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TMNT Amazing Adventures #1 [Review]

tmntamazingadventures001Story: Landry Q. Walker
Art: Chad Thomas
Back-up Story by: James Kochalka
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow
Cover: Jon Sommariva
Published by: IDW
Cover Date: August 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

We open on the turtles out in the city following up on a rumored sighting of Doctor Cluckingsworth. They’re soon surprised–and defeated by the same. Enlisting Splinter’s aid, they soon learn they were (and are) actually facing an old entity known as Zodiac. The turtles and Splinter find themselves forced into an alliance with the Shredder (after an obligatory fight) but soon find themselves at the mercy of a number of familiar antagonists under the control of the Zodiac and face the loss of one of their own.

Perhaps that all sounds a bit dramatic–and it is. Yet at the same time it’s also a bit simplistic…especially as I’m not much of a fan of the “mutant of the week” theme that seems to run with this particular incarnation of the turtles (compared to the ongoing serialized continuities of the 2003 tv show and the current “main” IDW series).

But this isn’t exactly aimed at me. This seems very much aimed at younger readers, and fans of the current Nickelodeon tv show. However, as with its predecessor (TMNT New Animated Adventures), this plays a bit on my nostalgia factor. This is a separate series from the “main comics version” of the turtles, based on the characters as they appear in a still-putting-out-new-episodes animated series. Where the old Archie-publilshed TMNT Adventures quickly diverged into its own continuity entirely, this seems to hold closer to tv continuity.

Given that…I dig the art on this issue. The characters are all clear, consistent, and are definitely comic-book-characters. This looks like a comic book, and not some adaptation. The visual style is its own thing, though the character designs are obviously the current tv versions, with certain key things about the various characters apparent. That’s to be expected given what the series is, and I consider that a very strong positive that everything is obvious while not trying to be something it’s not.

The story is relatively simple, but quite solid. As a new #1 and thus introductory point, I rather enjoy that so many familiar characters were pulled in (if only as cameos) while also seeming to introduce an entirely new character in Zodiac. I suspect this will make the issue that much more accessible to existing readers and fans of the tv show, as well as–this being a first issue–serving to quickly show off a number of the colorful mutant characters that are part of this universe.

The voice of the characters rings true and I like having an apparently-new antagonist not given a goofy name by one of the turtles.

Unfortunately, the story is cut dreadfully short at a mere 16 pages, apparently to make room for a very uninteresting-to-me backup story. This basically involves Mikey trying to volcano-roast a pizza, and the turtles then conveniently discovering an actual volcano underground, and generally acting (to this mid-30s adult) overly childish and stupid.

The backup story’s art does not look at all like “professional quality” art, and standing strictly by and for itself looks absurd next to the main story. There’s nothing to contextualize the piece, to say if the artist is a kid, or if they’re going for a certain look, etc…and while I usually am rather welcoming to alternative artistic interpretations of the turtles, I feel like losing 1/3 of the content pages to this was a waste of space and cover price.

All in all, Walker‘s lead story is good, and I’m interested to see where it goes (and whether it is only a 2-parter or something a bit longer). For a younger reader, this would seem to be an excellent jumping-on point, and certainly worth and adult buying them a copy.

The price and loss of story to the backup gives me serious pause in regards to this title, though I’ll give it another issue or two to see if the backup thing is a regular part of this series and where that quality goes. I’ve enjoyed Walker‘s work in the past, so that’s going to be the core draw for me on the series…it just sucks to consider paying $4/issue to “only” enjoy a lead feature instead of having the entire issue be up to the lead feature’s quality/interest.

As a first issue, definitely recommended.

Plus, hey…it’s TMNT. More fun than plenty of other stuff out there.

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.

TMNT New Animated Adventures #2 [Review]

tmntnewanimatedadventures002Story: Kenny Byerly
Art: Dario Brizuela
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow
Cover: Dario Brizuela
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

Snakeweed is probably the most memorable of my least-favorite characters introduced in the new TMNT series. He may have also been the first–I don’t quite recall for sure. So while I was looking forward to another issue of the New Animated Adventures…the fact that it featured Snakeweed as the mutant du jour was rather dismaying.

