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TMNT at 30

While it’s just as likely that I’ve simply MISSED any such stuff already out there, it’s occurred to me that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Of course, half a decade ago at the 25th anniversary it was a huge deal for Mirage. Now just a handful of years into Viacom/Nickleodeon‘s tenure as the owners of the property, it may not seem a huge deal.

But to this fan of 25+ years…it is!tmntat30_02

I recall the 30th anniversary stuff for Spider-Man, X-Men, Avengers, etc. 35th Anniversary stuff, 40th, etc… but while those are significant milestones for THOSE characters…

The TMNT are a property created AFTER I was born. That I actually CAN reasonably fill in every last gap of the official comics and such, to have the entirety of the run (maybe not FIRST PRINTS, but I’m not concerned about which printing if I have the issue).

tmntat30_01

So, while I’ve had plans in the past to do more specific TMNT coverage in this blog, I’d like to think I’ll get into the swing of things with more this year, outside of spotting TMNT Toys in the WIld (Squirrelanoids, Kirby Bat and Casey Joines, etc) and get to more coverage of the various comics and such…and my own “history” with the characters through the years.

As always, time will tell.

TMNT Toys in the Wild – Kirby Bat and Casey Jones

While at Target this week, came across a couple more of the new TMNT toys, though I opted to pass on purchasing them for the moment.

kirby_bat_front

The Kirby Bat is much uglier than I’d thought it’d be, and the profile on the back reveals that it’s actually April’s father…a twist I didn’t see coming and really do not care for. Chance are, as such, this will be another figure I do not end up purchasing at all.

kirby_bat_back

kirby_bat_profile

Casey Jones has a bit of a different look than I’d expected from the tiny image I’d seen previously…and I very nearly bought the figure on the spot. Ultimately I left it behind, though–I have yet to see any of the 2nd season episodes, and after my hunts last year for “elusive” figures like Leatherhead and the Mousers and Turtles in Training and their abundance now…no need to rush; these’ll be around awhile yet.

casey_jones_front

I do have to reiterate that it’s great seeing such an assortment on the back of the cards…it really pulls the line together and emphasizes that it IS a line, and not just a bunch of arbitrary figures.

casey_jones_back

casey_jones_profile

Offhand, this leaves the Mutagen Man as one I want to see…and whatever that Rhazar is…figure that out, and I think I’m pretty much all set for a few months!

TMNT Toys in the Wild – Squirrelanoids

While there’s still a disturbing post-holiday absence of TMNT stock at Walmarts and Targets I’ve looked at lately, the other day I happened to find an all-new (to me) figure that I’d not known of until seeing it there in-person: the Squirrelanoid!

squirrelanoid_front_0202

This is a rather ugly figure…but then, the creature is rather ugly, so it’s not really a comment on the sculpt or such in and of itself. I tend to find squirrels rather cute, so not all that thrilled to see such a horrifyingly-mutated one such as this…

squirrelanoid_back_0202

I immediately noticed the obvious Aliens inspiration…the body, the tail, and the “inner-jaws” on the creature…

squirrelanoid_profile_0202

I also noted the continued use of ACTUALLY SHOWING NUMEROUS FIGURES IN THE LINE that I’m shocked more toy lines do not do. I’ve ALWAYS found this a helpful reference with the TMNT figures, dating back to the 1980s with the original line!

While I did not have any inclination to actually buy the Squirrelanoid, I did spot several OTHER characters that I’m interested in and will at least keep an eye out for!

others_casey_jones     others_kirby_bat

I’m quite glad to see Casey Jones shown…while I don’t like the looks of the skull-mask instead of the typical hockey mask, I look forward to finding the figure in-person to evaluate at that point. The Kirby Bat is interesting to me as–not having kept up with the tv show–I wonder if there was an adaptation of the Kirby story from the Donatello special from the ’80s. This also looks to be the closest I might get to a Wingnut figure…

others_mutagen_man     others_rahzar

This is definitely a different “take” on the Mutagen Man, and seems the only figure that would truly make sense to come with a container of “ooze” (as opposed to the turtle variants from last year). I recall the original Mutagen Man figure from the 1980s line, so will be interested to see this one in person, and perhaps to find the episode he appears in.

