Comic Book Throwback Review – TMNT Adventures #6 (Archie Comics)

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TMNT Adventures #6

Plot: Ryan Brown & Dean Clarrain
Writer: Dean Clarrain
Pencils: Ken Mitchroney
Inks: Dave Garcia
Colors: Barry Grossman
Letters: Gary Fields
Publisher: Archie Comics
Maturity Rating: Everyone

Leatherhead comes for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but this is not one of Shredder’s normal minions and he might not follow all the rules.


Leatherhead Arrives in TMNT Adventures #6

I am back with another Comic Book Throwback Review today we are looking at Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #6 (TMNT Adventures #6) from Archie Comics. So, these are the comics that more align with the cartoon version of the Turtles. Actually, the first few issues directly adapt the cartoon’s first episodes. After issue 5 the series diverts wildly from the cartoon. I have greatly disrespected these comics, from the covers, for a long time. I mean, I loved the cartoon as a kid, but I have no desire to re-watch it, as it does not hold up the best, like many other things. My Turtle fix has most recently just come from the IDW comic book and the old Mirage comics. But disregarding these Archie comics is a travesty!

TMNT Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #6 (Archie Comics) cover by Ken Mitchroney and Dave Garcia
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #6 (Archie Comics) cover by Ken Mitchroney and Dave Garcia

First, yes, they are very kid-friendly, but they actually delve into some deep issues further along in the series. The art is some spectacular cartooning. Really splendid work inside. So, don’t disregard these just by cover alone. But let’s get to the issue at hand: TMNT Adventures #6. We get the debut of Leatherhead and some wild occurrences!

Down in the Bayou 

Ryan Brown and Dean Clarrain plot TMNT Adventures #6, with Clarrain writing the issue. They introduce us right away to the character Jess Harley, who will become Leatherhead. Down in the Louisiana Bayou, Harley is down on his luck and decides to steal from a “swamp witch”. Probably not the best idea. Anyway, with his item in hand, he heads to New York City to sell his prize! But fortune does not treat Harley well; he runs into the swamp witch in the sewer, and she turns him into the giant mutated alligator, Leatherhead.

Quickly, he comes in contact with Shredder, who tricks him into attacking the Turtles with Bebop and Rocksteady. Brown and Clarrain do some fun things with Shredder in TMNT Adventures #6. They gave him a bit of a sense of humor and a little attitude. He kind of has a smugness to him that is funny. Anyway, battle ensues, and the Turtles try to teach Leatherhead about trusting the right people.

Toitle Soup

There is a lot going on in this issue inside that brief summary. First, as I stated at the beginning, there are a few subtle nods to classism and social themes sprinkled in that you would not expect. It is a nice little nod and doesn’t hit you over the head with it. It is a very goofy fun kids’ story, but it has some “adult” ideas in it as well.

Secondly, the characters are tons of fun. Shredder, again, has this odd humor to him and Kang is a hoot, watching intergalactic wrestling that will pay off in future storylines. The dialogue is silly, but it has this “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” to it. Like the writers are saying “we know what we are doing”. They play well to kids and adult readers. 

The story is also just laid out well in TMNT Adventures #6. They introduce a whole new character and a new concept of a swamp witch. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil that for you! The issue has some action, comedy, and adventure, and also sets up a new storyline, all in one issue. Pretty impressive, and entertaining, to boot.

Style Points

I think I am most impressed with the art in Adventures of TMNT #6, something I think I and others, as a kid, overlooked. I think adults also look at it and fail to appreciate it. Yes, it is geared toward children and incorporates the styling of the cartoon, but there is some serious talent here that I myself have overlooked for years! Ken Mitchroney pencils with Dave Garcia on inks, Barry Grossman on colors, and Gary Fields lettering TMNT Adventures #6. All around, just some spectacular work by all.

The opening scene of Jess in the Bayou coming upon the swamp witch’s house is all sorts of creepy fun. The house full of details, the skulls on the dock boards, the moss growing, the owl in the tree, just the way the trees are shaped, the dark colors, it all sets a wonderful, eerie mood.

The characters are all extremely well done. They have this marvelous animated, vibrant feel to them, full of expressive detail and action. The art really gives Shredder that attitude I was talking about. The way his body posture and his eyes react give him a totally new attitude and character. The character designs are lovely, as well. From the aforementioned witch to Leatherhead, they look delightful.

Pizza Time

The storytelling of the art is tremendous, as well. The panel structure is terrifically done to tell the story while allowing for the characters to “breathe”. Tons of background detail as well. We all know I am a stickler for that, and it is done perfectly here. The world feels alive and brings you into the story.

The art team does a great job of mimicking the cartoon show, but also making something all their own as well. You can see the divergence in small little details, and it makes a world of difference.

Another One

I can’t believe I have overlooked these Archie TMNT comics for so long! It is easy to judge something from your past as childish or silly, and not give it a second look. Most of the time it is the correct thing, but not in this instance. TMNT Adventures #6 has a story that both young and old can enjoy. Though obviously geared toward younger readers, it is still tons of fun and there are some more adult-themed story points if you are paying attention.

The art is just wonderful, some strong cartooning on all points. Tons of detail and the visual storytelling is just top-notch. If you are a fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I implore you to check these out. Or if you are a fan of just well-made comic books. TMNT Adventures #6 was a ton of fun and taught me a lesson; I can’t wait to explore more of this part of TMNT I had left behind. 4 Turtle shells out of 5.

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