Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures Special (#7, Winter 1993) – Stanley Wiater, Bob Fingerman

4 out of 5

Sure, give me goofy stuff, I’m down.  TMNTA occasionally went dumb, and occasionally went preachy, and then had its comparatively serious moments, but sometimes it just went plain silly, and I was happy with that.

This would happen especially in the Specials, which sort of brought back the Fred Wolf vibe that was ditched after the single digit issues, and then enlivened by some unique artistry and a weird side-continuity to the regular series.  Case in point, issue #7 has Stanley Wiater and Bob Fingerman bringing back Monsterex and Bookwurm, the former for one of the most hilariously, shoulder-shruggy “this makes no sense” tales I’ve read, and the latter as a kind of host for the two stories in the book.

In ‘The Return of Monsterex,’ Garret Ho looks so wonderfully animated under ‘D. Rohrer’s inks and Barry Grossman’s colors, delivering some ridiculous layouts (one in which the reading order, I think, goes against the chronological order of the panels, but somehow it works…) and leaning waaay in to Wiater’s hokey script, which has Monsterex lamenting the inhumanity of man in the most cliched way possible.  Very little of it follows any logic, existing solely on tropes.  It’s goofy.  I love it.  (I mean, it’s not a good story, but it’s supremely enjoyable.)

Bob Fingerman introduces gross-out gag ‘Innardo,’ in an appreciably April focused tale that has her investigating low-level thefts in a hospital.  Fingerman, doing it all – art, lettering, colors – smartly keeps Innardo shadowed to play up the gentle monster bit, and I love how he has a bin of ‘recombinant DNA’ just hanging around, handy for mutating things.  I can understand not liking Fingerman’s angular art, but it works with his pulpy writing style, and he’s consistent – he stays on his models, and his whole world exists in that crinkled style.

So, no, neither of these shorts are classics, and I admit I was adverse to the specials initially, finding them a distraction from the series, but that’s very much the point: it’s nice that they take place in their own world, and even nicer that they branch off into their own mini-mythologies.