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TMNT: Mutanimals #2 [Review]

mutanimals002Story: Paul Allor
Art: Andy Kuhn
Colors: Nick Filardi
Letters: Shawn Lee and Tom Long
Cover: Andy Kuhn, Nick Filardi
Edits: Bobby Curnow
Published by: IDW
Cover Date: March 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

While Slash and Hob scope out the Null corporation and find heightened security, Mondo and Herman have some downtime. Eventually their new friend–Mutagen Man–joins them, and as the group bonds, Mondo dubs Mutagen Man “Seymour Guts” since he doesn’t have a real name. Hob learns the location of the other mutants–he and Slash return for the rest of the group and launch an assault to save them. Unfortunately, this doesn’t go as well as hoped, which reverses the equation–instead of a group going in to save two, we’re left with two to save a group.

An earlier reference in the main TMNT book to “mutant animals” seemed a nice little reference to the classic Archie-published continuity, expanded and heightened by the use of the actual term “mutanimals.” Getting a mini-series for this “new” version of the characters has been a huge treat (at least conceptually). This issue, though–like the “mutant animals” reference–gives us a familiar adjective that for me totally made the whole issue worthwhile.

In the story, though we see the two mutants Hob set out to rescue, we’re not given the names. One looks like it COULD be a character I’m hoping for, but with other alterations for the current continuity as well as possible ownership things, I’m honestly not sure if we COULD see Man Ray or Ray Fillet in this series…same for Jagwar and Dreadmon or Wingnut and Screwloose.

So Mondo (Gecko) is the sole representative of that group of characters for me, and this “contemporary version” of the Mutanimals is a far cry from what I’d prefer–though the story itself is interesting and I definitely welcome continuation and expansion of the IDW TMNT-verse beyond just a single issue of the main title each month.

I don’t like that this is only a 4-issue arc…but then, that’s the “standard” and somewhat pigeon-holes stuff, making for shorter stories that maybe COULD be longer or have more ongoing plot threads/subplots. That said, this puts us to the halfway point, and we do meet the head of the Null corporation…something I’d feared would not happen at all or at least not within this series (or not til some epilogue or final-issue reveal).

While I definitely appreciate the notion of adding female characters to the TMNT-verse and recognize that named major female characters are quite rare historically in the property…I’m not a fan of this sort of changeup. Still, that’s a gut reaction and other than basically meeting the character and seeing what she does in this issue, we have no idea the actual origin and backstory and all that…and with two issues to go there’s still plenty of room for things to be developed and change my mind or clarify what I might be mis-assuming.

Visually I’m not terribly impressed with the issue…but as with the turtles themselves, it seems that one constant is the abundance of different visual depictions of the characters, and not all are necessarily going to be fully to my personal preferences. The art certainly gets across everything going on and I’m not left wondering at the action or any wonky anatomy or weird stuff like that.

I definitely enjoy seeing more of Hob and that while the character may be an antagonist to the turtles, he’s not some out and out villain…he’s like a Magneto of sorts, and that works well for me. I’m not used to a “smart” Slash nor a lack of the character seeking his palm tree…but I’m liking this take on the character.

I’m particularly eager to get the next issue to find out more about the two new mutants…and I’m quite curious at the future of this version of the Mutagen Man. I’d prefer the classics–Man Ray, Mondo, Wingnut and Screwloose, Jagwar, and Dreadmon–but given sufficent story space and development I could definitely see enjoying this new group and their dynamics quite well.

While one may not really have a lot of context for these non-TMNT mutant characters IN the TMNT universe without having read the main TMNT book, this does seem like it works well enough as its own thing as much as any “spin-off” or “tie-in” might. As a second issue, I’d certainly counsel grabbing the first…but unless you’re specifically seeking out the single issues and keeping up on a month-to-month basis that way, you’re just as well off waiting for the inevitable collected volume and get the whole story in one go. If you’re a fan of IDW‘s TMNT continuity, this is certainly a well worthwhile read.

