Jab’s Reviews: TMNT (Mondo Gecko & Wingnut)

oh, INTERNET…

A loner. A lizard. A skatemaster. Mutated from a head-banging, thrash-metal, teenage guitarist, Mondo Gecko is the coolest lizard to surf the concrete jungle. Known to his cold-blooded boardin’ brethren as “The Mon,” Mondo Gecko likes to skate the sewers and grease the grind. This maximum maniac grooves on shining the curbside and puts fun and freedom ahead of everything else. He’s always stoked and lookin’ for a new adventure. So when the Turtles need some extra help, Mondo’s ready to skate, rattle and roll.

Mondo Gecko and the Turtles make funky freestylin’ friends. Teenager to the end, Mondo’s got his brain jammed into Michaelangelo’s frequency. They’re both party dudes – and that makes for a totally awesome twosome. With braces on his tubular teeth and cream on his mutant zits, Mondo Gecko chomps and chews on butter beans and rips through the sewer pipes, ready to crash and thrash the Foot.

MONDO GECKO:

Mondo Gecko was one of my absolute favourites as a kid- I thought he was the virtual embodiment of what being cool was all about. Remember what I said about recognizing that Michelangelo was pandering to kids? Totally didn’t pick up on it here in the least. In the comics, he was a metalhead punk-type who got doused with mutagen and got transformed due to his proximity to his pet gecko (which I’m not sure we ever saw again). In the cartoon he was raised by gangsters (after being transformed by the same Mutagen that made the Turtles), but turned good with the Turtles’ help, which I’m pretty sure is the origin story of about twenty OTHER mutant characters in that series… it was REALLY, REALLY bad for using a token collection of Plot Templates that they would just switch out several times a season. He appeared in only this episode, and the “Dirk Savage” one, having a very minor role for someone initially brought out as a cool “Friendly Ally” character.

His Archie Comic incarnation actually palled around with the Turtles for a while (including their Space Arc), then joined the Mighty Mutanimals group as their most “Normal Guy/Teenager” member. Alas, he was killed with the rest of them after getting back together with his girlfriend Candy. In IDW Comics, Mondo appears as a mutant gecko mutated by Old Hob, and teams up with the Mutanimals against the evil “Null Group”. He rejects the more violent aspects of Hob’s lifestyle, and befriends the Mutagen Man, desperately trying to keep his suicidal friend alive. In the 2012 Nick Toon, he appears as Jason, a human skateboarder mutated by a random canister of Mutagen- he’s pretty much like his original version, but is now much brighter yellow. He was kicked out by his parents and forced to act as an errand boy for Xever (Fishface), but ultimately rejected him and befriended the Turtles. He was played by Robbie Rist, who voiced Michaelangelo in the ’90s movies. Despite getting a big debut and all this hype, he’s largely a complete jobber in the series, usually showing up just to say “Cowabunga!” and get KO’d.

Wingnut, the clutzy, caped vampire bat, quietly hung out on his home planet Huanu. That is, until Krang destroyed it. Saved and sucked into a vortex before his planet exploded, Wingnut ended up on Earth, along with Screwloose, a levelheaded Huanu mosquito.

Furious and frantic that Krang blew up his planet, the crazed Wingnut’s out to get even with Krang – or anyone else associated with the burbling brain. That makes him a perfect ally with the Turtle teens.

Despite Wingnut’s bloodshot eyes, defective radar, stunted wings and oversensitive ears, he’s determined to be a sewer-superhero. Even with constant training from our green teens, Wingnut’s more likely to bump into a building than bust a baddie. Armed with mechanical turbo wings invented by Donatello, Wingnut flutters and putters to put the bite on the Foot Clan.

WINGNUT & SCREWLOOSE:

Wingnut was a world-conqueror-type supervillain in the cartoon (a one-off who planned to turn humanity into mindless zombies and was foiled by the Turtles’ friend Zach), but the version that appeared in the Archie Comics is a happy-go-lucky flying type. He avoided the rest of the team at first (he & Screwloose had their own partnership, and neither liked to talk about the past), but one issue dealt with his backstory. He & Screwloose (a talking mosquito that was a foot high and rode on Wingnut’s back) were their planet’s version of disabled people- being unable to fly on an alien homeworld full of airborne characters. The two pooled their allowances to buy Wingnut a pair of artificial wings, and they became the best of friends, only to watch as Krang’s armies wiped out their planet, including Wingnut’s parents. He joined the rest of the Mighty Mutanimals, but was killed with the rest of them.

The existence of the character as a villain in the 1980s Cartoon annoyed the creators of the Archie series, and so they put their foot down over the intentions of using Man-Ray in a similar situation. A version of Wingnut & Screwloose appear in IDW Comics as background specimens in one story. In the 2012 Nick Toon, Wingnut is a fictional comic book superhero- an alien from the planet Dexion V who adopts Screwloose when he is orphaned- the two fight crime as obvious parodies of Batman & Robin. When April O’Neil’s crystal brings a villain from the book to life, Michelangelo brings Wingnut & Screwloose into the real world to fight him as well. However, the pair grab the crystal and are mutated into monstrous forms and conspire to stay in the real world. However, after another fight with the Turtles, April absorbs the energies sustaining them and they accept their fate, their sanity returning.

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