The coloring on this issue is a lot better than the last. It compliments the artwork and works perfectly in every panel except the ones shrouded completely in darkness, when the comics’s black-and-white roots become apparent.
The story itself is, of course, seminal. This is the first appearance of April, an as such this story has been adapted in almost every form of media, as April has been the only “constant” human ally of the Turtles.
I love how the Turtles are brought in. The story really focuses on April up until the Turtles save her from the Mousers, and that’s good. When you have the opportunity to focus on a character new to an abnormal situation, do it. It’s very helpful to new readers and draws old readers into the new character. (Not that there were old readers at this point).
We also start fleshing out the Turtles. Right from the double-splash near the start, we have Donatello working on a circuit board and Leonardo reading, as well as Mike goofing off and Raph sparring. I wonder what it would have been like to read this for the first time, not knowing that these tiny things were actually character developments and traits. I can’t help but have the Fred Wolf theme in my head when I look at this panel.
The story itself is a rather bland city-domination / glory of thievery plot. Baxter really does just do evil here because he thinks it’s fun, which is fairly weak characterization. The Mirage series (at least the first volume) really treated him the worst.
There’s also a deux ex machina ending with April and Donatello fighting to reprogram the Mousers. It’s predictable, and I find myself just praying for it to end in the last few pages.
I wonder: would Don be the “tech” Turtle if they hadn’t needed a technical response in this issue? The world may never know.
Overall it’s a great and important issue, but not a well paced one.
By the way, Baxter at one point threatens to destroy the World Trade Center. I’m honestly surprised IDW didn’t edit that, and pleasantly so. I’m not a fan of sanitizing things that happened before 2001, though I understand it.