Jab’s Reviews: TMNT (Fugitoid, Metalhead & Rex-1)

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Time for more TMNT characters! This time, I write notes on all three “Mechanical Buddies” the Turtles have had over the years!
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While tinkering with an unstable mental device, the infamous Dr. Honeycutt transferred his brain into his android servant – making him the world’s first and most sought after servo-scientist. Now a hunted hybrid humanoid, Honeycutt’s on the run. Officially classified as a Fugitoid, he bumped into the Turtles while trying to squeeze through a transdimensional portal and returned with them to earth.

Loyal to the end, Fugitoid assists the Turtles in developing new devices. He’s particularly fond of Donatello’s ingenuity. Fugitoid is skilled in many languages – from conversational cockroach to Mongolian mumble – but he’s best used as a super-scout for the Turtles. Armed with his grappling claw and skeletal servo-scanner, Fugitoid can get himself into unusual places. He’s an endless source of data, details and other dehumanized delights. Fugitoid. A good guy to run around with.

FUGITOID:

Fugitoid is a relatively-omnipresent character in the TMNT fiction, which makes it all the weirder that he does NOT appear in the 1987 cartoon series at all! In 2003 & 2013’s cartoons? Yup, he’s there- making the show actively worse by going on space adventures that last for an eternity! He’s a MIRAGE ORIGINAL, too- but unlike Leatherhead & The Rat King, he wasn’t in the ’80s show. I don’t find him a terribly interesting-looking character, though- most ’80s Robots had a SEMBLANCE of cool to them, but this guy? He’s just a harmless-looking goofball robot- like a less-threatening C-3PO.

Fugitoid, to me, is also the “Canary in the Coal Mine” of the franchise- as soon as they start hanging out with a Space Robot and do Space Stuff… I’m done. Every time I find the Turtles flying off into space it’s like you can just tell the writers have run out of shit to do, because the whole season turns into this. It’s like this big sybmol of “Well, we ran out of things to do on Earth”, as if an ENTIRE PLANET isn’t a big enough setting for you. Like, yeah, versatility in storytelling is great, and superheroes go into space all the time, but like… entire ARCS of it? This is mainly PTSD from trying to get into the 2003 series and finding them stuck the f*ck on Triceratons world for what felt like 9,000 episodes (note: probably a bit fewer than that- looks like 5 episodes and then about 8 more later on).

In any case, Fugitoid is an old creation- he actually pre-dates the TMNT by a month or so, appearing in an anthology book. He was initially just “Professor Honeycutt”, a scientist working for The Federation. His teleporter device was going to be used by a Federation general as a weapon, and right then, Honeycutt’s mind was transferred into his android “SAL” by accident. And so he went on the run, met the Turtles, and allied with the Utrom aliens.

His 2003 Toon appearance is more or less the same as the Mirage one, with the same origin. He and the Turtles run from Triceratons for a while. He also showed up in the Nick Toon for what appears to be an arc that’s just as long, and someone posted every single thing he ever did on the Turtles Wiki, so I’m not gonna bother, lol.

In the IDW Comics, he is a Neutrino scientist, working for the Utrom Warlord Krang. He joined the resistance against Krang, sacrificing his human life by entering the SAL and saving his family from a fire. Tragically, they were still killed, and he allied with Shredder, since he knew Shredder also hated Krang. In the end, he teamed with the Turtles and helped the resistance further.

So despite not appearing once in the 1987 Cartoon, in 1990, Fugitoid received his own action figure, which is where *I* mostly remember him: See, one day I received a random phone call from my friend, Robbie. “Are you coming?!” he says, with an annoyed laugh in his voice. “Huh?”, I naturally replied to his odd point. Turns out, it was his BIRTHDAY PARTY, and I wasn’t there, having completely forgotten about it! So my mom had to up and drive me to Robbie’s house (looking back, I realize why my mom didn’t care for him- he was pretty white trash. EASILY the only friend I had who was allowed to stay at home by himself in Grade 3 or 4), where I sheepishly promised to get him a present later. Hence: Fugitoid. Though a bit poorer than the rest of us, Robbie had a pretty cool assortment of toys (and was easily the most comics-knowledgeable person I knew- when he taunted me “Grant, you don’t know ANYTHING about comics!”, I perhaps over-corrected, as you can see with… well, everything I’ve ever written on this site), and this was one of the few Turtles figures I knew he didn’t have.

The 1990 toy releaes is actually quite good, looking distinct with a black and gold body. All other versions of the character have been silver, making him look much plainer. Though the big round head and friendly features make him look as harmless as C-3PO.

Designed as Krang’s ultimate weapon against the Turtles, Metalhead was re-programmed by Donatello to serve the side of good. The chrome-plated sewer servant’s eyes light up when you hold him up to the light. Always the life of the party, Metalhead can whip up a whipped cream and jelly bean pizza, serve sodas, display video games or rock the sewer with tunes from his jazzed-up juke box. When trouble’s brewing, Metalhead becomes one annoyed android and dishes out trouble with his Robo-chuks and Foot Blaster to all who dare mess with his Turtle masters.

METALHEAD:

Metalhead is that ever-present thing in Merch-Based Shows: The Robotic Version. This show actually did this MORE, with the creations of “Super Rocksteady” and “Mighty Bebop”. Metalhead was built by Krang to be the Final Answer to their “Turtle Problem”, as he’s damn-near invincible. Of course… the second he beats the Turtles, Donatello merely pushes some random buttons on his Turtle-Comm, and the robot IMMEDIATELY switches sides and becomes the Turtles’ ally! Unfortunately, he goes a little nuts with his programming, and is turned into the Turtles’ servant. We literally only see him ONE OTHER TIME, helping clean up their lair. His first appearance being in 1989, they had a TON of time to use him, but nope- seven years and all he got was a cameo. More toys to sell, ya know!

Metalhead shows up a fair bit more in the 2012 Nick series, but he’s super-tiny and nowhere near as powerful.

REX-1:

A two-shot character in the cartoon was Rex-1, a robotic police officer. This being the era of Robocop, you can imagine it was QUITE trendy to have guys like him around- he was powerful and competent, but dangerous thanks to the fact that you can reprogram him. He was built to keep some of the pressure off the regular NYPD, but was only loyal to the operator of his remote control. As this was at first April O’Neil (who was being snoopy and ended up activating him), this was okay, and he was able to save the day against an army of Evil REXes created by Shredder (who’d stolen his blueprints and mass-produced copies)… through the magic of breakdancing. Placed back in storage, he was reactivated by April & Leonardo to stop a rogue robot named LEX, who sought to enslave the city in a totalitarian state. I actually remember Rex a LOT, probably through endless repetition of his debut episode. Curiously, he never showed up in any other incarnation of the series aside from as a mini-boss in a Game Boy game- they didn’t even make a TOY off of this character!

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