Category Archives: 90s Indy Stuff

The Armageddon Agenda (part 3)

Wow! With the overwhelming success of part 2, I’d be crazy not to complete my look back at the TMNT/Mighty Mutanimals crossover event from Archie Comics! It truly brings a tear to this old nerd’s eye. Anyway, all of that emotional stuff aside, I really should get to the article. I don’t want to keep my fan waiting…..

The heroes are beaten, battered, and held captive by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse! Null looks on with grim satisfaction as the combined teams are held firmly in place by hi-tech restraints and dangle from large posts that are fixed in the hard ground. On a nearby cliff, Death looks on as he plays with his marionettes, the very instruments that he’s using to control his fellow Horsemen. Jagwar demands to know why Null is doing all of this. Why summon the Horsemen? Why destroy the rainforest? Why kidnap his human mother? (Notice how he asks about his mother after asking about the rainforest? Great son she’s got there! Sheesh!) Null’s answers are simple. Since his last defeat at the heroes’ hands, he has decided that his ultimate revenge would be the death of all life on Earth. Plain and simple. (Overreact much?) And the one to press the button that would destroy them all will be their trusted friend and ally, Kid Terra! As for Jagwar’s mother, she will be a part of his harem when all is said and done!

A very smug Null then strolls off to his hidden prison to fetch Terra. But when he enters the chamber, all three of his captives are missing! All that remains are untied ropes! Outside, the changeling bird/woman, Azrael, swoops in, surprising the confused Horsemen and freeing half of the mighty band of heroes by tricking War into smashing the poles they’re held on! Raphael, Mondo, Jagwar, and Screwloose immediately throw themselves into combat with the titanic villains as Donatello busies himself with freeing the other half of their heroic group! With the Horsemen occupied, it doesn’t take long before Michelangelo, Ninjara, Splinter, Leonardo, Man-Ray, Wingnut, Dreadmon, and Leatherhead are likewise freed! (Whoa! That’s a lot of characters to keep track of in one scene! Good thing I’m an excellent writer. I know because my mommy tells me so!)

Death continues to look on from a distance and control the other powerful monsters, but his actions do not go unnoticed. Kid Terra and Juntarra have spied this through the use of Kid’s binoculars and make a move to help the situation. Kid Terra moves on the Reaper while Juntarra silently approaches Null. Terra strikes death straigh in his grinning face but the creature only laughs! Just then, before Juntarra can stop him, Null fires a single, well-aimed shot from a concealed handgun! Kid Terra falls from the cliffside, dead before he hits the ground below! (Sob. I’m sure he’ll be fine. This is a comic book after all. Sob. No-one ever stays dead in a comic book. I mean, look at Spidey’s Uncle Ben for example…..Harder sobbing.)

Azrael joins Juntarra and the two women disarm Null while Screwloose checks on Terra. While he feels for a pulse, Death comes up from behind and swings his deadly scythe at the mosquito-like alien, knocking him aside! Meanwhile, Ninjara has joined the other two females in surrounding Null! Ignoring all of this, the Reaper reaches down towards Kid’s still form and begins to pull the human’s soul from his body! As the Horseman attempts to perform his grisly work, an unnoticed Screwloose spies the discarded marionettes! Guessing as to their use, he uses all of his might to crush the puppets to mere fragments! While on the battlefield, the Turtles and Mutanimals see three of the notorious Four Horsemen fall to pieces until nothing remains! (Trust a mosquito to be the end of even the Biblical Four Horsemen! Those things seem to be the bane of all existence! And you thought that only cockroaches would remain at the end of all things!)

Null uses this confusion to pull his firearm free of the changeling female! But rather than fire it, he turns to leave! As he does this, large, bat-like wings sprout from his back, ripping their way free of his expensive suit! He then shoots into the shy with a final word that this changes nothing. He will have his revenge one day! (Why do villains always leave with that line? For once, I’d like one of them to say, “Wow! You really beat me and foiled my evil plan. Good job, guys. Should I turn myself into the authorities now, or after brunch?”) Meanwhile, Death has pulled Kid Terra’s soul free of his corpse with a maniacal laugh! But the Reaper has forgotten his scythe! Juntarra picks up the weapon and swings it with deadly efficiency at the enemy! The blow shatters the Horseman ‘s skeletal body! Kid Terra then gasps for air as his soul returns, bringing him back from death! (Ha! Told you! Sniffle…..)

Beaten, Death reforms upon his pale steed and races off to parts unknown. While Terra recovers in the care of the heroes, the Ninja Turtles ponder just how they’re ever returning to New York from this far away place. But, this is a matter for another time. Afterall, they just survived an encounter with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse! After that, everything else is a cake walk!

End.

Dedicated to my biggest fan and the one who brought me into this world, my mother. Thank you for always being there, mom. I love you with all of my heart.

