Gut Reaction: IDW Leonardo Micro-Series #4

IDW Leonardo Micro-Series #4
IDW Leonardo Micro-Series #4

I literally just finished this issue after picking it up at Downtown Comics. And I’m conflicted about it. There’s a certain “logic of good taste” that says I shouldn’t compare this to the original, but it’s hard. This is one of the iconic Turtle stories, seen in the original Mirage series, the first movie, the 4Kids 2003 Turtles cartoon and now again here, so it’s hard not to be biased. Also, I only recently read the original story, so it’s awesomeness is still fresh in my mind.

The story takes place right after TMNT #8, and (if I’m right), the Turtles will break into 2 stories, one of which was told here with Leonardo and the other three may be the focus of TMNT #9. And that’s fine.

Honestly, everything’s fine with this issue… except the dialog. Partly in the fact that it exists and partly in the fact that it’s not very well written.

See, in the original Leonardo micro-series there was no talking. No dialog of any kind… not even sound effects, if I’m not mistaken. In this issue the Foot Soldiers never speak… but Leonardo keeps trying to unsuccessfully interrogate them. This one-sided conversation gets clumsy fast. There’s also Leonardo’s internal monolog.

I’d like to go through in photoshop and remove all the dialog, except the one super-ninja (presumably Shredder)’s line from the end: “I am… unimpressed.”

IDW Shredder
IDW Shredder making his first appearance, handing Leonardo his tail?

I think if all the dialog got removed and the images were allowed to speak for themselves, things would be a lot stronger. As it is, it feels like Eastman and Laird had respect for their audience back in the day: they knew their art and story were good enough that the readers would be able to pick up what they were putting down. Brian Lynch and Ross Campbell don’t seem to think their layouts can tell the story. I’m not sure if it’s that they’re nervous about their art or story, or if it’s just they don’t have the same level of respect for us as PL and KE did, but I’m here to let them know: it’s okay guys. We would have gotten it.

Speaking on Ross Campbell’s art: I did enjoy it. Mostly. There were a few moments when his Turtles looked more like stuffed toy versions of the Turtles, like here:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Ragdoll (TMNR)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Ragdoll (TMNR)

Anyway, other than that things are fairly awesome. I can’t complain too much: it’s a great comic. Although nothing can compare to the original, this issue fits in with the new regime IDW has going for it.

Never Look Back
Matthew LeDrew


7 Comments Add yours

  1. mooncalfe says:

    this is Ross Campbell, artist on the Leo book! thanks so much for the review. usually i don’t make a habit of commenting on people’s reviews of my work, it usually feels unprofessional i guess, and people should just be able to write their opinions without the creator butting in!

    but here i am anyway! 😀 i felt compelled to speak up because of the kind of personal slight you level at me, speculating perhaps i don’t respect my audience or trust them to understand what i’m putting in front of them. i can’t speak for Brian, and i realize this probably means nothing since it’s just words and such an abstract thing, but i absolutely trust and respect my readers. i don’t know if you’re familiar with my other work, but i do a lot of silent/wordless comics and comics where i don’t spell everything out for people, so i would have LOVED to have done a totally silent TMNT issue like the original Mirage Leo issue which is pretty much unbeatable perfection. i like Brian’s work and i love what he did with this issue, particularly Leo’s internal monologue which i found pretty classy, and i’m not trying to like.. deflect the “blame” onto him because he’s the writer, but i guess i took this personally and i wanted to say that as the artist i wasn’t in charge of that stuff. i’d kill for an all-silent, even “artsy” Turtles issue. maybe someday.

    but anyway, i feel dumb butting in on your blog but i felt i had to say something! XD. thanks again for the review. i did some work for Mirage years ago but nothing as big as this Leo issue which was a dream come true for me, so i’m really happy that overall you liked my stuff on it.


    1. No problem! Despite the way it sounds I thought the art was a lot of fun! Any future Turtle work for you coming up?


    2. Maybe I should have been more clear in the post. Re: the “respect” comment. What I meant to say is that there’s more of a trend nowadays to spell things out rather than let things happen in the story: we can’t just see a cop pick up evidence, we’ve got to have it explained to us why it’s relevant. Its kind of a show-don’t-tell thing.

      One good thing: if you do put your thumb over the word balloons and let the art speak for itself, the story still flows. Even the part with the homeless lady. So kudos there! 🙂 🙂 🙂


  2. mooncalfe says:

    thanks, man! i know what you mean, though, i love silent comics, i wish there were more and i wonder if a lot of writers are afraid of letting something be wordless? like maybe the thought occurs to them but they push it away because you don’t see that technique often, especially in genre comics like this.

    like i said i do love with Brian did with it, i like how the tone of Leo’s dialogue and inner monologue shifts, it starts out kind of light and then turns into him realizing he’s screwed, but i think the Leo issue totally still works wordless, i agree (not to pat myself on the back or anything, heh). it would’ve been pretty powerful, i think. but i wonder if the powers-that-be would’ve let us get away with something less “commercial” like that, things are different now that Mirage isn’t in control anymore. :

    anyway, sorry again for barging onto your blog here, i swear i don’t usually do this but i think even professionals should get to be unprofessional sometimes. 😀

    i’m dying for some more TMNT work but it’s really tough with my schedule, i’m on a monthly book at Image (Glory) and i also have solo creator-owned projects, so it’s hard. i have a variant cover coming up, that’s it for now, but keep your fingers crossed for me!

    thanks so much again!


    1. No apologies nessesary!

      By the way: a friend / college of mine owns Ink’d Well Comics and does a charity book where all proceeds go to children in need… His last book built a Girls School in Kenya!

      He’s Indie, so if you wanted to look him up and contribute (it’s all contributed work) I’m sure he’d love it! 🙂

      It’s a good cause! No pressure!!! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s