If anyone even closely knows me, they have probably experienced my incredible love for the Ninja Turtles. Particularly, I’m a fan of the older comics. I have artwork from Jim Lawson, Peter Laird, Michael Dooney, Dan Berger and others hanging up in my tiny, college-living room, I have read nearly every TMNT book that has come out (excusing the Archie series) – I own almost all of them. So, a new Ninja Turtles series has come out, and boy was I excited.
IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles satisfies the reader. It’s a mixture of the new and the old with many easter eggs and cute little additions thrown in here and there for the devoted reader (me) to catch. Dan Duncan’s art is energetic despite the lack of backgrounds and you get the feel for the characters right off the bat. The telling scene when April O’Neil names the turtles (pre-mutation) really hits home and I enjoyed it.
The comic dives right into the action as the Turtles face off against a human-like cat minus one of their own, Raphael. They fight and we learn their origins. At the end, we learn that Raphael is wandering the streets (for what reason is still unclear) but still stands up for what is right.
Of course, for the diehard fan, there are some problems. The biggest thing that I could not fathom was how these turtles could mutate and become ninjas within 18 months. It takes years to be a ninja and even in the original series they had 15 years under their belt before fighting the Shredder. Another thing that really bothered me was how many mutants we’re probably going to be running into. I liked the original series because the Turtles were unique. There existed only 5 mutated characters in the comic (until Leatherhead came along) and they fought against humans. They were champions for the oppressed but could not be known. So, when the lead villain, Old Hob, shows up as a mutated cat… well, it’s a harder sell for me (I know, I know) because it is so similar to the 80s/90s television show where everything was a mutant.
The writing also seems like it was trying too hard. It’s way too epic when the Turtles are fighting, and way too obvious when Chet, the scientist, is trying to hit on April. (I get it… he’s nervous… he doesn’t have to stutter every sentence). There’s a jerkiness to the writing that is hard to pin down, but it just does not have that magical flow.
Nevertheless, the comic delivers on its promise of introducing new readers to the Turtles in a fun way. I’ve read it a few times and I still crack a smile here and there. Overall, it’s worth picking up and is easily accessible to everyone.