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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW) #25 [Review]

teenagemutantninjaturtlesidw025City Fall, part four

Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow & Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Layouts: Kevin Eastman
Art: Mateus Santolouco
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Shawn Lee & Tom Long
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Cover: Mateus Santolouco
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

City Fall is shaping up to be one of THE epic TMNT stories, certainly a worthy rival to the classic City at War story that ran in the original TMNT series back in 1992/1993. This issue marks the halfway point of the story, and I’m extremely interested in what comes next!

Raphael–distraught over his role in Casey getting hurt and Leonardo’s being taken by the Foot–is out busting heads, hoping to find the Foot so he can atone for his mistake by rescuing Leo himself. Donatello talks to Casey on the phone, updating him on what’s going on…Raph’s out, and Splinter’s disappeared with Slash on some personal mission. Don and Mikey are heading out to search for Raph. April and Casey have a moment as we see their relationship continuing to bloom. Splinter meets with Old Hob to enlist aid in rescuing his son. Meanwhile, we see Leo as Shredder’s #2, his “Chunin,” and Karai isn’t impressed.

I recall several panels jumping out at me as the turtles looking kinda strange, which momentarily took me out of the story. However, on giving myself an extra moment to take stuff in, they actually fit with the rest…there were just details I’d not really noticed that I suddenly did (particularly the raggedness of the turtles’ masks, which makes sense and I like…it’s not like they’re going to some shop and buying perfectly manufactured masks or anything!). Overall I’m continuing to really enjoy Santolouco’s art, and very much appreciating the general consistency to the look of this title for this arc at least.

Story-wise, I continue to be fascinated by the possibilities of character growth, development, and change. As this is a relatively new continuity unbeholden to older material (but drawing organically from everything that’s come before and reworking it to fit together), I can see so much potential to things, which pleasantly derails any concrete expectations I might have. At the very least I anticipate this arc having drastic long-reaching impact on Leonardo moving forward as well as tricky consequences for Splinter, and likely long-term stuff for Casey.

It also appears that we’re about to have the introduction of a couple ‘classic’ very popular characters from the original TMNT cartoon brought fully into this continuity, and while I can mostly do without the idea of them, I have faith that they’ll be worked into this continuity quite well and be as different as Cobra Commander in the GI Joe comics was to the cartoon counterpart of that series…or at least, I really hope that’s the case!.

If you’ve read through to the prior issue, I see nothing in particular to this issue to give reason not to pick it up. 

I believe I saw solicitation text somewhere showing that IDW is continuing to collect every 4 issues into new paperbacks, so a new volume with the interlude between the Krang War and City Fall, as well as the first 3 chapters of City Fall itself should be available soon…which would make this a decent jumping-on point if you’re following the series in trades and are looking for a point to jump into the single issues.

And while you’ll certainly benefit from a larger context having read much of the earlier material, if you’re just looking for a solid, major TMNT story…for being 4 chapters in of an expected 7, I highly recommend this!

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.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW) #22 [Review]

teenagemutantninjaturtlesidw022City Fall, Part One
Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow & Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Art: Mateus Santolouco
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Cover: Mateus Santolouco
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

Once I originally discovered the original Mirage TMNT comics and could be officially considered “into” them, THE major TMNT story was City at War, beginning with the big #50 issue that saw the return of Eastman and Laird–the characters’ creators–simultaneously to the title. The arc continued for the next 12 issues; 13 chapters in all…easily the largest single arc in the characters’ history to that point.

Now, after five 4-issue arcs and several mini-series, we begin what’s being billed as the largest-yet arc for this current IDW run: City Fall. I’m almost certain the title is MEANT to recall City at War, just by its name…and reading this issue, I can see a sort of thematic connection already. I don’t recall–if I even ever “knew”–how long this arc’s intended to be, but for some reason I have “7” on the brain.

Raphael and Casey are out and about, checking on Casey’s dad…when they’re ambushed by the Foot. Raph escapes, but is unable to take Casey with him–he quickly returns to his brothers, anxious to get back out and rescue his friend. While a rescue mission is mounted, the turtles and Splinter are dismayed at the presence of Shredder himself…a situation that–coupled with Raph’s uncontrolled rage–leaves the entire turtle-family in a far less than ideal situation by issue’s end.

