The first issue of this crossover by Tristan Jones and Mark Torres delivers everything the title series does not. I have lamented on the state of direction for the title series (most recently in my review for issue #7), but this issue provides me with so much hope for the future of the TMNT.
First off, I have to admit my bias, I am internet-friends with Tristan Jones often tweeting back and forth with him on movies and other things. We’ve even shared a few Words with Friends games with one another. He previously worked on the Turtles with Mirage, and his ‘Tales of the TMNT’ #36 is the issue that got me back into comics. I also helped in a campaign to get Tristan as the ongoing writer of IDW’s Ninja Turtles series before the writers or artists were announced. Long story short: I’ve been waiting for this issue for forever.
The premise is the TMNT begin an investigation into weird occurrences happening in NYC particularly within the sewer system. Strange horrors appear and the Turtles dig deeper into their purpose and meaning. Donatello, with all of his reasoning, is the one most challenged and most at a loss to what’s going on.
The first thing that this comic reminds me of is a Mike Mignola ‘Hellboy’ comic. Mark Torres fits perfectly into that vein of horror with his moody lighting and blocky lines. The lighting is what excels in this issue particularly with the use of flashlights. Torres and colorist Jay Fotos pull off a technique of hinting at what’s there with the lighting by giving its vague outline which comes as a fresh take on an old technique. I’m not quite sure what I’m looking at all the time, and that’s a good thing.
Tristan’s writing is wonderful. He builds suspense, throws in some surprises, and adds a hint of humor to things. It never comes off as flashy, and he nails all of the Turtles’ personalities right off the bat. Though, knowing I’m a Turtles fan, I would have liked to see a little bit more development for Leonardo. (Speaking of being a Turtle fan, Tristan slides in a few references to his previous Mirage work). Nevertheless, this is, at its heart, a comic about Donatello.
Tristan takes a simple premise of the TMNT not knowing what’s going on with weird horror-creatures around and makes this the best TMNT comic IDW has produced yet. This title being part of a crossover has absolutely no effect to your enjoyment of the comic. In fact, that should not even be a consideration. If you miss out on this, then you’ll miss out on an amazing comic.