The Armageddon Agenda (part 1)

What immediately comes to mind when you think of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Is it brightly colored masks? The word: “Cowabunga”? Pizza? Vanilla Ice? (Don’t lie. It’s Vanilla Ice, isn’t it?) Well, I’m almost positive that it isn’t their titanic clash with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse! Think I’m lying about that last one? Has your friendly, neighborhood Symbifan ever lied to you before? I guess seeing is believing. Prepare thyselves, Unspokenites! It’s about to get Biblical up in here…..

Our story unfolds as the Turtles, Splinter, and Ninjara enter the Earth’s atmosphere, returning home from yet another interstellar adventure. They sit within the moist, dark confines of Cudley the Cowlick’s large, bovine mouth. (A humongous, detached cow head that carries beings inside his mouth in order to transport them to the furthest reaches of space! My question is, who was smokin’ what when this character was imagined?) While on Earth, the Mutanimals lie defeated, victims of heavy lazer gunfire, fired from mechanized skeleton weaponry! Only Leatherhead and the changeling, Azazel, still stand to defend the others’ fallen forms! Leatherhead fires blast after blast from his own lazer rifle until the weapon runs out of ammo! Never one to surrender or flee from a fight, the aligator-man begins to fight with his bare hands! Azazel joins him but the two soon find themselves outnumbered! Leatherhead orders Azazel to transform and take flight to get help. Reluctantly, she shapeshifts into a bird and takes to the skies. Leatherhead then falls.

Atop a nearby hilltop, a well-dressed, bald man with small horns takes a long puff on his cigar. Laughing, he approaches the defeated Mutanimals. The robotic skeletons give him a wide berth. He is known only as Null, and he is the personification of all that is evil. (Well, maybe he’d lighten up if he had a baby kitten. Do these hero types ever stop to consider something as simple as that? Like, maybe the Joker wouldn’t be quite so demented if he had a cute puppy to take care of.) Null orders his skeletal warriors to take the unconscious Mutanimals into custody. This is interrupted, however, by the timely appearance of the Ninja Turtles! Raphael orders Null to freeze right where he is and to release his friends. This demand is met with Null pulling a lazer rifle of his own and opening fire! His minions follow suit without delay! The Turtles waste no time in throwing themselves into close combat against their enemy! The fight has truly begun now!

The combined attack of the Turtles, Splinter, and Ninjara does cut down the number of robotic skeletons, but they still run the risk of being overwhelmed by sheer numbers. A blast from Null is deflected by Leonardo’s blades. This stray shot wings one of the fallen Mutanimals, Man-Ray! Man-Ray springs to life and uses his muscular, aquatic body to help in the fight! His aid helps but not enough! But just as the battle seems lost, a barrage of lazer fire hits the skeletal warriors from the high ground! The enemy falls at last! The heroes look up to discover that the other Mutanimals are in fact their saviors! (Today’s lesson, kiddies? Never bring ninja weapons to a lazer gun fight! I now return you to your regularly scheduled article, already in progress.) But before the heroes can celebrate their victory, they see that not only is Null gone, but so is Azazel!

Null enters a secret door in the rocky terrain, far from the fighting, a beaten and unconscious Azazel thrown over his shoulder. Closing the door behind him, he enters the darkness of the cave. Null makes his way easily through the darkness until he comes face to face with a grinning skull, illuminated by torchlight. It appears that this skull is attached to a full, bone body and covered by a dark, hooded cloak. In its skeletal hands, it grips a long scythe! It is in fact Death himself! The Reaper asks Null for a report. The horned man replies that the heroes were too much for his army and that it’s up to Death and the others now. Three more sets of eyes appear in the darkness behind the Grim Reaper. The beings are ready. In fact, they seem almost excited to reveal themselves. (There you have it. Null went all out for recruiting frightening allies in this one! Are even the combined forces of the Ninja Turtles and Mighty Mutanimals enough to stop these villains? They’ll be fine. After all, the Turtles “Don’t Fear the Reaper”. Ha! I totally worked in a song title!)

It’s about this time that the two heroic groups discover that Cudley and Azazel are missing. Leonardo asks Man-Ray just what the situation here was. He replies that he and the other Mutanimals were searching for Jagwar’s missing human mother, Juntarra, when they discovered she was being held by a creature resembling the Grim Reaper. They located his stronghold, but were attacked by an army of skeleton robots when they approached. Jagwar adds that Azazel also told them that this barren land they stand upon was a tropical rainforest before this Reaper set up operations here! (Yeah. Let’s worry about the rainforests when you’re human mother is being held captive by Death himself! What’s that? How did a human woman give birth to a humanoid jaguar? Umm. Moving on…..) Just then, Ninjara picks up the scent of smoke. The group turns to see a nearby forest in flames! They rush to investigate.

Shock would be an understatement for what the heroes feel when they witness what’s causing the mayhem. An entire village of people is setting the forests ablaze by the use of torches. But the most shocking part is that the people are zombies! The slow-moving undead stand no chance against the combined might of the Ninja Turtles and Mighty Mutanimals! They dispatch the zombified villagers quickly. (I’m not kidding here at all. They didn’t even see if these poor people could maybe be healed! They just slashed them to pieces! Talk about bloodthirsty! The most appalling part to me is that they didn’t really show the gore in the comic. You just have to use your imagination. What? So I love slasher flicks. Sue me.) But before they can take a breath, they notice three figures approaching them through the inferno. Three of the Four Horsemen have arrived!

