Each of the participating writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give the issue a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass along with a short reason for the score. Here’s a blurb about the issue from IDW Publishing before we begin: The Turtles struggle to recuperate in Northampton. Each Turtle deals with the new status quo in his own way, and each feels lost. But can they find their way to being a family again as the past haunts them?
I keep waiting for this title to release an issue that is just ok, not amazing, but average. One that you can still read, but that doesn't just blow you away. The Turtles have yet to do that for me and after the thirtieth issue, I am still waiting for that ok issue. #30 is yet another winner. I am beginning to think that it is not possible for an ok, much less a bad issue to be done. The writing and art are just too good. After “City Fall”, I thought, well maybe there would be a lull. The guys have traded their rooftops for tree tops in the country.
They are out of their element and maybe, just maybe the creative team will be too. Nope. The story is still just flat awesome. This issue works as kind of an update issue and uses a letter written by Michelangelo to Woody as the primary driver. As Mickey writes, the story plays out....and it still just kicks it with an absolute ferocious assault to the senses. Eastman, Waltz, Campbell and company are at their peak form and have really created a title that I would put up against anything out there, including the mega glitzy "big boys" of the comic world. TMNT not only has been one of my favorites and must have on my pull list every single month. It has really become one of my out and out favorites.
Transitioning from the city to the country has been smoothly made through Eastman and Waltz's writing with Campbell's artwork. In each story, you get passion, dedication, and above all, family, which is the cornerstone that separates the Turtles from every other comic out there. The family dynamic is deep, powerful, and in my opinion, the driving force to the amazing writing that we have seen month after month after month. I love it. I love it a lot. #30 continues to hold on to that high standard and expectation. It just doesn’t let up.
It starts with Ross Campbell’s cover simple (it could be the best TMNT cover that I’ve ever seen) yet clean and peaceful cover and continues to his soothing and warm interiors with the Leo and his mother; thanks to that, TMNT #30 is an incredible looking book at times. With the aid of Ronda Pattison coloring the panels with Splinter’s wife, it felt so peaceful and pure. So much so that it added exponentially to the story and their healing as a unit. This is exactly the type of issue that the Turtles and the readers needed.
This issue shows the one thing I was afraid of when this series transitioned from “City Fall” to its aftermath: it’s gotten a little boring. I know this is really just an extended segue that will eventually lead the book to its new path, but I’d sacrifice the healing for a return to the mutant war of New York.
That’s not to say it’s bad, and I actually like the framework here with Michelangelo writing a letter back home. Also, pretty much every scene starring Leonardo is heartfelt and great, whether it’s with his mother or one of his brothers, but I’m ready for this title to have more Ninja in it again, I think.
The art, however, is absolutely brilliant, and I hope Ross Campbell stays with this book for a long, long time. Sure, his style is cleaner and more cartoony than I usually like, but it’s so nuanced and varied. I’d pay cash money for that page of Michelangelo scribbling at the start of the issue, or pretty much any page with the Turtles’ (spiritual) mother, which enjoys a fantastic Japanese-style flourish.
The story’s significant slowing-up this issue immediately makes me want to give it a borrow, and in fact, that was my initial judgement until seconds ago. Looking back on Campbell’s visual direction, though, I suggest picking this up for the art alone.
I have to say that after “City Fall” I was expecting this series to take it easy and in a way it has, but not on an emotional level. I mean damn. Damn. Even if you put aside Mikey’s touching narration/letter that runs throughout the issue, this one still hits you in the chest more than once. Personally I really enjoy when the narrative it clearly for something else, in this case a letter to a friend, but is matching the parallels of the story. It’s good stuff in that regard.
I don’t want to spoil too much, but there are great moments for each of the four Turtles in this issue and that’s rare for the comic. Usually they can focus on a few, but here each Turtle, Alopex, Master Splinter and April all get their fair shake. It’s something I hope becomes a routine for the series. Not that I didn’t love “City Fall”, but I would definitely like to see more development for the Turtles. This is the biggest role Donnie has played in issues and I think that the team needs to be careful not to focus too much on any one Turtle.
As for the art. Damn. Damn. Damn. I really like it. I think it has a storybook quality to it, but still looks very cool. Alopex is awesome looking and so are the Turtles. I really enjoy that they’re all walking around with their masks off; it’s a nice touch that shows how relaxed they are and a good nod to the original comics. It’s also great to see a bit of the animated show seep in with the Turtles being different heights. I know it’s a really simple thing to do, but it really does go a long way in giving the Turtle their own presence on the page. All in all, it was a fantastic issue.
Score: BUY IT!
Writers: Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow and Kevin Eastman Artist: Ross Campbell Colorist: Rhonda Pattison Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/29/14