My gut reaction to IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #7… My gut reaction… My gut reaction was that it was awesome. Totally and completely awesome. In fact, this was the first issue of the series to date that I can say I was 100% satisfied with. Maybe 99%. But I’m rounding up.
I’m finally really starting to understand Eastman and Waltz’s point of view on this series, as well as IDWs. Because I’ve been seeing it all along as an update on the Mirage comics that started it all, and it isn’t one. It was never intended to be one. Which I think is smart, because there really is no need to update the Mirage books. They read fine even to this day (and yes, at some point I’m going to be reviewing them. One thing at a time). No, this series is updating the Fred Wolf cartoon by which most of us were introduced to the franchise, and it comes across very clear in this issue, because there are a lot of Wolf-isms present within.
The issue starts off on the planet Neutrino, which is a little but of a WTF moment right off the bat. One reason is because the name harkens back to the fun-loving teens from the first story arc of the Wolf TMNT series. The other is simply that every part of the series has taken place on-world to this point, so it was a bit of a shock.
Then we get to see Krang and his Stone Warriors, more revolutionary elements for the Fred Wolf cartoon. They use a transporter (that resembles a Stargate) to go back and forth from their world to Earth, which made me remember the transporter that sucked the Technodrome into Dimension X at the end of that same first TMNT story in the good old days. All cool stuff. Krang looks scary as hell, and they do a good job of building up to the reveal of his little brainy self.
More good stuff is the art and writing are fantastic for this issue. Especially the art. I know I’ve ragged on the art a lot these past few “Gut Reaction” posts, but it seems like Duncan has really found his mark at this point… he still can’t quite draw humans though. But he’s getting better, and the human characters don’t appear quite as much in this issue, so it’s cool.
The action is great, the aside story with Mike and Raphael is great, and that last splash page with Leonardo facing off against the Mousers alone (spoilers!) was great. Duncan can really get the Turtles’ expressions perfectly.
More good stuff: the reincarnation background is explored a little, but through debate between Leo and Don. Don doesn’t believe it as they can’t remember these “past lives,” wanting a scientific explanation that meshes with his character. Leonardo, however, intimates that he can almost remember his mother. There’s a great bit of character development here, and it gives a Leo a reason to be the most devout ninjitsu master we all know he’s going to become. it’s also revealed that their “past lives” were in feudal Japan. That may have been obvious to people familiar with the era and clothing seen in the flashbacks in issue #5, but I needed it spelled out to me.
I liked that Don didn’t quite by it. It’s always good to have characters that speak for the readers, and right now some readers are on board with Don and some are on board with Leo. As long as both are represented, you can have a good story that doesn’t alienate anybody.
I also liked the use of the *, referencing a caption box where the editor says “as seen in issue #5.” I haven’t seen that in a comic in ages, and I think i missed it. IDW is really bringing back the golden age of comics, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more and more people get turned on to them if they don’t start outselling Marvel or DC.
Old Hob didn’t die last issue, but I find I’m okay with it. Because I kind of understand why he’s there now, and it becomes obvious in this issue. He’s the Shredder… no, not really. But if you look back at the Fred Wolf cartoon, the Shredder wasn’t the badass villain he was in the 4Kids series or the comics. He was an idiot who showed up every episode, had some ridiculous scheme to give the Turtles crap, and then tried again the next time… just like Old Hob. I think they split the Shredder in two so we could have both. Old Hob is the comedy relief Shredder, meaning that when we get the real one he will be badass. So I’m now fine with Old Hob.
So what was the 99% comment about earlier? Michelangelo has nunchucks again. Am I crazy? Did they not say in issue #5 that he wasn’t getting them yet? Please, someone else who has read it let me know and tell me if I’m crazy.
One last bit of awesome: here’s Dan Duncan’s version of Krang:
Sweet Lord, that’s actually a little scary.
Never Look Back