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Tales of the TMNT #32 [Review]

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Quick Rating: Very Good–Fun!
Story Title: The Eye of Aga-Moo-Tou

Summary: The TMNT and the C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa team up again to tackle the threat posed by Savanti Romero gaining access to the Eye of Aga-Moo-Tou.

talesofthetmnt032 Plot: Laird & Brown
Words: Murphy
Layouts: Ryan Brown
Pencils: Dario Brizuela
Inks: Joe Rubinstein
Letters: Eric Talbot
Editor, Creative Consultant: Peter Laird
Managing Editor: Murphy
Production, Design: Eric Talbot
Covers: (main): Dario Brizuela, (variant): Andres Ponce, Ryan Brown, Steve Lavigne
Publisher: Mirage

Despite never having been a fan of the C.O.W. Boys (I was aware of them briefly in the 90s, but never "into" them), this is great fun. We get those characters back, interacting side-by-side with the TMNT in a way that makes perfect sense in the TMNT-verse, and is just…fun.

A nearly-immortal figure locates the mystical Eye of Aga-Moo-Tou, though the Eye is also located by old TMNT villain Savanti Romero. Meanwhile, at Moo Mesa, the C.O.W. Boys are going about their regular business, when things go all wacky thanks to Romero. Back on Earth, Tsou-T’an-Jin makes contact with and transports the turtles to Moo Mesa, where they find their old friends mind-controlled/possessed by Romero, and the battle for the Eye is joined…

At its surface, this is a rather simple, stereotypical story…mega-powerful mystical artifact located by a villain, first protagonists on the scene defeated and turned on second-wave fellow heroes, yadda yadda yadda. Then again, it really isn’t much deeper than that, if you look strictly at story elements. The fun and enjoyment comes from the specific characters–here, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles AND the C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa thrust together in a single story.

The story flows, hitting key beats of structure. Not being terribly familiar with all the characters, I can’t say for certain that everyone’s in-character; the turtles seem to be right on track, so I presume the COW Boys are, too..and given that (as far as I can tell) original creators of all characters involved are…well…involved with this issue, I’ve no reason to believe this does anything but fit both sides of the "crossover" of the properties.

The art throughout is just fine, with all the characters being totally recognizable, and panels clear/clean as to what’s going on. This isn’t just some comic adaptation of a cartoon, but it’s also not one of the darker, gritter of the TMNT stories.
For jumping in cold and just wanting "a" TMNT story, this is a great issue to do so with, and it’s even kid-friendly on the whole–probably moreso than a certain teen wizard’s exploits, for point of comparison.

The great thing about this title is that it features a monthly supply of in-continuity TMNT stories by a variety of writers and artists that include stories set in the characters’ past, present, and future, as well as easily contain property crossovers like we have here. While many titles from bigger publishers might suffer from radical shifts in creative teams from issue-to-issue on writing and visuals, it’s become a sort of staple for this book.

If you can find it, I highly recommend this issue…and really, the series in general for any of you longer-time TMNT fans.

Ratings:

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Tales of the TMNT #70 [Review]

Return to New York, book 1.5: Zog

Plot: Eric Talbot and Jim Lawson
Script/Pencils: Jim Lawson
Inks/Tones/Letters: Eric Talbot
Frontispiece: Michael Dooney
Cover: Jim Lawson, Eric Talbot and Steve Lavigne
Published by: Mirage Publishing

Refusing to wait for his brothers, Raphael returns to the NYC sewers, where he promptly encounters a Triceraton. Upon waking from the beating inflicted, he finds himself prisoner of Zog, along with a Foot ninja. Though technically enemies, the Turtle and Foot realize they’re not gonna get free of this alone, and must work together…though after a bit of cooperation, their relationship tanks pretty quickly. When their captor returns, Raph takes advantage of the alien dinosaur’s deteriorating mental state by donning the skull of the dead Triceraton commander. With this guise, he convinces Zog that he’s needed for a final mission that involves helping the turtles.

I can’t be certain without digging out the original Return to New York arc…but this reads as slightly more refined than that. But then, it’s coming nearly two decades later, and the Mirage talent has had plenty of time to grow and refine their work since the original story. Also, this is written by Lawson & Talbot rather than Eastman & Laird, so has that slightly different feel. Despite that, this does not feel out of place in and of itself, and I greatly enjoyed the return to such a key story. The “voice” of the characters fits, and while the opening pages provide some context and serve to differentiate this from the early TMNT issues, there’s nothing that I can recall that this contradicts.

The Lawson/Talbot art seems pretty much standard-TMNT to me…really, the standard, to where other artists’ work on the characters has been the variance and different interpretations. While the visuals don’t exactly match what I recall of the original story, that’s fine by me. The art fits the story, conveys what’s going on, and it’s the story itself that makes the issue fit, the art just conveys this specific chapter.

This seems a fitting send-off to this long-running title. Though this is the final issue, its predecessor felt like much more of a final issue. This fits between-issues of the 1980s Return to New York arc when the turtles returned from Northampton and confronted the resurrected Shredder after their sound defeat months earlier. One of the best final touches to the issue is that rather than ship with different editions, each with a different cover (as virtually every other comic publisher seems wont to do these days), this issue ships with a “variant version” on the front, and the “standard” cover on the back…and Mirage gets loads of credit from me for that. This “variant” cover takes on the trade dress of the Return to New York arc–this’ll fit nicely in the longbox with that story and not look out of place–while the standard cover on the back carries the contemporary trade dress/logo.

This issue may whet your appetite for the full Return to New York story if you’re just checking this out or otherwise are not familiar with this key story from the original Mirage run of TMNT. If you’re already familiar with that story, this should be that much more of a treat.

I wouldn’t recommend this issue as a single issue to start with…but otherwise, it’s well worth tracking down…particularly if you’re familiar with the early Mirage TMNT stories.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 7.5/10
Overall: 8/10

Tales of the TMNT #69 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Tales of the TMNT #67 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Tales of the TMNT #64 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Tales of the TMNT #61 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Tales of the TMNT #60 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

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