By: Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz (story), Dan Duncan (art), Ronda Pattison (colors)
The Story: Who says ninja have to play fair?
The Review: If you read my review last month, you already know I have a limited familiarity with the Turtles. Somehow, rewatching those gnarly cartoons over and over, it never occurred to me that Master Splinter and the Turtles were family. I guess I was too distracted by the creepy pink tentacles of Krang undulating from the ab-window of his mecha-body. But then, I was six years old at the time, and thus quite stupid and rather prone to distraction—still am, frankly.
Eastman-Waltz have kept the family bonds among our mutant heroes front and center throughout this series, and dang if it isn’t my favorite part of the whole run. Mainstream comics nowadays seem to be all about breaking up relationships, not building them, whether it be husbands and wives, best friends, or whole teams. Heck, the X-Men have a complete internal meltdown two or three times a year.
All this tends to harden one’s heart against the softer emotions, but surely you can’t resist the warm and fuzzy feeling of seeing the affection between the Turtles and Splinter. By now, it hardly even registers how weird it is for a quartet of overgrown reptiles to refer to a gi-wearing rat as their “old man.” Mostly, you just enjoy their overwhelming concern for each other. In the midst of battle with the Foot Clan, Donatello asks Splinter, “Father? Can you walk?”
Splinter’s response is humble and apologetic. “I… I do not think so, my son. My body is…”
Donnie: “Mikey, we’re gonna have to carry him!”
It’s the sweet, small moments like this which make keep the title close to your heart. Here, pals stick with each other through thick and thin—even if they have to wield hockey sticks and baseball bats against ninjas to do it. Roughnecks come to the rescue out of honor-debts. And an issue can end on with a well-earned victory, tears of gratitude, and smiles all around, turtles, rats, and humans alike.
Aside from that, TMNT sets out simply to tell an entertaining story, and it does just that. The fight sequences are always well-done, giving everybody something to do, whether they bear ninja gear or not. Shredder and his goons will make formidable long-term enemies for our heroes, and Krang only slightly less so. I like Krang’s professional calm in the face of setbacks, and his villainy will certainly give the Turtles bigger challenges to come.
Duncan is a big fan of the corner ground shot, which always manages to make any panel look that much more dynamic and interesting. His radical angles keep the issue from looking too much like a cartoon screen-capped on paper, and his rough shadows and hatching intensify the characters’ movements so you can see the speed and impact of their attacks. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that this is some of the best kung fu artwork of any title.
Conclusion: Winning and enjoyable, if only for its sheer exuberance, and full of heart, too.
- Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: - An April-Casey-Angel triangle, eh? Well, at least Eastman-Waltz take it slow, which I always appreciate if you’re gonna force a romantic subplot in there.
- Shredder is pretty easy to hate. Yeah, send a whole army after your opponent first, then brag about beating him later. You’re a champion!
Filed under: IDW, Reviews Tagged: | April O'Neil, Baxter Stockman, Casey Jones, Dan Duncan, Donatello, Hob, IDW, IDW Publishing, Kevin Eastman, Krang, Leonardo, Master Splinter, Michelangelo, Raphael, Ronda Pattison, Shredder, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #12, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #12 review, TMNT, Tom Waltz