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Tales of the TMNT #67 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: Schooled

Shadow starts at a new school, and must resist the urge to tell everybody about her mutant “uncles.”

talesofthetmnt067Script: Dan Berger
Pencils and Tones: Dario Brizuela
Inks: Andres Ponce
Letters: Eric Talbot
Cover: Dario Brizuela and Steve Lavigne
Frontispiece: Michael Dooney
Published by: Mirage Publishing

Unfortunately, this series has what I can only describe as a “lame duck” feeling about it. There are just a couple more issues due out before the series goes away completely. And being the sole presence of the TMNT in comics for the last few years, there are no other books for these characters to show up in, or co-feature in, and so on. With the property having been sold off, and zero word on any new comic series and whether any of the existing/ongoing continuity would be maintained or if the entire property would be restarted if comics are done…it makes the long-term effect of this issue seem pretty low-key and like it has little point to it. Of course, taken by itself, this is quite an enjoyable story.

This issue sees Shadow–the adopted daughter of Casey Jones and April–getting into a new school, and everyone dealing with that. At the same time, Mikey and Don are out and about on the streets, keeping each other focused as to what’s right and wrong. When Shadow’s first day at school arrives, her family is excited and proud, though they warn her of the danger that would come by her talking about her “uncles” and whatnot…which of course leads to trouble. Still, the resolution is mostly satisfying…at least in keeping with the nature of Casey in particular.

I’ve realized throughout this series that despite the differences in the various visual styles of the artists involved, each largely has something to really like. For example, this issue reminds me of the recent TMNT animated series–particularly Casey’s appearance. The turtles themselves look quite different in detail but still seem like they’d fit in rather well with the animated series’ visual style. My only real gripe is that I don’t think I’ve ever pictured Shadow as a blonde–and I don’t know if that’s me simply never noticing, or what the deal is–but other than that, the art’s good stuff.

As with many issues of this series, this is a done-in-one tale, so you don’t really need earlier issues to follow the story (though they’ll add plenty of context). You can pick this up by itself and enjoy it as a one-shot thing, or as another untold tale from this period in the Turtles’ lives.

It’s just unfortunate that this doesn’t seem like just the latest untold tale to add context to a present-day story…nothing’s really going to come of this or refer back to this.

Recommended for TMNT fans in particular…and whether this issue or most of the prior issues, this series in itself is well worth reading, and its lengthy run these past 6 years is second only to the TMNT Adventures series from Archie back in the 1990s.

Ratings:

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

Tales of the TMNT #61 [Review]

Quick Rating: Very Good
Story Title: Sometimes They Come Back

While helping to investigate the destruction of several buildings in the city and rising violence of an ongoing gang war, the turtles find more of their past back to haunt them.

talesofthetmnt061Script: Tristan Jones
Art: Andres Ponce
Letters: Eric Talbot
Cover: Andres Ponce & Steve Lavigne
Frontispiece: Michael Dooney
Editor in Chief: Peter Laird
Managing Editor: Dan Berger
Design: Eric Talbot
Publisher: Mirage Publishing

This issue picks up on a story thread that’s been touched on at a few points in recent years. The introduction on the inside front cover provides a quick recap to give context, and then we launch into the story. One of the turtles makes contact with a police detective investigating a collapsed building. As we continue on, the turtles all find pieces of the “puzzle” that comes together in a fairly fast-paced piece of action before quickly winding down as the turtles find themselves facing the small–but terrifyingly plentiful–mousers they’d faced years ago.

It might just be the immediacy of having just read the issue, with its enjoyment fresh in my mind…but this is one of the most enjoyable TMNT reads I’ve had in awhile. Jones builds a story that is both fresh and yet drawn from existing continuity. The result is that the reader is provided not just a peek into a random moment in the turtles’ lives, but a growing story, and (dare I say it) continuity within the “gap” presented when TMNT vol. 4 launched nearly 8 years ago.

The story moves at a pretty quick pace…in some ways, I’d certainly like to see more build, as we do largely just get snippets of stuff as the scenes move along from one turtle to another with the occasional moment from the police throughout. At the same time, the story in this one issue could probably be stretched to at least 2 and maybe 3 issues without feeling padded…but rather than have to buy 3 issues, we get the entirety of the given story right here. Reading through the issue, I get a distinct feel of the turtles being older and rather independent (no Splinter found nor referenced), and the way they’re shown interacting throughout the issue shows where they’ve grown up from the earliest TMNT issues.

Ponce‘s art gives me the impression much of this book takes place at night–there’s a certain feel to the imagery with shadows and overall tone giving that feeling. Unlike a lot of other black-and-white books, where the art looks like it’s ready for color, here it almost appears to have been done in color and printed in greytones. The overall style puts me in mind of the animated series–this certainly does not duplicate that series’ style, but is somewhat similar, and that works very well for me here, as I can easily see the action of this issue being animated.

Probably because this issue is the latest of a several-part ongoing “arc,” newer readers may not get much from this. I think this issue is more for longer-time readers (whether just of this volume of Tales of the TMNT, or going back to the 1990s or even the mid-80s when the turtles first appeared). As one of those longtime readers, this issue was a blast, and very much worth its price.

Ratings:

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

Tales of the TMNT #32 [Review]

classicreviewlogowhite

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 #67 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
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

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