There is something so expressive by just a thin line. It curves, it bends, it straightens, it can fold upon itself, stretch to dizzying lengths, and a whole lot more. Matt Howarth, in his stab at the ninja turtles pulls in an expressive mastery of line and texture that unveils the dominance of black and white comics over color. There is just something so fascinating of the use of simple lines, and Howarth shows that they can be used in quite an array of beauty.
Now, this is a great, glowing way to kick off a review. However, keep in mind that this is only handling the art side of things.
The writing isn’t terrible, but it is quite simple. Nevertheless, it achieves its goal of entertainment and cracks a smile here and there. I suppose this is mostly in the few meta-textual moments (comic book characters dreaming they are in a comic, comic book characters who were in a comic that was turned into a tv show that became popular so they could no longer function in the “real” world in a comic, etc.) which garner a few witty lines. Overall, it’s a by-the-books dream comic. We peek into each turtles’ dream and show that they strangely have some control over it. The dreams are fanciful or fairly realistic, but each one of them (Leonardo’s being the weakest) gives an insight to the characters.
In a comic book world filled with concerns about plot, it is nice to revisit a comic that has a simple plot but funnels that plot through character development. Plus, after reading Dwayne McDuffie’s (RIP as of a few days ago) piece on Continuity in comics which argues that comics should be more accessible by being about the fun again rather than the need to read the last 5-10 issues to understand the one you’re reading now (I’m looking at you Green Lantern). Each issue should be fun and be that “Great Jumping On Point” comic out there. And, this one fulfills that.
Returning to the art… there is something so fantastic about it. It revels in line strength and obsessive cross-hatching. The art takes advantage of the dream world but does not exploit it. The world is a real world in the form of a dream. Sure, there are exaggerations (mostly for comic effect), but these work with the story rather than against it. The art is impressive, and there’s really no other way to convey it.
Overall, this is a good book that takes a few jabs for jokes to great effect. It’s accessible for both the new reader and the old. And, best of all, it’s fun.