Unfortunately, while these others came out fairly clearly, Rahzar is blurry and I don’t have a better image at present. This character looks rather insectoid to me, though the name seems reminiscent of the mutant wolfling from the TMNT II: Secret of the Ooze film. I’ll be interested in finding this one just out of curiosity at what it actually is.

And below, the full assortment of figures shown on the Squirrelanoid’s card back.

other_good_guys0202

other_bad_guys_0202

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW) #30 [Review]

teenagemutantninjaturtlesidw030Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow & Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Art: Ross Campbell
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Cover: Ross Campbell
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

This issue turned out to be somewhat like I expected based on the cover image, even though I hadn’t really thought too much about what its content would actually be. Recovering from their encounter with Shredder in Cityfall, our heroes are hanging out in Northampton, having (for now) left New York behind. Here, we find Mikey writing a letter to his friend back in the city, talking about the experience and how things are going. While Mikey’s writing is in broad strokes, the situation is fleshed out as we see the specifics of the characters’ interactions.

Visually, something seemed a bit “off” this issue that I wasn’t expecting. Yet, as I’ve said plenty of times previously, I’m quite used to and almost “expect” a number of different visual interpretations of the Turtles and cast. So despite the “off-ness” I really didn’t have any actual “problem” with the art. Despite that “off-ness,” Campbell‘s style here is similar enough to Santolouco‘s that if I wasn’t reviewing this I probably wouldn’t have paid attention to the credits to realize it WAS a different artist.

The story in this issue is a bit of a lull in the action, things are relatively low-key. And I very much enjoyed that! It also reminds me of one of my favorite issues of the original TMNT series by Eastman and Laird (for that matter, one of my all-time favorite issues of TMNT, or anything, period). I feel like I always enjoy this type of issue–just getting to see the characters interact, without there having to be some grand amount of action.

As usual, I enjoyed the “latest issue” of this series, and am definitely looking forward to the next. While I loathe the $3.99 pricing, this also continues to be a series I’d grudgingly pay that weekly for, provided it maintained its quality.

New Leonardos

I recently added a couple more Ninja Turtles to my collection. Last week I acquired a couple new Raphaels…this week I went the Leonardo route. I found a 2-pack of Mash-’Ems with Leonardo and a Foot Ninja–where you see exactly what you’re buying rather than a random blind-pack–and got the Pop! Vinyl figure.

new_leonardos

…and all my “main” Leonardos at present:

new_leonardos2

New Raphaels

I recently added two new Raphaels to my TMNT collection. The little guy is one of those Mashables squooshy things you can find in Target and Toys R Us in little green canisters. The bigger one is one of those Pop vinyl figures that have wound up with a huge assortment. I got this one at the local Booksamillion.

new_raphaels

And the entire Raphael collection at present:

new_raphaels2

Some thoughts on comics from the week of 10/30/2013

Damian, Son of Batman #1

damiansonofbatman001I’ve said in the past that those 5-page “previews” or really ANY “preview” repeated over and over and over throughout comics I *am* reading will typically NOT get me any closer to buying the comic they’re “advertising.” What I’m noticing that WILL get me, though, is a cover. See the cover to the Shazam vol. 1 enough times, I decided I was interested enough to buy it. Ditto the “main” image for this issue. Now, the issue itself…I wasn’t impressed. The art’s good, I like Damian’s costume in particular. But the story just isn’t doing it for me, at least not as a single chapter of four. And it’s been so long since I even read Batman #666 (which itself is about 76 issues old as of this typing) that there’s no real significance to me other than “hey, here’s a Damian who didn’t die.” Given all that, I don’t think I’m gonna spend $4/issue on the remaining 3 in this series…but I’ll likely keep an ear to the ground and if I hear enough positive ‘buzz’ about it, perhaps pick up a paperback of the full story once that comes out, if reasonably priced.

