By: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz (story), Ross Campbell (art), Ronda Pattison (colors)
The Story: Just what we need after a deadly ninja attack—a nice getaway to the Hamptons.
The Review: Even though this version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a little quicker to draw blood than any version that I remember, at the end of the day, these are truly peaceful characters at heart. Their ninja skills are generally applied as a protective measure, not out of malice—well, except for Raphael perhaps—and although they may have to up the violence to match that of their opponents, this is the exception, not the rule.
So it stands to reason that after the events of City Fall, the whole Turtle gang would need some time to rest, recuperate, and regain their spirits. As an epilogue, there isn’t a whole lot of plotting going on in the issue, and even the character work is pretty limited. This issue is purely emphasizing the toll the previous arc has taken on the gang, most of which centers on Leo, who remains jumpy around his brothers and downright hostile towards Splinter, with whom he keeps at a first-name distance.
If anything, this issue is mostly for the benefit of April, who was relegated to a relatively small supporting role within City Fall and has had a fairly limited part in the series as a whole. Now that the action has died down, we have a rare opportunity to explore her background in a way previous arcs didn’t allow. In contrast to Casey and the Turtles, April has the most stable family situation, though not without its own complications. Her father’s struggles post-stroke gives her just enough pathos to avoid being a happy-go-lucky archetype, and his own position within Stockgen will apparently be the springboard for the title’s next storyline.
In the meantime, we do get a couple important developments. One is the confirmation of Casey and April’s relationship. This isn’t surprising news, exactly, and it’s tempered by the fact that the two are planning to take things slow, but that they apparently made that kind of decision at all is a surprise. Granted, their romance picked up during a fairly hectic period of the Turtles’ lives, which probably wasn’t a totally appropriate place for Casey and April to work out their details of their coupling. Still, it seems a bit odd that Eastman-Curnow-Waltz would reveal how much the relationship has progressed after the fact.
The second development is the retuning of Apolex’s position within the series. I should say right off the bat that I never picked up the Apolex-centric one-shot, so pardon my gaps of information, if any. But frankly, Apolex has never been made out as a very important or interesting character, so it’s puzzling to suddenly have so much of the spotlight on her lately. Even though this issue officially severs her ties to the Foot, it doesn’t quite allow her into the Turtles’ inner circle either, which I approve. Frankly, I’d be just fine with seeing Apolex take off to make her own life elsewhere, returning for the occasional guest spot.
Campbell’s art is a little bit too cutesy, even for the gentler world of the TMNT, but on the other hand, it’s only because this is the TMNT that Campbell’s art still works very well. You’d be forgiven if you opened this issue and initially thought you’d stumbled onto the all-ages version of the TMNT; there’s a hyper-rounded quality to the lines that makes the Turtles seem even sweeter than usual, not to mention the extra fuzziness Campbell gives to Apolex. But perhaps that’s just reflective of the Turtles themselves. After all, on the right trigger, Campbell will suddenly reveal an edge to his art that’s downright vicious, just like Raphael’s menacing rage when Apolex appears. Pattison’s colors are a consistent treasure for this series, giving it a uniformity that it would otherwise lack, given its revolving door of artists.
Conclusion: An appropriately low-key issue that doesn’t quite take advantage of the downtime to explore new territory or material, but is pleasant and digestible nonetheless.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: - Okay, April—it’s no longer the eighties or early nineties. It’s really time to lose the side ponytail.
– Dear Lord, I love Splinter so much. His expression after Leo calls him by his first name and stomps away just breaks your heart. And then seeing him sleeping on the floor, his broken leg propped on a couple pillows—gah! Tears!