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TMNT Adventures
by yo go re

Okay, I figured it out: the reason I remember myself being a big TMNT fan but can't remember anything that happened in a single episode is that what I was actually a big fan of was the Archie comic series.

This solitary mutant turtle from Palmadise isn't as evil as he is... ecologically dedicated? Driven mad by the needless destruction of his paradise planet for a presidential palace, the sinister Slash will take his vengeance on authority figures across the galaxy!

Originally just an adaptation of the cartoon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures fell so far behind schedule that a pair of Mirage Studios staffers were put in charge of it and allowed to do pretty much whatever they wanted as long as the books came out on time. The title served as a buffer between the campy Fred Wolf cartoon and the grimdark Eastman and Laird comics, keeping fans of one from having to worry about pleasing the other. It also allowed the writers, Ryan Brown and Stephen Murphy, to treat characters well, rather than making everyone a bumbling idiot with a dumb plan.

This is the third Slash figure NECA has released, but it might as well be the first: the cartoon design was dumb back in the '90s and hasn't gotten any better since then, and the videogame figure had to have the blocky pixel paint; but now NECA has the Archie license, so they can finally release the real Slash. Third time's the charm!

The biggest surprise of this release is that the sculpt is entirely new - yes, even the big, spiky shell has been redone from the two previous releases. Amazing! Helps that most of it can immediately be reused for the animated-style Tokka, but still. Paul Harding did the work, and man, has that guy had a 2022 or what? His name was in dozens of reviews this year, and now here's one more right at the end. The body is taller and stockier than the other two Slashes, with thicker limbs and a wider shell. He still has the usual lopsided eyes, and a way angrier expression than before. The spikes on his knee and elbow pads are larger, and there are warts sculpted on the head, arms, and legs.

Rather than curved blades on the back of his hands, comic Slash has straight blades tied to his wrists. That sounds like a minor difference - and it is - but it's one that's true to the comics that spawned the character, so it's good they got it right. His belt still has the Ƨ logo in the center (and it's still supposed to be a backwards S, not a Z) and the skull-and-crossbones squares beside that, then four round throwing discs around each side, and paired pouches on each side in the back. The belt would already have had to be new, since the body is wider, but was anyone expecting them to change up what he has on it?

TMNT Adeventures didn't color Slash like the toy, all blue and purple and yellow; rather, he was a muted brownish-green, and so this toy follows suit. His belt and pads are brown, and his scutes are a dark, mustardy color. His mask is black, which meally makes the white eyes pop. The bumps on his skin get to be a darker green than the rest of him, and there are painted outlines just like on the other NECA comicbook Turtles. His white blades get blue shading to create shadows, but weirdly, so does his belt. How odd.

Slash includes several alternate hands (fists, open, holding) and two weapons: his crooked sword/sai, which we discussed in the videogame review, and some sort of billhook thing? It's absolutely something a vintage TMNT figure might have come with (and did - all four brothers had one on their weapons sprue back in 1988), but not Slash. Why not use that part of the budget for something he'd actually want: his beloved plastic palm tree! Gonna have to steal one from the cartoon.

Trading the hands out or even posing them is difficult because they're so close to the wrist blades. This may be more accurate, but it's not as easy to play with. There are swivel/​hinges in all six hands, then double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, a barbell neck, balljointed chest, balljoint hips, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. A lot of stiff joints when I opened the box, but nothing that broke before I got it moving.

The comic packaging is a trapezoidal box with a window wrapped around three sides, and Archie-style graphics. And also Archie-style art in the form of new illustrations done by original TMNT Adventures artist Ken Mitchroney. That's pretty nice, though Chris Allan is the one who pencilled Slash's debut in the comics, and is the guy most associated with the Adventures comic style. But yeah, going back to the original for this is pretty awesome. Slash rests in front of a cardboard backdrop displaying the toxic waste dump planet Morbus, which is where he was imprisoned when he was introduced.

It's great to see that NECA can once again do comic figures outside of convention exclusives - guess it's hard for Playmates to complain and cock-block them when the only thing they've released recently are those weird pop culture crossover sets, like Stranger Things. And it's especially great to see "my" Turtles franchise finally getting some love! The back of the box shows at least three more characters on the way, but here's hoping for more. I was only planning to get this toy to support the new Archie sub-line, but it turns out Slash is way better than expected, a nice upgrade to the previous attempts.

-- 12/29/22

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