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The Adjective comes into play, behind the cut:

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW) #44 [Review]

teenagemutantninjaturtlesidw044Attack on Technodrome (part four)

Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Art: Cory Smith
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Shawn Lee
Cover: Cory Smith, Ronda Pattison
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Published by: IDW
Cover Date: March 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

It’s been a few months since I’ve covered an issue of this title–I think it was the end of the previous arc. Here we are at the end of the next arc–already! Though we’ve had Krang since the earliest issues, this arc and issue is where the “long arc” of stuff pays off.

The Leo, Raph, and Mikey tangle with some of Baxter’s flyborgs, before the scientist recalls them to make his escape…which leaves them free to get the mousers away from the Fugitoid…though this does not go over well with Krang. Meanwhile, Bebop and Rocksteady have been ordered to kill Donatello, and take great pleasure taking on the turtle and Metalhead. While the other turtles face Krang directly, Splinter is aided against Karai by Alopex and Nobody. Back on Burnow Island, Shredder’s mutants fail to help him, and escape…not realizing Baxter has designs on an alliance with their (probably now former) master. The turtles and Fugitoid end Krang’s plans for the Earth though they’re unable to prevent the island from being terraformed. The legacy of their battle is a space on Earth that can be a haven to surviving Utroms. While Honeycutt returns to Dimension X to see Krang answers for his crimes…the turtles return home to find that everyone was too late to save their brother.

Even long as the above summary is…it hardly does justice to the feeling I had reading this issue. I was expecting something big–I may have seen something hinting at a major event, or might’ve just felt like there’d “have to” be something big given all the “buildup” to the Technodrome activating and that it’d be a letdown if “all” that happened was that the turtles defeated Krang with no other lasting repercussions.

The art and writing together made for quite a scene between Bebop and Rocksteady vs. Donatello…and I honestly felt a bit sick reading it, at seeing Donnie take such an outright beating from the two. Gone are the overblown words and threats and no-one-actually-gets-hurt notion of the turtles facing the supposedly-dangerous lunkheads as we got throughout the ’80s/’90s animated series. Here, as I turned the pages I had a mental flash to Batman: A Death in the Family…exacerbated by the panel of Rocksteady’s hammer-swing quite looking like a crowbar. And though we don’t get detail, we get enough–the crack and crunch on the shell, and my realizion that I’d just been contemplating before that I’d never really read any TMNT story with any of the turtles truly having their shell damaged. They’ll be shown with scratches or cuts and such but the shell is generally shown deflecting a sword blade or some other object…but they’re not superhuman or invulnerable.

And we’re shown just enough to SEE that yeah…this is bad. VERY bad. Of course, that itself is made worse by the two talking over what they’d just done, remarking on the damage and what it looks like…definitely solidifying that it wasn’t just some “visual sound effect” and not just some visual angle.

And the end of the issue certainly suggests that the turtle family has been truly reduced by one…and yet no one comes out and says the “d-word” here, and I’m reminded of a key scene in the original Eastman/Laird series when Leo’d been horribly beaten by the foot and his near-lifeless body thrown through a window to the floor amidst the rest of the turtles. While mentally processing as I read the rest of the issue, I’d also thought immediately of the Image TMNT series, in which Donatello wound up a cyborg after a horrific accident all but killed him…the specifics remain a blind spot in my TMNT knowledge but given how much this series has drawn from prior incarnations of the property, I certainly have some expectation of where things can go from here…it’ll be the details and pace that are gonna hold my attention in a big way.

The immediacy of the issue–it’s the current issue as of this writing; it just came out this week; there’ve been no other new TMNT issues SINCE–certainly lends to a sense of importance by itself. Yet, I do truly think that in the long run, this may well be a key, defining issue in the series as well as moment for all the characters…something that’ll be referenced and relevant and to some degree inform the heart of the characters and the series for a good long time.

There’s not much “context” given, this is the fourth chapter of a four-part story, so it’s not particularly a jumping-on point. I certainly recommend the series, whether you backtrack to #41 and the start of this arc or pick up the entire series in collected format. Though I hurt for the characters, look forward to seeing how they get through, this remains one of my favorite comics being published currently by any company, and just about the longest I’ve kept up with any single series consistently on a monthly basis for such an extended time since the late-1990s.

