Remember when I said I couldn’t find these issues? Ignore that, I had forgotten that Jason at Downtown Comics is simply made of awesome.
The IDW Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series is only at issue #7 and already has two offshoot miniseries totaling five issues between the both of them. While it seems odd that the main series and the spin-offs have almost the same amount of issues, I’d take 100 issues like this over anything the regular series have dealt out yet. For the first time in a very, very long time I feel like I’m reading Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles again.
Tristan Jones is mostly to thank for this. He’s a veteran TMNT writer and I’m glad IDW called him in. I’m hoping they keep the lines of communication open between themselves and the old creative staff… maybe even finish up some unresolved storylines from past series’… hint hint…
Anyway, the issue at large. This is only IDW’s second company-wide crossover, and they know how to do it right. Marvel and DC could really learn a lot from these guys. Every tie-in is it’s own complete story. And they are very well-told stories, as mentioned above. Before reading this I had no interest in picking up the IDW Transformers series or 30 Days of Night… but I think I’m actually going to get their Infestation 2 tie-ins. Who knows? Maybe I’ll like those and start reading the main series of each as well. That’s what these types of events are supposed to do. It’s what Secret Wars and Atlantis Attacks did back in the day. At some point the big-names forgot how to.
The art by Mark Torres is… good. I was originally thinking amazing. I was reading the first few pages and going “Wow, they should have this guy on the main series…” then on page 4, panel 1, something weird happened. Donatello’s hand looked all misshapen, and his left arm just… wasn’t there. I noticed throughout the issue that anytime Torres had to draw a close-up of a Turtle hand with fingers spread it looked like something I made on MS Paint when I was ten. I don’t mean to bash too much. Every artist has their weak points… but come on man, it’s TMNT. They only have three fingers and there are a gazillion reference photos from their various incarnations you could have looked up. Try.
I still think he should be on the main book.
The story itself is simple but awesome. Lovecraftian demons are making their way into our world (in this case Shub Niggurath) and it’s down in the sewers. The Turtles have a genuine reason to investigate: the attention is bringing people down into the sewers that may discover them. They stumble on creepy caves, a cult mystery, and lots of gory action, all narrated by Donatello. Aside from a throwaway reference to Old Hob, this issue could have been placed almost anywhere in any Turtles timeline, and that’s the way I like it. I respect IDW for putting their own stamp of the franchise, but this type of tale is what really gets me excited as a reader. The mood and pace reminded me of a Mirage vol1 story called “Juliet’s Revenge” in a very good way.
Doesn’t hurt that I’m a horror author. This is right up my alley ;).
If I was rating these, this would rate extremely high.