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Muckman & Joe Eyeball

TMNT Ultimates
by yo go re

"The same thing, but bigger."

Mutated with muck and transformed with trash, this fuming, former sewer worker oozes mysteriously through the city's sewer system, searching for morsels of muck, sludge and slime. Don't be fooled by the clothespin on his nose - that's not to keep the smell out, it's to keep the garbage in! But what does Muckman have besides a nose clogged with gunk? He's got Joe Eyeball! The amazing three-eyeballed, no-nosed parasitic pal, who decomposes his way through sewer pipes and can see through the thickest sewer stench.

We already reviewed one Muckman, from the 2012 Nickelodeon cartoon line, but this is an update of the classic. The two are similar, but since this design is straight from the bowels of the year 1990, it's not quite as wild as the 2017 version. His head is larger in proportion to his body, and covered in goop. He has a beard and mustache made from... some kind of tentacles? They have suckers all along their legnth, so they're not just worms or something. His eyes are different sizes, and the only thing protecting his brain from the open air is the banana peel resting on top of it.

The Four Horsemen are doing the sculpting for Super7's Ultimates line, but their goal is to copy the original as closely as possible. 1990s Muckman was created by David Arshawsky of Anaglyph Sculpture, then was handed off to Alec McTurk of Varner Studios. Considering the way Playmates made its toys, a ton of the detail he put into the sculpt never got seen, but the Horsemen have done their best to bring it all into the future for us. His jumpsuit has burst open due to his sudden increase in size, and his skin is pocked with all sorts of lumps and pustules, plus all sorts of garbage that's stuck to him: pizza, sodas, a milk carton, fish bones, apple cores, etc. Bugs crawl all over him, mushrooms sprout from his shoulder, he has some exposed bones... it's all a lovely mess!

And making sure we can, for the first time, appreciate this lovely mess is the paint! I had the original Muckman, and can distinctly remember doing some customization work to try to bring out the details that I was very disappointed were left the flat green of the plastic they were on. About the only thing we can find that wasn't painted and probably should have been is a single artery or vein on his back. The junk stuck to him is all given multiple paint apps, so he's less like one of those "find the hidden object" mobile games now and more like a living trash heap. They've even tampographed his ID badge, which was previously just a blue square on his chest!

Muckman is a fairly sizeable figure, at least 7½" tall even if you don't count his banana, and heavily articulated. The vintage figure only moved at seven points, but this one gets 17: a balljointed head, swivel/hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, a balljointed waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge knees, a swivel/hinge in the right ankle, and then a swivel/hinge/swivel for the left ankle, because you need to keep that big manhole cover flat on the ground while you move him around. All his joints moved very easily and smoothly, which is good - I'd hate to have to replace this big monster!

We only get one alternate pair of hands here, rather than the assortment some of the others have enjoyed. The alternate right is relaxed and has sticky goop stringing between the thumb and forefinger, while the left has the stuff dripping out between the fingers. It seems like that was supposed to be painted a brighter green, to stand out, but the app has been skipped on the final product. The hands he has on in the tray are designed to hold his "Muck Gun" accessory, a bazooka(?) made out of recyclables. It's still mostly gray, but does get some silver apps, green goo, and black insects.

He also includes his little decomposing pal with super sewer eyesight, Joe Eyeball! 1990 was the first year TMNT characters came with little "sidekicks," meaning he and Screwloose were the earliest. We're not really sure what (if anything) Joe Eyeball is supposed to be: is a a mutated silverfish? The cartoon showed him as Muckman's coworker before they both got mutated (it let them do a whole Ralph Kramden/Edward Norton thing with the pair), but why would one stay mostly human and the other turn into... this? He's gota little buggy body with six limbs, a head shaped like a football, and two eyes on stalks and a third on the end of his tail. What the heck! He's unarticulated, but at least gets paint this time, which is more than you could say before.

Joe Eyeball rides around in a garbage can attached to Muckman's back. Like everything else here, it's got the same sort of details as before, but much, much better paint. Muckman even retains his old play feature, where you could fill the trashcan with slime and it would drip out through the hole in his abdomen. You can also pop off the top of his skull and fill the head, making him drool slime. Like I've said before, I never used slime on my toys as a kid, and I can't imagine wanting to start now.

NECA made their cartoon-based "Ultimate Muckman" right about the same time this toy-based Ultimates Muckman was coming out, but other than NECA releasing a glow-in-the-dark variant of theirs, Super7 gets the edge.

-- 06/02/22

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