Group Review: TMNT #23 “City Fall” Part 2

You can expect a group review or at the very least a dual review for TMNT until “City Fall” has concluded because it’s that big of a storyline. Seriously, I don’t think the Turtles world has been this big and different for decades so there’s a lot of interest in the series. If you’re unfamiliar with the group review format then let me break it down; each of the writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give their opinion on the issue and also a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass. First here’s a quick blurb about the book from IDW Publishing: CITY FALL' part 2: Desperate times call for desperate measures as unexpected alliances take shape. Will the Turtles be able to find the Foot Clan's HQ in time to stop the next phase of Shredder's heinous plan? Plus, the return of the witch Kitsune! What ancient evil will she unleash? One Turtle is about to find out!

TMNT_ongo_23-pr-1Ed: Buy

Holy crap - what a beautifully drawn comic! IDW's TMNT has a reputation for quality artwork and in its latest story arc, with the addition of the superb Mateus Santolouco as the leading artist, the series is looking better than ever. Confident lines, a cartoonish expressiveness and incredibly dynamic action makes for an impressive artistic package and that's not even counting the similarly excellent pages contributed by various other stellar artists (including the likes of Ross Campbell and TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman) for Leonardo's magical trip sequences.

This isn't a very good place for new readers to pick up the story, with almost everything that happens in its pages being either a callback to earlier issues or a direct continuation of the last issue, but for long term fans or for anyone who started reading at the beginning of the "City Fall" arc TMNT #23 is a surefire hit. With some exciting new characters like Old Hob, Kitsune and Shredder's granddaughter Karai alongside the revitalized older cast in such an exciting adventure as "City Fall", it could be argued that this is as strong as the TMNT comics have ever been. I've been an unashamed fan of IDW's revamp for a while now and if you can get your hands on issues #22 and #23 I think you will become one too.

Samantha: Buy

This story arc is turning into one of my favorites. I dig the whole turning Leo against his brothers bit. It has huge potential to see how the other brothers and Splinter react to this. I can imagine it would put them in a tight spot. I also think Splinter may go off the deep end. I know he is supposed to be the chill dude that never reacts but having your son turn against you by your foe has got to do something to him.

Ok I have said this in some of my individual reviews but I just don’t get why the turtles look so funny. I don’t like how they are drawn, so it is a turn off for me. Does anyone else think this? Or at least explain why you like the turtles drawn this way. Every other character looks normal except for some facial expressions, but it is hard to take these guys seriously.

Kitsune is badass. She has lots of powers that are unknown to us. I also wonder what her plan is for Shedder. To me she may even turn against him some day. The relationship between these two is dynamic. He worships her and it is nice to see this side of Shedder. He is so mean to Karai in the process too. That could also lead to Karai turning against her own father.

TMNT23_cvrRICarl: Buy

Casey Jones got skewered in the last issue, and in this one he lays dying.  Meanwhile, the abducted Leonardo undergoes brainwashing at the hands of the Shredder.  The Hob offers to help the remaining Turtles and Splinter while April stays at the bedside of the critical Jones.

As the brainwashing takes place inside Leo’s mind, the artwork takes on a more colorful, dreamlike style.  The rest of the book has the sharp lines and detailing that makes this book as great to look at as it is to read.

The pacing does move quickly for a relatively action-free issue.  Nevertheless, the dialogue sounds pretty sharp—albeit it too verbose at times.  And when you make an allusion to the 1980’s RPG The Bard’s Tale, you immediately win me over.

Grab yourself a copy of this book.  No, get every issue in the series.  This is a fun, action-filled comic that takes chances, bloodies its heroes, and delivers a great read.

Steve: Buy

Wow. Seriously, who thought I would be THIS into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles book at my rather advanced age? Well, twilight years be damned, I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em, and despite having almost no knowledge of current Turtles story lines or events, I enjoyed the ooze outta this comic. It feels almost like a natural fit, Shredder brainwashing Leonardo to not only get him to join his ranks, but also crush the Turtles. And it’s done here quite well. I’m a sucker for when good guys turn bad (and vice versa), so I’m looking forward to seeing Leo (historically my least favorite Turtle) kicking ass, not to mention this gang war for which we seem to be inexorably heading. I have to say, some of the Casey Jones stuff was verging on melodramatic, but it only just kept it together.

Given all of the heads on this book, the art jumps around a lot (particularly during Leo’s dreamy indoctrination), but for the most part, it’s solid stuff. I’m still not a fan of how the boys look like Chucky dolls painted green, but some of the other renderings while Leonardo is under are perhaps more cartoonish, but better fitting the designs I am more comfortable seeing (maybe because they’re more like the ones I’m used to).

I also really like it when comics use “panel mirroring,” showing the same layout of two different locations to draw correlations between circumstances, and I think this book does a lot of that, but also does it very well. It shows that this is a linked series of events, one thing affecting the other, thus creating something more of a holistic event experience. Overall, “City Fall” is a great chance for new and old fans (like me) to jump back on the TMNT bandwagon ... or Turtle Blimp, whatever they use now.

TMNT23_cvrRE_JetpackB-backDustin: Buy

There were things I really liked about this issue and things that were an interesting experiment, even if they weren’t extremely successful. Leo’s brainwashing at Kitsune’s hands was an amazing idea that broke down the journey of Leo and Turtles since the beginning of the series. It showed the emotional toll being a leader takes on someone and the back and forth with Casey in the hospital was a great visual comparison.

I don’t think that the scenes for the brain washing were the best. Granted it’s in the mind and very much a dreamlike state, but It got the point where I just looked at the pictures having already figured out what was going on and then moved on. Since the audience already knew that it was brainwashing, it would have been nice if the story tried to fool us or confuse our memories with realistic depictions of the past. Still, it was an interesting experiment with great results.

If you read last week’s Old Hob story, then you kind of knew how all that would turn out. Still it was a very good issue, but I think I’ll enjoy the next issue more.

Score: Buys All Around!

Writers: Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman

Artist: Mateus Santolouco

Publisher: IDW Publishing

Price: $3.99

Release Date: 6/26/13