Visually, I enjoyed this issue more than I thought I would. I don’t recall having any real issue with Santolouco‘s art on the Secret History of the Foot Clan mini, and his style works well here. Coupled with the consistency of Pattison‘s colors, this fits in very well with established IDW TMNT visuals; and aside from one panel toward the end of the issue, I have no trouble following the story visually.

The story itself seems to be–based on the credits–a sort of “story by committee,” and if this were DC or Marvel I might be quite concerned to see the book’s editor in the story credits. But I’m already used to seeing both Eastman (co-creator of the characters!) and Waltz credited together…and with Curnow’s history with this property, it makes sense for involvement there as well.

I definitely find myself enjoying the use of continuity…it’s been frustrating in its own way having such short, clipped arcs of “only” 4 issues apiece (notable by the collected volumes popping out every few months). But we’re treated to stuff coming out of the various arcs, as opposed to some floating, “timeless” standalone arc that could happen at “any time.” Recurring characters and events/references come from the various Micro-Series issues and even last year’s phenomenal Annual.

From this issue alone, the story actually feels bigger…and we get a potentially major event in this issue to kick things off with pretty high stakes–I don’t know exactly what to expect going forward…but whatever happens, this issue will certainly be one ripe for lots of further reference as we continue on with this continuity.

The issue’s certainly a treat to me, having been following the entirety of the IDW TMNT continuity since it began a couple years ago…I could say this is my favorite issue of the week, but that’d be a bit misleading, as this is the ONLY new comic I bought this week: the TMNT are a core part of my comics buying, and visiting the comic shop for this single issue–where in the past I’ve skipped a week due to there only being 2 issues of anything out–was totally worthwhile. I’m definitely looking forward to the next issue!

TMNT New Animated Adventures FCBD 2013 [Review]

tmntnewanimatedadventuresfcbd2013Story: Erik Burnham
Art: Dario Brizuela
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow
Cover by: Dario Brizuela
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $0.00

I’ve been “expecting” this series for quite awhile. I recall thinking it’d be one of the first TMNT things put out by IDW, and precede the new animated series. Obviously I was wrong in that expectation, but that also made me all the more curious about this issue, having watched most of the episodes so far of the tv show serving as inspiration.

I was quite gratified to find that this issue totally fits–for me, anyway–within the continuity of the show. It was like an adaptation of an episode, yet even better–because it’s an original story, with some really good art, that simply captures the spirit of the show while doing its own thing.

We open with Mikey showing off some new moves and getting teased by his brothers. Splinter steps into things, and uses the brotherly rivalry as a teaching moment–the turtles are all quite good with their chosen weapons…but what’s their skill level with an unfamiliar weapon? Ordered to maintain a temporary weapon swap, the turtles head up out of the sewers, and wind up fighting some Purple Dragons before encountering an even larger menace, and learning the wisdom Splinter set forth.

The story has these characters nailed–the personalities from the nick tv show shine through on all involved characters, and some of the quips are highly true to the show. I was especially impressed at a moment with Raphael and Donatello where Raph grabs Donnie and instructs him “Don’t you EVER try and finish that sentence”–the context and hearing the voice from the cartoon in my head nearly made me laugh out loud in a way that so rarely happens.

Visually I really enjoyed the art. Brizuela‘s name is familiar to me from work on a number of issues of Tales of the TMNT from 2004-2009. It’s very cool to see another “veteran” of Mirage TMNT doing some new TMNT work for tmntnewanimatedadventuresfcbd2013backIDW…something I hope to see more of from creators with any interest in doing so. The characters all look like their animated counterparts (though admittedly CGI to 2D); but the art’s still got a certain uniqueness about it. It’s obviously based on the cartoon, but it’s not trying to BE the cartoon. It’s also quite a lot better-looking than stills taken from the cartoon itself.

This is easily my favorite Free Comic Book Day issue this year, and I’m really looking forward to the first issue of the actual ongoing series this summer.

If you can only grab one FCBD issue this year, I’d highly recommend this to fans of the TV show or fans of Burnham or Brizuela‘s other work, and general fans of the TMNT as a whole.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2012 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 5/5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #15 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #14 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 4/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 4.5/5

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