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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series: Leonardo [Review]

Script by: Brian Lynch
Art by: Ross Campbell
Colors by: Jay Fotos
Letters by: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Cover by: David Petersen
Published by: IDW

The turtles’ father, Splinter, has just been kidnapped by Hob. As the turtles spread out to cover more ground, Leo heads back to Stockman’s place, determined to rescue his father. As he proceeds, he finds himself thinking back to his past life as revealed recently by Splinter, and we as readers see how that’s a driving force for the character. Before long, Leo finds himself fighting some Foot ninjas…and then some more, and even more, and before long he’s got no clue how many there are, but they’re more than he seems able to handle. Eventually, most leave, and Leo is treated to one on one combat with an elite ninja, and the battle severely wounds his pride, to say the least, leaving him to limp home to his brothers with no new word on Splinter.

The art works pretty well overall here. The only sort of oddity to me is that the visual style makes Leo in particular look too young, almost. But on the whole, good art, and the story’s easy to follow without feeling lost or having any major gripes with the art.

Story-wise, this isn’t the greatest, but it’s still good. While we get some addition to the overall TMNT continuity in general and see the Foot are quite numerous (and I have my suspicion about the identity of the elite one-on-one combatant being far more important than is let on here), a certain element of the story feels rather cliche and thus a bit “forced.” The ORIGINAL Leonardo one-shot saw him out in the city and suddenly in conflict with a great many Foot ninjas, ultimately being bested by the Shredder. So having this put Leo in position of being out in the city, in conflict with a great many Foot ninjas, and facing a superior combatant while not being a re-telling of that original story just doesn’t sit quite right with me.

That said…when I get past the critical/analytical part of my mind…it’s Leonardo. Fighting the Foot, cutting loose with his swords (even though there’s no gore to be found visually). So frankly…I enjoyed the issue. I really did. Just not quite as much as I might have had I not been so looking forward to it…the thing couldn’t live up to my perconcieved expectations.

As with the first 3 of these issues…this tells a nice side-story focusing on a solo turtle, while pushing the overall story forward a bit, introducing elements that are going to surely be quite important to the main series before too much longer.

That this issue is primarily fighting makes it less than ideal as a single jump-on point, though fans specifically of Leo will probably enjoy this well enough. Though this is technically a separate thing from the ongoing series and is not essential, it feels pretty important, and so long as you’re enjoying the entire rebirth of the TMNT-verse, treating this as a continuation of the main series is probably the most enjoyable way to take the issue in.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 7.5/10
Whole: 8/10

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Infestation 2: 30 Days of Night #1 [Review]

Written by: Duane Swierczynski
Art by: Stuart Sayger
Colors by: Jay Fotos
Lettering by: Shawn Lee
Edited by: Denton J. Tipton
Cover by: Sam Shearon
Published by: IDW

In 1952, a photojournalist and her pilot have a rough landing a couple hundred miles south of the North Pole. Seeking shelter and to complete their mission–for the journalist to get the photos they flew here for–the two stumble across a fairly deadly gathering. Fleeing the fate of her pilot, the journalist finds herself in continued peril–as a deadly battle between vampires and an Elder God rages around her, with the Russian military seeking to deal with intruders, period. Her struggle for survival ends with a slight twist that seems to fit the issue in general.

The Vampire element in this story seems almost thrown in (given the title and all). It works, but doesn’t seem essential–they could almost be replaced by any sort of “cult” or group of people influenced by the nightmare of the Elder Gods. Having watched an episode of Mad Men the other day, I’m sort of struck by the contrast in the role a woman’s allowed to play in this story set years earlier. The female protagonist also unfortunately plays into the generic horror movie feel. If the character’s name was given, I don’t recall it as I type–she’s just there, speaking to the reader of the event she experienced.

The visual style of the issue is of dark and muted colors, and at points things seemed fairly surreal and hallucinatory. That certainly fit the story and the generic characters, and lent a clear tone to the story.

Overall, this was a pretty good horror-story one-shot officially set within the world of 30 Days of Night. You’ve got tentacled Elder Gods, typical non-sparkly/non-friendly vampires, and “normal humans” caught in-between. I have no idea if the characters are supposed to be significant to general continuity or not, but I enjoyed the issue well enough either way. This puts me in mind of some Aliens comics, where new characters generally seem to be introduced for any given story, set against the general backdrop of a world.

