The revamp of TMNT from IDW continues. Is the series so far full of Turtle Power, or is it time to make some Turtle Soup out of it?
Credits & Solicit Info:
Written by: Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz
Art by: Dan Duncan
Colors by: Ronda Pattison
Covers by: Dan Duncan (A), Walter Simonson (B), Kevin Eastman (RJ-A), Fred Hembeck (RJ-B), Peter Laird, and Brad Foster (RE)
After last issue's introduction of all the principal players, this issue we get a mix of one long flashback (this time detailing the origin of how the Turtles got mutated), and the rest is Raphael/Casey Jones centric. As for the rest of our heroes-in-a-half-shell cast, they get two pages of explanation filling in some more gaps.
First thing, though, this issue left me with a lot of "bad" questions. Namely, for me, how the heck do the Turtles and Splinter know martial arts? How was Splinter so dang smart when he was a rat? Why aren't we seeing more of the other turtles and getting more Raphael? Yes, I know that Raphael is the favorite turtle for a lot of fans, plus through him you introduce more of the urban world of TMNT. But it felt off to me in this issue.
The fight he has with Casey's father just felt longer than it should have been. It dragged on, and that time could have been better used on the other Turtles. For any new reader first experiencing TMNT, this issue isn't a rewarding starting off point. For old fans, okay I'd say sort of to a degree. Still, we're two issues in and so far we only know Raphael. Thus we don't see much of the other Turtles' personalities. I find it kind of unfair in that regard. Hopefully this is corrected in the future.
The whole evolution of Casey feels rushed. One moment he's an abused kid and the next he's bonding with Raphael and not showing the slightest bit of surprise that Raph is a Turtle. (But then again Old Hob is running around so I guess that by extension mutant creatures aren't a surprise.) Then suddenly by issue's end it's vigilante time! Things just felt way too rushed for me. Casey has known Raph for like five minutes and already wants to become a vigilante? I feel like a good opportunity was missed here on expanding Casey's character.
Still, the art works with Dan Duncan channeling a bit of Kevin Eastman and Jim Lawson, while putting in his own twist. I loved the way he drew Splinter when he was a rat and the various mannerisms he gave him. You get what's going through the character's head. Really, the only problem I have is his covers make me laugh because on every one the Turtles look like they're growling or making a GRRRR face. It's funny to me because in the actual book Duncan expresses these characters so much better than the cover shows.
Though what really made the issue for me was the actual origin story. We get the answer on how the Turtles, Splinter, and Old Hob become mutated via a pair of mysterious ninjas who were looting the lab and almost killed April. (Sorry, no more connection to Matt Murdock.) It really isn't surprising given the lack of presence a certain Ninja Clan had in the previous issue, yet it does have a huge one here. Still, we still don't see a symbol, the traditional wear (from any of the various incarnations) or any names of the pair mentioned. Though you just know these two ninjas are somehow Foot Clan related, given the way Splinter attacks one and their reaction from it. I guess we were just given Oroku Saki's, aka the Shredder's, first appearance in this series. I'm assuming it's the Shredder given the ninja is scarred in a similar way and uses the old '80s Shredder nickname for his arch-foe. The appearance really isn't cut or dry like Baxter Stockman's or Krang's appearances in the previous issue. However shortly before their heist goes south, the ninjas mention their master would be displeased if they had a witness to their crime. So that leaves the next question (but a good one): Who's their Master? Is it Shredder? Krang? If not, then who are these two ninjas? If not a young Saki and Hamato Yoshi then another random pair? Hun? Okay I'm a sucker for those type of questions and that's what is going to pull me into the next issue.
Then there's the little nugget of what Splinter found and showed April. What is Stockman working on for General Krang? Is it a Mousers? Utrom body suits? Both? Plus just who were the ninjas working for and what are their interests in all of this? How much longer before April's life is endangered for knowing too much? Again, it is these sorts of good questions do get wanting to read that next issue.
So yeah, the series stumbled a little bit, but it wasn't a serious misstep. Did it hinder my enjoyment? Not fully, but I cannot help but think this could have been done better. Is it harder for new fans to enjoy this comic? Honestly, I have to say a yes to this. I tried to look at this issue from a new fan's perspective and there were a few balls dropped. This issue felt a little like "Raphael and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" to me. Maybe this will be corrected in the next issue.
Writing: 6 out of 10
Art: 8.5 out of 10
Overall: 7.5 out of 10
Review by: Zechs
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About the Author - Zechs
Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Character Spotlight, and Cartoon Reviews. He's also an aspiring comic book writer trying to get some of his works published on the Outhouse. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.
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