The Sandman: Overture #1

sandmanoverture001I was really looking forward to this in the few days leading up to its release. Then I was immediately disappointed by the covers. I couldn’t figure out which cover was the “main” cover, and of the two that I saw, neither particularly rang any bells with the (limited) “marketing” I’d seen for the series; neither stood out as “the” “main” cover. While this oughtta be a relatively minor thing, it largely soured me on initial feelings, which is not a good thing…especially as I don’t recall other Sandman comics doing the “variant thing” and The Sandman really doesn’t strike me as something that oughtta have variants…so this suddenly fell out of fitting perfectly with the “classic” stuff and into “just another modern comic.” I typically have not been a fan of this artist, not caring for the layouts and looser style and all that. However…the style works extremely well for this issue, for The Sandman. Though I don’t recall this artist working on the original series, his work fits in quite well on the whole with my recollection of the original series. Story-wise, again, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve actually read anything Sandman…so taken solely as a stand-alone thing, this issue doesn’t really impress me on the whole. Still, I recognize something in it that (thankfully) rings “true” to memory, expectation, and all that. I have the feeling I’ll enjoy this much more taken as a whole someday, when this entire arc is collected into a single volume.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #27

teenagemutantninjaturtlesidw027There’s a certain “meta” thing about this series for me, between the single issues and the collected volumes. Aside from wherever it was I got the impression of City Fall being a 7-parter (online article, perhaps…not sure if it was anything “official” in-print), I find I “see” story arcs by how they’re collected, which thus far has been some “strict” 4-issue cycle, each collected volume being exactly 4 issues without any variance…even for a specific EXTENDED SINGLE ARC like this being split up. This seems to be the penultimate chapter of City Fall, as things come to a head–and we’re set up for Big Stuff next issue. Story-wise, we get some forward momentum, though it does feel a bit like this issue’s kinda “treading water,” with some of the key stuff going on in the Villains Micro-Series rather than here. Often I’ve enjoyed the added stuff in the Micro-Series, “enhancing” the “main story,” but (for example) the introduction of Bebop and Rocksteady would have had more impact, I think, if they’d been mutated in this main book, or had they been introduced here and THEN we got filled in on the backend about their actual mutation and “trial run.) Visually I continue to enjoy Santolouco‘s work almost as much as I’m enjoying Brizuela‘s on the New Animated Adventures title. All in all, not a bad issue, but not particularly impressive in and of itself…though I’m quite looking forward to the final chapter of this arc.

TMNT Villains Micro-Series #7: Bebop & Rocksteady

tmntvillainsmicroseries007bebopandrocksteadyI’ve never been a particular fan of Bebop and Rocksteady. I see them as a key element of censorship in the 1980s, where heaven forbid the turtles should “win” “beating up” a human. The fact that they were never REALLY much threat to the turtles was also a drawback. But the cover to this issue–which I think I first saw in the “next issue” page of the previous Micro-Series issue–went a long way to change my mind on these guys…making them actually look big…and dangerous. We’ve seen the thugs that mutate, before–a couple cameos, and a cliffhanger of them being part of the group told to fight down to the last two for the chance to become “something more.” This issue gives us a bit of a “flashback” of Bebop and Rocksteady and their “gang history” before joining up with the Foot group, their actual mutation, and their “test run” in mutated form. While still the dimwitted, bumbling idiots they were in the classic cartoon, they’re treated much more seriously here, and come off as the dangerous, mutated brutes they should be…a genuine threat to the turtles despite not being the brightest. I liked the art here, and much as I like Santolouca‘s art on the main series, I far prefer Bebop and Rocksteady’s look here than their appearance in City Fall. An endearing touch in this issue is acknowledging the characters’ names/nicknames as musical styles: I still remember the sudden “click” in my mind early in college when I made that particular connection. Definitely a good issue if you want a Bebop & Rocksteady story, as well as a key issue in the overall TMNT continuity from IDW. As with other Micro-Series issues, you can ignore that number on the cover…treat this as a one-shot with timely, in-continuity elements.