This issue’s well in line with fitting the tone of this series so far (the FCBD and #1 issues), but for Snakeweed it’s certainly my least-favorite issue so far.

Leo’s been looking forward (for weeks!) to a marathon airing of the entire Space Heroes series and exposing his bros to the show. The power cuts out, and while he complains, Splinter suggests a reverence for nature rather than a railing against nature’s storms. Eventually the power is restored, only for the turtles to learn of a plant infestation in the city. They investigate and discover Snakeweed’s involvement and a new plan–to release spores in a storm to spread more Snakeweeds and overtake the humans, returning the planet to a vegetative state. The turtles split up–two to tackle the mutant himself and two to contain the spores.

I continue to enjoy Brizuela‘s art on this, and really like the visual take on these characters. They’re quite recognizable as being based on the tv series, yet maintain a comic book feel that avoids looking like some straight “adaptation” or “imitation”…it’s truly its own thing.

Story-wise, as said, I have a strong dislike for Snakeweed, so I’m not impressed there. In and of itself, the story works, and everyone seems “on” to what one would expect within this shared tv/comic continuity, so objectively this is definitely another solid issue. Long-time TMNT fans will also likely note a surprising yet obvious “Easter Egg” with April partway into the issue that brings back memories.

I’m looking forward to the next issue–the cover preview suggests the involvement of Kraang Prime, which is all the more appealing for my dislike here of Snakeweed, as well as having just a few days ago finally having watched the tv series’ season one finale.

If you’re enjoying the tv series, but don’t want to venture into the full-blown comics continuity of IDW‘s ongoing series, this is certainly a great book to jump into for some TMNT comics’ enjoyment. And if you just enjoy TMNT comics, this is well worthwhile…more color adventures, and it stands by itself (alongside the tv series) offering a “different” take on these characters.

TMNT New Animated Adventures #1 [Review]

TMNT New Animated Adventures #1Story: Kenny Byerly
Art: Dario Brizuela
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow
Cover: Dario Brizuela
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

I’ve been quite looking forward to this premiere issue for a couple months now, since at least the FCBD issue back in May. In many ways, this is sort of a #2 issue, as it fits excellently with the FCBD issue (which was itself a full issue and not just a few pages’ preview or a short one-off amidst so-called “dvd-style extras” or such.

As I’d said then and hold with this issue, this truly feels right at home within the continuity of the Nickelodeon animated series–the characterization is consistent, and I even “hear” the voices from the show as I read this.

The visuals are a great blend of simply “comic book art” and “adaptation form another medium” as the characters are very recognizeable as based on the CGI designs of the animated series…yet Brizuela‘s art is distinctive and does not seem to “try too hard” to BE what it is not–it’s 2-D art and works very well, and avoids being particularly “cartooney” or over-simple.

Story-wise, this is an April-centric issue, focusing largely on her integration into the turtles’ family unit, and showing her increasing skills unter Splinter’s tutelage while we see her equally as fallible as the turtles themselves–also teens.

After showing off her stealth and receiving praise from Splinter, April accompanies Donatello to a junkyard to track down a piece of of tech for his inventions. Unfortunately, the junkyard turns out to be a bit more than they bargained for, and April is captured by the military, and the turtles have to intervene. Ultimately, a lesson is learned by all, and things continue on.

I’ve enjoyed the main/”real” TMNT continuity from IDW these past couple of years, and despite not being entirely enamored with the animated tv series, I did enjoy reading this issue. As long as I’ve been into TMNT in general, I very fondly remember the original Archie-published TMNT Adventures, so this TMNT New Animated Adventures is a bit reminiscent of that in intent, it seems. It remains to be seen if this will branch off into its own individual continuity, but I’m content to follow this as an extension to the tv series’ continuity.

As with the tv series, this story is a done-in one/self-contained story…you get a full story in one issue, and there’s no need to get the next issue to FINISH this story…which is another nice thing about this. Though the next-issue ad indicates one of my least-favorite characters of the series, I’ll happily give it a chance simply for being TMNT, and of course Brizuela‘s art.

TMNT Micro-Series #7: April [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 4.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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