IDW adds yet another TMNT book to the stands, proving we still have not reached the point where we’re sick of the four green ninjas.
One of the common complaints about the comic
industry is continuity, whether its too much or too little but its often focused on the former. Publishers rely so much on readers having a working knowledge of 20-30 years of previous material that others lacking that knowledge can’t enjoy the story they’re reading in the moment. Within a few years (roughly five if my math is right), IDW has built a line of TMNT comics that’s constantly branching off and connecting back effortlessly while still fitting into a single main book. None of the other books feel too similar to the main title, or too radically different that they don’t make sense. It’s with that knowledge that a second book would seem superfluous, except that with five years of continuity to expand on why not have a second ongoing?
This issue presumes that anyone picking it up knows about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, their relationship with April O’Neil and likely what occurred in the Mutanimals mini.April and the TMNT want to see what Baxter Stockman is up to, trying to stay ahead of all the enemies they’ve piled up since taking over the Foot Clan. What they don’t suspect is that they’re going to gain two new enemies in the forms of Madame Null and Agent Bishop.
On art, Couceiro maintains the artist variety and excellence that these books have received for five years past. His work has a passing resemblance to the animated shows, but also feels like a natural continuation of other artists who left their marks on the TMNT like Bates and Santuoloco. Ronda Pattison’s colors not only help the Turtles stand out in their masks but also their skin tones which is always a nice touch. Her palette is full of bright colors; reds, greens and oranges, contrasting with darker and muddier hues. It plays up the mundane vs the fantastical in the book very well.
There’s a secondary tale involving Leonardo on patrol and fighting a Foot ambush, showing how tough writers have of writing someone who’s not particularly funny or aggressively independent so they make him both. It’s not bad but a jarring look at the leader who always plays by the book. Seeing Sienkiewicz is always a treat, although here he really seems to be channeling Kevin Eastman’s style in a way that conflicts me.
Overall, the issue earns its price tag and is a welcome addition to the main narrative in its sister title. It requires more from the reader to enjoy, but for those who have been here from the beginning its well worth it.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent