Group Review: TMNT #31

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: While strategically secluded in Northampton, the Turtles are hit by new revelations involving enemies’ shifting loyalties, miracle cures, and ghosts from the past. And in the present, grave danger is about to strike! What new Foot Clan menace is hunting the Turtles?

James: BUY

I thought that this would be the one. The one where mere mediocrity would hit this amazing story run that has been going on with the Turtles. All those mediocre elements are there.  The guys are away from the city healing wounds and trying to patch up. Leo is still in some zone of half’s where he is having a hard time in working is way out and finding a whole. Casey and Donnie are fixing a bike and having a healthy debate in regard to science vs real life. April gets a makeover. These should be small mundane things that slow things way down, but I am finding a level of deepness that corresponds with where the guys are that make what could look mundane, actually be complex, spiritual, and strong in its presentation.

Eastman, Waltz and Campbell are putting some serious complexity into this comic making it still one of the best titles in the market today.  I get all excited to see a new issue coming out every single month. There just aren't a lot of titles that do that for me, but this one does, and it continues to deliver.

And, for those of you looking for some action in this story driven issue, well, you might just get your wish too. The writing and the art work perfectly together all around to depict the Turtles in some of their most vulnerable positions that I have ever seen. There are several images where the guys are not wearing their masks and what we see is what they are. They are kids, innocent kids, fighting in a war of adults and trying to make the most of it. It is deep and I think as the series progresses, we are going to see them not only come of age, but increase in all levels, mental, physical, and spiritual. The dudes are growing up and they may be the only hope for New York City once all is said and done.


Steve: BUY

I was a bit lukewarm in my response to TMNT #30, citing it as a particularly loquacious drag to an otherwise well-paced run, and while issue 31 also does its fair share of aftermath-mending, more feels like it’s being accomplished this time. The only noticeable lull is in Casey and April’s Stockgen conversation. It feels in one sense like it’s running in place, but with its new “reveal,” is at the same time pretty transparent. Don’t be surprised if someone in the cast is soon [SPOILER] “mortally wounded.”

Leo’s relationship with Splinter and his brothers, and Raphael’s opinion of Alopex (and vice-versa) both get some good screen time and dissection here in the lead-up to the first tantalizing tasters of an ongoing donnybrook featuring some new Foot Clan bad-assery. The fight scenes alone in this book, thanks to Campbell’s title-defining art, are just amazing.

Speaking of the art, I fucking love April’s redesign, even though it makes her look a bit too on-the-nose like Leah Dunham from Girls. While I hate what that show quickly became (in season 2), I have a great deal of respect for her as a public figure, and I think using someone like Dunham as a template not only makes April feel more realistic and true to the core of the character, if even visually, but also a much healthier physical specimen for readers to admire.

The look of this thing in general continues to be phenomenal, mixing a sort of anime fluidity with simple yet timeless designs for the turtles. Finally, if that last page doesn’t get you eight different shades of pumped for what’s coming next, you should probably just turn in your nerd card now and be done with it.


Neil: BUY

I have recently come around to the turtles and I have been reading their series consistently and I must say TMNT is a great ongoing series.  After reading issue 30, I didn’t know how Waltz could top himself with such a great issue. In issue 31 he doesn’t top the previous issue, but he does a great job of continuing the story.

The issue is more of a development issue.  Alopex and Raph are airing out their difference, I liked how Waltz explains how Apolex joined the Foot, and just like Leonardo he was tricked by The Shredder. This gives Raph a better picture into Alopex past and he feels bad for her.  One of my favorite scenes in this issue was seeing Raph, and Alopex set aside their difference and just mess around with each other just to give a sense of belonging to Alopex into the group it was a great moment in the issue.

Also, the ongoing struggles of Leonardo were expanded even further in the issue.  Having Splinter show up and talk to his son about his struggles and how in his eyes Leonard is not a failure, and that he is not going to give up on him was also a cool moment in this book, the father son relationship that Splinter has with his sons is something I find very touching.  Although I have been reading this series for a short time, there is something very different about these Turtles from the ones I remember watching in my youth. The amount of time you spent on the turtles relationships is something I find to be great and it gives a variety of layers to the Turtles and it shows that they are just as normal as any other human.   Another great issue with tons of development and the payoff at the end of the issue was well worth it in my opinion.


Samantha: BUY

Ever since our boys, and April, have been in Northampton, the comic has taken such a scenic route. The art is just so soothing, and the words are just as graceful. TMNT has definitely taken a poetic turn. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed this turn for the time being. The Turtles always did have some good morals behind all that ooze. The soft-spoken issue just brings me in once again where I ride along with every word uttered out of Splinter’s mouth. But we do get a battle in this issue… not that it needed it. But it was cool seeing the guys back at work. They haven’t put on those masks in quite some time. Obviously, we about to jump onto a new twist in the story, but just as every other reader, I am wondering when this will happen. The guys need some serious down time, but mostly a rebuilding time in order to get Leo back.

My favorite part of this issue is the building of another relationship between Alopex and Raphael. I love these two. I have said before that Alopex held a special place for me and now seeing her buddy up to Raph makes it well worth it. I love these two, and I really hope her intentions can stay good, and that she doesn’t leave the group. We need more girls in this crew.

Dustin: BUY

The last issue is hard to top, but there was plenty to like and enjoy in this issue. Now let’s talk about what I didn’t like. I hated April’s haircut. Sure I’m glad to see that her character can change hair styles, but her hair has honestly changed with each new artist on the series. Her hair started off pretty short in the beginning and then around “City Fall” it was super long. I liked the way Campbell was drawing her hair previously, but at the same time I think they don’t want to fall into any pitfalls with her character’s design. That wouldn’t be a problem if the hair had been consistent up until this point, but it wasn’t.

The other thing I didn’t like was the Raph and Alopex outcome. I called it if you listened to our last podcast, but I still didn’t like it. Especially after the awesome scene they had in this issue.

Don’t get me wrong I still really liked this issue and there were several great scenes, but I’m worried that Donnie and Mikey are falling to the background in favor of everyone else. That’s a dangerous move and while you can’t force the audience to care about them more or less you can focus on giving them a story worth telling and being a part of. Right now they’re just “the other two Turtles.”

Campbell’s art is the shit. The dude has won me over as a fan and I really hope that he has plans to stay on the series for a while. I doubt it will happen since everyone tends to get shuffled on and off of this series to keep up with the schedule, but I hope that the fan response to Campbell will keep him coming back.

Score: Buy It Dudes!

Writer: Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman Artist: Ross Campbell Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/26/14