To be continued.

This article is dedicated to my brother, Eric James Miller. Though he never got into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as much as I did, it was our love for all things supernatural that bonded us for life. And what could be more supernatural than the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, I ask you? (Plus, he’s tolerated me spouting off Ninja Turtle trivia long enough to at least deserve an article dedicated to him.) Love ya, bro!

And so it was written….part 6

Finally! We’ve reached the end of the road! It’s certainly been an adventure too, hasn’t it, Unspokenites? As we’ve joined John Prophet on his quest to stop an apocalyptic Earth from ever coming into being, we have all been dealing with the very real and frightening world that now surrounds us in 2020. Though it isn’t a machine-ruled Hell-on-Earth, it is scary. And you know what? We’ve survived. In our own way, we’re warriors, not unlike Prophet. And though we don’t have his power or his sophisticated weaponry, in many ways, we’re stronger. Stronger because we keep on living our lives, despite our fear. (Well, now. That was an actually heartfelt paragraph! Where’s the action? Where’s the lame jokes? Fear not. For the time is nigh!)

We begin our final chapter with Prophet and Kirby sifting through the rubble of Youngblood’s headquarters. What happened, you ask? Crypt happened. Kirby senses something alive beneath a downed pillar. Using his enhanced strength, Prophet lifts it free, revealing the battered and broken forms of the members of Youngblood! The two men leap to action, carefully removing the heroes from the debris. While Prophet continues this, Kirby discovers a bloody shuriken. He hands it to Prophet and comments how he himself fashioned his throwing star long ago. But then how does Crypt have it in his arsenal? (Curious. Not how Crypt had the weapon in his possession, rather how Kirby could tell it was of his creation! Did he leave his damn initials on a throwing star? Who does that?)

Moving on. This moment is interrupted as the hollow corpse of a hero drops from the ceiling, suspended by a long chain! At the other end of the chain, holding the body up, stands the messenger, Crypt himself! (No, I don’t know who the hero is! I’m normally a DC and Marvel guy! Gimme a break!) Prophet turns and stares at his monstrous adversary. As their eyes lock, Crypt uses a type of telepathy. He shows Prophet a glimpse of all of the horrors he’s committed in his long lifetime. When this fades away, a sense of revelation suddenly hits the hero. He bellows, “I know who you are!”

Prophet prepares to attack his enemy but Kirby stops him. The old man reveals that he’s with the warrior for the long haul and that he considers him not as just a friend, but his son. (Sorry. I had to pause here. There was something in my eye. I’m not crying! It was dust, I swear! Can’t a guy have allergies? Geez!) Prophet gives his heartfelt thanks and the two heroes rush off to battle! Sadly, the fight only lasts minutes. Crypt aims a powerful, energy gun at Kirby and pulls the trigger! All that is left is ash! (Damn, more dust!)

Shock quickly becomes rage and Prophet roars like a mighty lion, striking at his nemesis! The two men savagely beat one another to bloody pulps, neither gaining the distinct advantage! Finally, Prophet manages to knock Crypt down and pins the beast to the ground! He knocks the bloodied battleaxe out of reach and tears the hood from his enemy’s face, revealing his own face beneath! Though the hero knew the truth in his heart, seeing the truth face to face shocked him nonetheless. (Didn’t see that coming, huh? Kinda like when Vader was revealed to be Luke’s father! What’s that? You saw this coming a mile away? Umm. So did I. Way too simple to figure out really….damn kids today….)

Crypt uses this moment to kick Prophet far from him. He then leaps, weapon raised for a killing strike! Prophet finds the battleaxe from earlier. When Crypt gets near, he strikes, beheading the monstrous copy! The threat has ended. Prophet turns away from the quickly disintegrating corpse. No sense of relief envelops him. This is just the beginning. Now John Prophet must live every waking moment of the rest of his life in fear. Fear of what he may become one day. (Deep huh? Poor guy. He needs a hug. I mean, I wouldn’t personally want to do it. Dude’s covered in gore and has to smell of B.O.! Nah. I’m good.)

Meanwhile, Philip Omen enters a secret chamber beneath his heavily-fortified complex. He seals the door behind him and turns. Within a tube of fluid floats a cloned body! The body of Jonathan Taylor Prophet! Omen whispers to the body that until the time is right, this copy will have to slumber. Slumber within his building’s CRYPT! (Cue the maniacal laughter and climactic music!)

Well, that’s it. The end of my six part look back at the first volume of Image Comics’ Prophet. I have to admit, this was a royal pain in the ass! But, overall I’m glad I did it. I feel a sense of completion and finality. It’s a good feeling and I have you, the fans who wanted more, to thank for all of it. This is dedicated to all of you! Until next we meet, take care. Much love. -Symbifan