So, as with all the other Infestation 2 issues…I really don’t feel you need to know much more than the basic “concept” of the property to enjoy the Infestation 2 tie-ins; nor do these tread against the continuity of the individual properties. Established fan of 30 Days of Night or fans of the film or just picking this up as part of following Infestation 2 itself, this is worth buying. I almost prefer the single-issue nature of this to two issues, as one issue seems a taste or glimpse into the property, and two issues almost a tease compared to general done-in-one stories vs. “full arcs.”

Story: 6.5/10
Art: 7.5/10
Overall: 7/10

Infestation 2: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

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

Infestation 2: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com.

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

Spawn #200 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

 

Story: 3/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Spawn #192 [Review]

Endgame (Part Eight)

Writer: Todd McFarlane
Pencils: Whilce Portacio
Inks: Todd McFarlane
Color: Jay Fotos
Lettering: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Todd McFarlane
Cover Artists: Whilce Portacio, Todd McFarlane, Jay Fotos
Publisher: Image Comics

Part Eight?!? That means this is my EIGHTH issue of this title in a row, and if it hasn’t been quite monthly, I sure haven’t noticed a lateness. I’m not even sure–including duplicates–that I even OWN 8 issues of Spawn before this story.

That said…this is still one of those books that I’m a bit “iffy” on. For one thing, I’m not all that thrilled when I learn more about the characters and story from the letters pages and other sources outside the story in the book itself. I learned from the letters pages in this issue, for example, that the new major protagonist Jim apparently first appeared waaaaay back in issue 3 as a then-throwaway character. I’m also not all that familiar with the fairly large cast of characters, and so feel like there’s something of a shadow hanging over my reading experience; that I’d almost get more out of reading online summations of the story in text format with no visuals at all.

This issue sees the new Spawn meeting several apparently old players, or entitities tied to old players. He finds out a bit more about himself and the costume, which keeps things moving along, but it doesn’t feel like there’s REALLY a lot going on, even though there is. I’m increasing contemplating the fact that I’d probably get MORE out of this title reading a collected volume.

The art continues to be a high point, and it seems Portacio’s a perfect artist for this book. The only drawback is a certain factor in some of the panels that seem almost over-the-top “graphic” and violent–moreso than maybe necessary, and in one case almost more bloody than seems plausible given the rest of the image.

On the whole, as far as the title and characters go, it seems that offing Al Simmons and allowing essentially a fresh start (and withOUT numbering shenanigans, to boot!) was the best thing to happen to this book. At the least, it’s made me a regular reader for the better part of a year–something that never before happened in the 16-some years this book has been in existence.

Story: 6.5/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 7/10

Spawn #188 [Review]

Endgame (part four)

Writers: Todd McFarlane, Brian Holguin
Pencils: Whilce Portacio
Digital Inks: Todd McFarlane
Color: Jay Fotos
Lettering: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Todd McFarlane
Cover Artists: Whilce Portacio, Jin Han
Publisher: Image Comics

After the incidents in the previous issue, a hospital’s worth of patients are being evacuated and put up in other hospitals resulting in plenty of overcrowding. A bit more is uncovered about the “conspiracy” Jim is caught up in, and while he and Sara seek each other out, Jim ultimately finds a new role thrust upon him.

The art has a consistent look from previous issues, and fits the story. Given that this is the first time I’ve “regularly” picked up this title I have no real comparison–so really, the art now is defining for me what the art “should be” for Spawn. No complaints as such there.

There’s something about this series–it’s like somewhat following a tv series. It’s far from being my favorite, but it quickly gets so I recognize (visually) characters and while I watch it can follow along, but am not so immersed as to be able to REALLY tell someone else what’s going on. The story is not entirely engaging at this point–and it’s lost the immediate impact of “first! issue! of a new direction!” that #185 had. However, like one of those tv series, I’m just interested enough to follow along. And given this issue’s final page, I want to see what happens next issue.

Not a bad issue, though, all told. While it’s nice to see that the numbering was NOT reset to #1 (as surely would have been done at a certain other publisher if there was the change this run has already wrought), I still come at this as being “#4” of an all-new current series. Worth getting if you like Portacio’s art or McFarlane’s writing, or just simply feel like checking out this long-running series without having to have slogged through 184 issues’ prior content.

Story: 7/10
Art: 7.5/10
Whole: 7/10

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