While not the foundation/building blocks of the property, in terms of story quality, development, longevity, consistency, and quality…this is probably my favorite TMNT series, period…and after this issue I am all the more eager to see what comes, and even at the $3.99 price point, would likely enjoy weekly issues as long as the quality was maintained.

[ “The Scene” behind the cut. ]


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The Weekly Haul – Week of March 18, 2015

While not the largest week, this was certainly a largER week than I’d “prefer” these days for new comics.

weekly_haul_20150318a

I believe there are only two issues left of the Solar series to finish out…and only a couple more weeks on the DC Weeklies.

I “recognized” Secret Identities from enjoying the first issue last month, and with a handful of other #1s was itching to try something “new” for the sake of something “new.” I opted for Red One over Chrononauts (which was going to be my first choice) or even both.

There were a bunch of covers for Chrononauts…which, to me, means they have no need of me to support the title because frankly, they expect people out there to buy multiple copies, which will MORE THAN cover me purchasing #1. (Or by extension, #2 or #3 or #4….).

I flat-out did not buy to try the first issue of what was otherwise an interesting enough concept and title because I refuse to support some random title sporting so MANY VARIANT COVERS. I was going to buy it, until I noticed all the variants.

I’m also on the hunt for Warlord of Mars #0, and checked a couple comic shops for DC Comics Presents #31 and Nightwing (1990s) #30 with no luck, my interest in the latter two up thanks to listening to a podcast this morning; the WoM issue thanks to listening last week to an interview with writer Matt Brady.

I’ll likely resort to eBay or such this weekend on that one once I’ve checked a final shop.

Funko TMNT Blind Box Minis

I’m still missing Bebop, Splinter, and Casey Jones from this line of the Funko minis…I’m not really interested in buying more of the boxes blindly due to the odds of “just” getting a duplicate (the only one I wouldn’t mind getting duplicates of would be the Foot Soldier).

tmnt_blind_box_minis_01

I really like the four turtles…especially as these are so much more expressive than the full-size Pop line.

tmnt_blind_box_minis_02

I didn’t like the Foot Soldier at first…but when I wound up with a second one and realized how great they look flanking Shredder, I decided I do like ‘em. And I far prefer this Shredder to the classic action figure!

tmnt_blind_box_minis_03

While I’d love the Krang having an actual piece as Krang himself (that’s just a sticker on the gut), I do like the size/bulk of the figure. Rocksteady looks smaller here than he actually is, and is a good size himself…all of these are.

For the most part, I’ve had little interest in any full “wave” of Funko figures…but this TMNT one is a definite exception as yet again, the TMNT prove a weakness for me.

TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures #9

tmntadventures009

Full Post at TMNT Revisited
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #9

TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures #8

tmntadventures008

Full Post at TMNT Revisited
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #8

The Mighty Mutanimals Promo Ads from 1991

Twenty-four years ago, after a number of characters were introduced in the pages of the Mirage-created/Archie-published Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, a group of mutant animal characters were put together as a group…

mighty_mutanimals_promo_01_450x689

We had several ads leading up to the group, as the group was to be given its own mini-series, a spin-off from the main TMNT Adventures title…

mighty_mutanimals_promo_03_450x689

The series was the “payoff” of a bunch of “mutant of the month” stories as well as following up on a plot element from earlier in the series…

mighty_mutanimals_promo_02_450x689

Krang had made a deal with Maligna, an alien bug queen from his own Dimension X to give her the Earth. When he was defeated, she still wanted the planet, and it fell to a group of mutant animals to stop the invasion.

While I know there is a new Mutanimals mini-series about to start from IDW, it has more than two decades of expectation to live up to. While I’ve been used to the turtles themselves being reinterpreted numerous ways, for the most part there’s only been one single incarnation of the Mutanimals, so the new stuff (for me) will be heavily compared to the “classic” stuff.

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