Comic Vine Review

16 Comments

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #204 - Mutagen Man Unleashed Review

4

April begins to tutor Casey Jones, but studying won't last long because Mutagen Man is searching for her!

With mutagen serving as a key focus in season two, it's only fitting the show would make the decision to introduce Mutagen Man. The clumsy pile of organs generates a ton of fun as it storms through New York, but "Mutagen Man Unleashed" is also a solid insight into Donatello. Oh, and it also introduces some lesser-known character named Casey Jones.

The opening segment is pretty much a love letter to older fans and it's all kinds of awesome. New and younger viewers will probably still get a kick from it, but fans of '80s cartoons are sure to soak in every single second of it. "TEAM! COMBINE IN TEAMWORK MODE!" I haven't paused it yet, but I'm hoping there's some easter eggs in Mikey's box of VHS tapes. This is yet another superb example of how the show always manages to hit us with a heavy dose of nostalgia.

Splinter's role is minimal this time around but that makes it no less impactful. The episode mostly revolves around Donatello's struggle with April leaving the team and, naturally, it's Splinter who delivers the Turtle a much needed wake up call. It's a moving lesson but executed in a pretty hysterical manner. Even when the show aims for some emotional strides it still manages to put a smile on your face. It's a win-win.

To no one's surprise, the laughs remain strong and consistent. Mutagen Man's a huge threat and produces some decent action scenes, but seeing the clumsy character waddle around and scream for April is absolutely hysterical. From holding the little picture to its clunky walk, the character brought about some big humor. As expected, there's still plenty of levity from Mikey as he interacts with his brothers, too. "ROOF PIZZA IS ONE OF MY TOP 10 PIZZAS!"

The creative team fills this episode with emotion and comedy, but there's also some really cool Turtle moments to appreciate as well. There's an emphasis put on stealth and watching their eyes go all white as they fade into the shadows and flip around is pure win. Plus, it's always a good time when we get to see the team leap and race across the rooftops -- that never gets old.

Some of Casey Jones' scenes dragged with their shots a tad too long and he wasn't overly thrilling, but all of the elements needed to eventually turn him into the dude we love are there. Ultimately, it'll come down to whether or not you're open to his new design. Seeing as he's into hockey and is assertive, the missing teeth makes sense. But, I've seen people legitimately upset over Donatello's tooth gap, so if you're one of those people, odds are it'll take some time to get over the character's new look. For everyone else, you probably won't fall in love with him yet, but it's definitely a serviceable take on the character and I'm excited to see where they'll go with him. And yes, we get a goongala.

I understand it's difficult to populate the streets in cgi shows and I appreciate the fact they've been filling the city with some life, but it is slightly distracting when the same character models are used over and over. It's a really minor gripe, but having a, "Wait, I know him/her!" response numerous times is a bit distracting. Also, I'm cool with suspending disbelief as the team fights mutants in the streets of the city, but it's kind of tough to believe there would be no police response when a car literally explodes in a residential area (especially when police responded earlier in the episode).

The spotlight on Donatello was surprisingly gripping and I loved how Mutagen Man was basically there to serve as a reflection of his situation. It's a character who seeks a bond that just cannot be. While it was cute and moving the way things concluded, it also seemingly shatters the development Donny could have undergone. It would have been fantastic to have the episode end with Donatello realizing there's no hope for a romantic connection, but they can still remain close friends. Instead, it apparently leaves him with hope that maybe -- just maybe -- she could one day fall for him.

"Mutagen Man Unleashed" is another episode of TMNT which shows just how much the creative team loves the franchise. It's loaded with heart but also brings some great laughs and action front and center. As Donatello would say: FOUR STARS!

20 Comments
Posted by Smart_Dork_Dude

I don't mind Casey missing some teeth, I mean he's a hockey player, and will obviously become a vigilante later. Doing either of those things, especially the former without any kind of training, yeah he's gonna get his teeth kicked in.

Edited by Dark_Guyver

Great episode! Poor Donatello :( And now that Casey Jones is in the picture, he has no chance with April.

Speaking of Casey, I really like this version. I thought I wouldn't, but I was wrong. Looking forward to him teaming with the turtles in later episodes.

Posted by Emequious_Swerve

Casey has arrived.

Goongala, b*tches

Posted by Lurkero

I don't really see April liking this version of Casey at all, but perhaps the writers will evolve his character over time.

Posted by RoTheKid

Yep, very cool episode! I think season two has been much better than season one so far, and I LOVED season one!

Posted by mark15

Casey was fine, no complaints

Posted by w0nd

@lurkero said:

I don't really see April liking this version of Casey at all, but perhaps the writers will evolve his character over time.

probably character development and what not.

Posted by Beast_in_the_Shadows

First off, I don't think Donny is missing a tooth, I think it's a gap between his teeth. I originally didn't like it, but then it reminded me of Double-D from "Ed, Edd and Eddy" which made me like it more since Double-D was the Donatello of that show.

