We’re switching things up on you! No longer shall our group reviews be limited to buy, borrow or pass; instead each of the writers/reviewers of Comic Bastards will be giving the issue in question a score on our five scale. First, here’s a blurb about the issue from IDW Publishing: The Turtles return to New York to find a city in Shredder’s grip. The Turtles will have to use all of their skills and stealth to survive. But is Casey ready for a homecoming welcome from Hun?
Okay, it's time to que up some vinyl, a little Thin Lizzy. Here we go...."The Boys are back in town...The Boys are back in town (Daa Duuuuuuuuuun, Daa Duuuuuuuuuun) The Boys are back in taaaooooowwwwwnnnn." Yes, the Boys are back in town, ready to bring the fight to The Shredder. And in the one super action sequence, it appears that they aren't missing a beat as they work to sharpen their skills in preparation, in super stealth mode no less.
But the action is only part of the story. We also get a nice dramatic side story between Casey and Hun that is pretty intense and definitely a little bit heart wrenching too. The writing combined with the art tells a very perfect tale together. And that tale is of the A++++ kick ass variety.
I've been saying it for months now, but I'm going to say it again. TMNT is arguably the best title in the comics world today. And I for one would be glad to argue with anybody about it. Month after month after month we are getting superior action, intense drama, and even some excellent humor that never lets up. The pacing knows when to speed up and when to slow down. It is wonderfully crafted and I just can't say enough great things about Tom Waltz' scripting with a new darker edgy art style being provided by Mateus Santolouco. It all spells for most excellent reading. If you are not reading this title, then you really, really, REALLY are missing out on some good stuff. So, "Spread the word around...The Boys are back in town again"...And they are better than ever.
Boy with us being in North Hampton, I really did forget about everything happening back in New York City. I love getting back to the grind of it all. The issue opens perfectly with brothers stopping some low-life’s from a crime. The Turtles stay in shadows while they beat up these jerks till the cops come. I totally dug everything about it. I almost forgot that Leo had just been brainwashed, Shredder is out for blood, and the Hun is coming after his son.
The issue didn’t revolve around the Turtles though. It seems that this was Casey’s issue. The action is slow, and the whole issue felt too wordy for me. It seemed like a repeat issue where these problems could have popped up over the course of the whole City Fall. So I was a tad disappointed in that. I like the problems that Casey and the Hun are going through though. I think it could have showed something else about their characters instead of the same old things that we know. I am hoping the problem gets some new light in the next couple of issues. Plus let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to see an all-out battle between Purple Dragons and the Turtles. The Turtles still need some rebuilding before it happens.
This issue was mostly definitely what I’ve come to call an “Arc Set-Up”. I don’t know if it actually has a name in the industry, but I’m sure that you can figure out what I mean. It’s pretty self-explanatory. This issue isn’t necessarily part of an arc as it is aftermath, and the set-up to the next one. These are always the hardest to review, I think. There is usually a lot of information, but almost no action. I don’t mean action as in “action-packed”, I just mean that there isn’t much happening. So regardless of how well-written and well-drawn it may be, there is a possibility that these types of issues will drag on. I’ve never read an issue of TMNT that dragged on, when you’re comparing it to the monthly powerhouse that this series has come to be, it is understandable if it doesn’t compare.
All that jabber now being regurgitated, the emotional moments in this particular issue are very powerful. We’ve got identity issues, daddy issues, and re-acclimation issues. That’s a lot. If you’re able to stomach all of that in one sitting, then this comic is definitely for you. And if you’re like me, you don’t need swords to be drawn every issue for it to be an entertaining read. This issue is extremely well-written, and of course the art in this book has never been anything but excellent. I don’t even know how you can keep a series going like this for this long. These guys have got to be spending every bit of energy that they have to keep it going.
This was a mighty fine issue as we saw the Turtles return to the city. Unfortunately it’s not really a Turtle issue… again. That’s really what makes me hold back from giving this issue a perfect score as the series has a tendency to touch base with the Turtles and then spend time with the human characters. Now don’t get me wrong, those scenes are still really good and it’s nice for once to have a story in which the human characters actually play a role; it’s just that I tune in for the Turtles more than anything else.
We do however get a great father and son scene with Hun and Casey having a heart to heart. This didn’t go down the way I expected it, but not for the reasons you probably think. It’s a pretty important scene so I’m not going to spoil it.
The big deal on this issue is the return of Mateus Santolouco on the art duties. I really enjoyed Santolouco’s art on City Fall, but his style does take some getting used to again. His Turtles are different from most artists and while I still like it, it’ll take time to adjust just like the first time. Otherwise his art is pretty fantastic and a great fit for the series. I don’t know if he’ll trade off again on the series or if he has a large enough head start to stay there, but I’m digging it for the time being. Really at this point I could just say, “it’s the Turtles, pick it up” because it’s proven to be consistently good and not overrated.
Writers: Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman Artist: Mateus Santolouco Colorist: Ronda Pattison Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/23/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital