninja turtles fighting a dishonourable ninja in razor-sharp armour doesn’t seem so far-fetched! It’s honestly commendable how quickly Eastman and Laird decided to just go balls-deep with their already ridiculous premise; it would have been so easy to keep the TMNT grounded in New York and on Earth, fighting ninjas or thugs or being typical superheroes but, instead, they had them going up against aliens within no time at all.
Equally impressive is that the injury “Michaelangelo” sustained to his wrist in the last issue continues to be a factor in this issue…at least, it is at the beginning of the issue. Add to that and Mikey actually shows slightly more personality this time around; he’s actually the first to leap into action against Blanque’s forces (rather than, say, Raphael) and it appears as though he’s the turtle who gets drunk in the bar (though, to be fair, it’s hard to say since all the turtles look the same).
Additionally, Donatello stands out a little more in this issue, pulling faces to distract Blanque’s forces so Leonardo can impale them on daggers, piloting the flying car they use to chase after the Triceratons, and freaking out when they get knocked from the sky. The TMNT have been noticeably struggling since Splinter went missing back in issue three but the only one who has really lost his cool over their situation so far has been Raphael so it’s a nice change of pace to see one of the other turtles give in to the stress of the pitfalls they’ve had to go through in the space of a few nights.
What did you think of this issue? Do you think it was maybe to soon in the TMNT’s life to shave them thrown into space and battling dinosaur-like aliens or do you enjoy the wacky, off-the-wall nature of the TMNT comics and concept? Now that we’re a few issues in, which of the TMNT do you like the most from these original issues? Whatever your thoughts about the TMNT, drop a comment below and come back for next week’s instalment of Turtle Tuesday in which Mikey takes the spotlight for his own one-shot issue.