TMNT New Animated Adventures #4 [Review]

tmntnewanimatedadventures004Story: Erik Burnham
Art: Dario Brizuela
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow
Cover: Dario Brizuela
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

After April brings cell-phone video of a lone Foot ninja sneaking around, the turtles investigate. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a trap, as the Foot test a newly-rendered poison on them (delivered via blow-darts). Raphael is hit, which leads the turtles to race to find ingredients for the antidote. Of course, archnemesis the Shredder is behind things, and sends Dogpound to prevent the turtles from obtaining the final ingredient.

Story-wise, this isn’t all that deep…but then, being based on the animated series I wouldn’t expect much depth. As this continues the trend of the done-in-one format, there’s also not much room for a lot of depth…and I’m ok with that. This issue particularly (over the previous issues) feels like it would fit in equally well with the original ’80s animated series or the current, and I even found myself “hearing” the ’80s voicecast as I read the turtles’ dialogue (Dogpound was a mix of Bebop and Rocksteady).

Visually, this continues to be one of the best-looking “adaptations” I’ve seen as Brizuela‘s art continues to carry the spirit and design of the animated series while keeping its own look that just “is.” I find myself increasingly preferring Brizuela‘s visuals to the animated series itself.

All in all, yet another solid issue, likely enjoyable by any fan of the current tv show, and even a bit to those who prefer the original animated series.

Classic Collection Leonardo – Out of His Shell

While it seems lately I have waaaaay too many figures that have remained in their packaging (I need to work on a shelving system to display ‘em), the Classic Collection Leonardo is one that I almost immediately opened up (He’s currently on display at work above my cube).

classic_leo_01

One of the first things I noticed–and the MAJOR disappointment–is the shoulder joints on mine are STUCK, and do NOT move up and down–though they look like they’re supposed to. So the arms are stuck being held outward at a rather awkward pose, rather than being able to have them down closer to the character’s sides. I felt like I was going to break the arms off trying to get either joint to move, before giving up and settling (for now).

classic_leo_04

I do like the stand the figure comes with, as well as the hands’ ability to actually grip the swords. Not the best grip ever, but satisfactory, especially in the face of the shoulder-joints’ issue.

classic_leo_05

I like the coloring and shaping of the figure overall. While not a huge fan of the mask’s rigidity on some of the figures, the shaping on this figure is much more to my liking. This image also shows that shoulder-joint: it’ll swivel, but won’t actually move up/down.

classic_leo_02

I like the detail on the scabbards, though I don’t remember the character ever having the blue strap in the cartoon. It works well enough with the general color scheme here, though, emphasizing that this is indeed Leonardo. The scabbards are one piece, but “plug in” to the shell, and the piece is easily removed, though thankfully doesn’t seem QUITE “fall-out” easy to remove.

The shoulder issue really limits the playability and posability of the figure; I very quickly lost interest in playing with posing due to that, as the character is quite limited with arms stuck straight out perpendicular! I intend to “research” the issue before I’ll buy any more of these–if it’s a common issue, I probably will hold off. If it’s just a glitch on the figure I got, I might try to work it loose and see what I can do with it from there.

all_leonardos

While–again–I’m not a fan of variants on the figure within the same “line,” here are the “main” Leonardo figures from four different lines.

Baxter’s TMNT-Lego Robot Rampage

I recently found the TMNT Baxter Robot Rampage set on sale for a good discount, so went ahead and bought it. Ended up with it sitting around for a bit over a week until I finally got it put together, but finally did, and while it normally wouldn’t be my favorite Lego ‘mech, its awesomeness is increased by the mini-fig TMNT…

BaxterRobotRampage

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