The turtles are back in comics! Zechs takes a look at the first issue of the IDW headed relaunch co-written by TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Written by: Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz
Art by: Dan Duncan
Colors by: Ronda Pattison
Covers by: Dan Duncan (Covers A-D)
To start off, welcome back Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to comics. You've been sorely missed in the few years since Mirage printed out it's final issue from Tales of TMNT. While the series is an entire reboot, I don't mind since it's the TMNT. I like that various incarnations of the TMNT has had a beginning, middle and an end to their stories. It's what makes reading the comics so fun.
Right off the bat, the issue doesn't waste any time showcasing three of its four turtle stars as they're fighting a mutant cat named Old Hob. Who's missing during this fight? Why Raphael, who has run off from the group and doing his own thing (Raph obviously has something is boiling in that hot head of his). The rest of the issue sprinkles parts of the new origin while reintroducing familiar faces that fans of TMNT know all too well (even a nicely revamped villain appears that many 80s fans will be familiar with).
Really that's what I love about this issue. Everything just runs smoothly, as Eastman and Waltz cover every plot and subplot that hooks the reader, leaving them hungering for more. The origin, while a completely new take, works in a way that makes me doubt any TMNT fan will be upset by the changes. I also love that it's the first issue and there's no sign or hints of the Foot and Shredder. I love the greatest indy villain of all time and the Turtles' greatest rogue but he deserves a rest so Eastman and Waltz can develop other villains. Plus, they give us one bread crumb by giving readers the second most recognizable TMNT villain and another surprise rogue.
The new villain introduced at the beginning of the story, Old Hob, is a simple yet intriguing foe. We have no idea of his full origin yet (it must be connected to the turtles and Splinter given the one source of the mutagen), but he serves a nice counter to the turtles and a nice relief. I can't wait to see where his plot goes and how it connects with our heroes. Obviously Old Nob went down a different, darker path than the turtles, but how and why this happened will be interesting when we find out.
As for the art, Dan Duncan is great on the book. His art is lively and the action sequences are quite catchy. His designs all strike back to the old Mirage style and the human characters redesigns are all quite nice. I'm curious to see what other designs we can see from Mr. Duncan further down the line when he hits more well-known rogues (and the full debut of the one shown in shadows here). All and all, the art was very appealing to me.
The one thing that stands out for any hardcore TMNT fan that this issue was done completely in color. There was no black & white grit, which sets it apart from other incarnations of the comic. I think this was a wise move that distances it from the original Mirage series and gives Duncan room to develop his own designs. Plus, little easter eggs are better represented when in color.
Straight up TMNT fans will really enjoy this issue. It's a refreshing new start while having all the qualities of TMNT readers love. For newbies who want to try a new book, what better point than to start here? If you've ever watched or read anything TMNT related, this issue was very reader-friendly. Given a certain relaunch from another company opened this book into my sights, I'm glad it did. The characters are endearing no matter what and that's one of the elements that always made TMNT so great.
Writing: 10 out of 10
Art: 8.5 out of 10
Overall: 9 out of 10
Review by: Zechs