Writer: Quinn Johnson
Artists: Andres Ponce (p), Andres Ponce, Sean Parsons, Rich Faber (i)
Publisher: Mirage Publishing
The year was 1992. Having grown past my He-Man & the Masters of the Universe phase and yet to be hit by the BAT-juggernaut that would Batman: The Animated Series, I had but one thing on my cartoon watching mind: Turtles. Okay, turtles and rats. Okay, just one rat. It was all because of the Turtle craze set off by the coming of the first TMNT animated series. Heck, I remember a couple of my friends taping their fingers, (first two and last two) to get that three digit TMNT-hand look. This was before Turtle merchandizing got in with their act, with turtle masks, plastic weapons and what nots. More than ten years down the line, and here I am revisiting not my old Turtles pals’ hunting grounds but rather a character I did not know or care about much during my Turtle days of yore. The character in question? Casey Jones (or if you will, K.C. Jones).
Even though I have, since then, read up about this character, his background, his “powers,” etc. (especially for this review), until I read this story, for me Casey was one of the many comic characters sporting a hockey mask as a, uh, mask. Now that I have read the issue, I would like to thank writer Quinn Johnson, artist Andres Ponce and inkers, Sean Parsons, Rich Faber, for bringing me, a veritable newbie to this character, a story that not only got me up to speed about Casey, his past and present, including his family, but also does it in a way that has me intrigued by him and interested in seeing and reading more of him, whether with the Turtle Boys or independently.
Onto the story itself, and as I mentioned before, even as a new reader, I didn’t find myself lost and flapping around in the sea of past CJ and TMNT stories, even if the basic premise does take heavily from them. In the first couple of pages, we see exactly what is wrong with Casey, i.e. his nightmares and (I really need to stop declaring my newbie status) for us new readers, his family dynamic. In the pages that follow it, even if the writing and art bring up some humorous moments, courtesy of the alien entertainer, Bleebozz, the dark undercurrent of some hidden evil established in the opening continues, right until the moment it finally breaks forth and comes out into the open. However, even though initially he has his heroic behind handed to him, in the end, not only does Casey trounce over the physical manifestation of his deepest darkest nightmare, he even manages to save the poor sod, Bleebozz, caught in the punching bag seat.
A query though. In one panel, Casey’s mask is shown to break apart (as if exploding), but in the very next panel/page with everyone following it, it is not only back but completely repaired. Is this a slipup or a deliberate effect for something much deeper, (like Casey breaking free from his fear)?
As for those looking for the Turtles, don’t worry, even they get to make an appearance here, even if it is only on the last page and a non-talking one at that.
Conclusion: Good fast paced story, complemented and added-on by equally competent artwork, those are my closing words about this story. I understand that veteran TMNT readers might feel otherwise, but for (here I go again) a newbie, this is a near perfect story to get Turtling. That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing a colored version of this (if only to accentuate the impressive pencil and inkwork).
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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