As for Casey, I never cared for him too much. He was a lovable lunk in the 2003 series, but in all the others he's just a hot-head, testosternone case.

Also, if there really was no hope, I doubt the writers would have been building up this relationship from the very first episode.

Posted by k4tzm4n

First off, I don't think Donny is missing a tooth, I think it's a gap between his teeth. I originally didn't like it, but then it reminded me of Double-D from "Ed, Edd and Eddy" which made me like it more since Double-D was the Donatello of that show.

As for Casey, I never cared for him too much. He was a lovable lunk in the 2003 series, but in all the others he's just a hot-head, testosternone case.

Also, if there really was no hope, I doubt the writers would have been building up this relationship from the very first episode.

You're right about the gap. I mixed up my wording while writing the review. I'll fix it and thanks for pointing that out.

Sure, there's always hope, but we're talking about a big, mutated turtle and a teenage girl. The likelihood of them developing a relationship is hopefully beyond minimal. Splinter's lesson was superb and I was hoping that would really resonate with him. Yeah, there's the potential he'll save her and earn a kiss on the cheek down the road, but for it to develop into an actual, romantic relationship? I'd like to believe that's something they'll avoid.

Online
Posted by w0nd

First off, I don't think Donny is missing a tooth, I think it's a gap between his teeth. I originally didn't like it, but then it reminded me of Double-D from "Ed, Edd and Eddy" which made me like it more since Double-D was the Donatello of that show.

As for Casey, I never cared for him too much. He was a lovable lunk in the 2003 series, but in all the others he's just a hot-head, testosternone case.

Also, if there really was no hope, I doubt the writers would have been building up this relationship from the very first episode.

You think a children's show would promote bestiality? Mutated or not, could you think of the backlash they would get? Plus they didn't build up the relationship, it's always been a one sided crush. Then again I could be wrong, but seems it would just be another lesson donnie has to learn. You can't make someone like you.

Posted by tigerkaya

I never bought into the Donatello and April romance. To me Donnie was just pinning over April with no real move beyond the friend zone. Hell April at times seemed oblivious to Donnie crushing on her. It will be good lesson for Donnie to get over April and perhaps he could hookup with Jhanna from the 2K3 series ep. The People's Choice.

Posted by AllStarSuperman

Good episode, not show on this version of Casey though, its weird the his voice is Josh from Drake and Josh.

Posted by BlackLegRaph

@allstarsuperman: Really? It's Josh Peck? I heard something about him getting into an accident from trying to film a Vine Video.

Anyway, I'm okay with Casey, and Donatello is shaping up to be my favourite character in the series, followed by Splinter. Season 2 is doing an awesome job so far...this and the Legend of Korra are all i look forward to from Nick.

Edited by Beast_in_the_Shadows

@k4tzm4n: First, logic aside i am talking about writers planting plot points. Unless they were aiming to make Donnie into a chump who settles for being friendzoned, then I doubt they would have devoted so much screen time to the idea.

Second, you are basis this purely on a case of species, on the assumption that one is a mutant and the other isn't. Donnie certainly is a mutant, but we know that April (in this series) isn't standard human. DNA unique enough for the Krang to recognize it amongst all the samples supplied by her school, ability to hear the tech orb (talking) when no one else does, and an immunity to to Krang water that dissolves Earth pizza in a manner of seconds.

If we are basis this purely on species, then Donnie and Casey might be a better match for each other since we know they are at least both from Earth. (Joke of course, internet don't take that to heart)

Lastly, she is voiced by Mae Whitman and Nickelodeon likes setting her up with guys who use staves ;)

@tigerkaya: J'hanna actually dates back to the original comics. I'd be fine with her getting introduced to the show as well, but she is always a one shot story character, so it would still end pretty sad for Don lol

@w0nd: Let's see. Roger Rabbit, Animaniacs, Disney's Beauty and the Beast... If it is done innocent enough audiences usually don't care. Besides it wasn't completely one-sided. It was certainly more obvious on Dons part, but it was clear that April had a sweet spot for Donnie. Maybe not romantic, but an affection non-the-less. He was the one she confided in, he was the one to always get the hugs, heck his caller id image she used on her Shell-phone said "Donnie Boy" and had lots of clip art flowers and things added to it.

Just saying the writers would add all this stuff if we weren't supposed to take note of it.

I'd be all for Donnie learning this lesson, I'm just saying that the plot point bread crumb suggest otherwise.

Edited by AllStarSuperman

@blacklegraph: I don't know that he got into an accident, but all his vines are him driving his car, soo.... time probably caught up with him.... Also I like Mikey the best, Donatello is second best.

Edited by MadeinBangladesh

Good episode. Not a big fan of Casey Jones debut here though, but it's gonna be interesting seeing the triangle between Donnie, April, and Casey.