Okay, my gut reaction to this issue, I have to say off the top, is good. Judging just the issue itself, from start to finish, I think it is a great tale. It starts off with April waking up from passing out at the end of last issue, having just seen the Turtles in their mutant forms for the first time (in this universe she knew them as normal turtles… go figure). They explain their origin and kind of bring each other up to speed, and then they head out and look for Master Splinter, who has been missing since early last issue.
Having said that I enjoy this issue, there does in it lie a problem that just kind of irks me. It has to do with the chronology of the events again, largely regarding April and Leonardo.
See, the last issue numerically was #8, but the last issue chronologically was Leonardo Micro-Series #4. Now up until this point with the Micro-Series (and the Infestation 2 mini) the staff has been pretty good about keeping things separate… no longer. #8 continues both directly into TMNT #9 and Leonardo #4, making it very hard to figure out what is happening. While it’s clear that Leonardo #4 takes place between this issue and last, that doesn’t necessarily make it make sense.
See, last issue ended with the Turtles running off to find Splinter, leaving April and Casey in the lair. The Leonardo issue told what Leonardo did after leaving the lair… and I guessed that this issue would show what the other three were doing. Because that makes narrative sense and also allows the story to continue seamlessly from one issue to the next. That’s not what they did. In this issue they’re all at home as though they never left, and now Leonardo’s battle with the foot is talked about like it happened some time ago, though he still has bruises from it.
The problem is April. The issue starts with this page of her working through everything the Turtles have just told her, which is a great narrative device. Duncan also does a great job on the art. We then cut to the Turtles. It’s played as though she just feinted. But she didn’t. At least a few hours (I assume) have passed, long enough for the events of Leonardo #4 to take place. Was April knocked out for hours?
Wait, no. She was shown up and around in Leonardo #4. That could be an art goof, but I honestly don’t want to level any more issues onto Ross Campbell, because he’s a great artist and… frankly, he read my comments on Leonardo and if I say anything about him regarding a book he didn’t even draw, I’m worried he’ll come after me with a knife (just kidding). 😉
I think it was hard for the writer(s) to fit April into the grand scheme of things.
Again, nothing wrong with this issue. But I think when it’s all collected together in the trade you’ll see: the narrative doesn’t flow quite right between issues.
Anyway, this is the story every Turtles fan is familiar with: Splinter goes missing! It’s must-read Ninja Turtles. And beyond that: special introduction this issue:
Hell yes. About time.