By Damien Becton
The previous issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles excelled in the comedy department, featuring a hilarious fight between the Turtles and group of frogs. Although it was a good issue, one of the things that it lacked was a bit of action to replace some of the filler scenes. TMNT #83 is the exact opposite - heavy on the action and lacking some of the comedy beats that made the previous issue so worthwhile. With that being said, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #83 is another solid entry into the TMNT universe.
After meeting and conversing with Toad Baron to figure out a way to stop King Rat in the previous book, the Turtles travel to Siberia in an attempt to discuss things with Mammoth, another one of King Rat’s brothers. The battle between the Ninja Turtles and Mammoth is definitely the highlight of the book, with the attacks that connect feeling impactful and heavy. From the get-go, the Turtles know that they are outmatched, and it is easy to see why when looking at Mammoth’s heavy blows. Additionally, there is a nice moment where the Turtles come up with a plan to halt the beast’s offensive - and the details of the operation come from an unexpected but welcome source.
Like previously mentioned, a problem with the issue lies with lack of comedy that you’d expect from a TMNT book, and an overemphasis on characters that aren’t mutant or ninja or green. Casey Jones and April O’Neil are definitely intriguing characters in their own right, but in this issue the protagonists detract from the story itself. When these characters showed up, it only left me wanting more of Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, and Leonardo. Going from an impactful and dynamic fight scene to an underwhelming scene with Casey then April truly jumbles the pacing and kind of makes it a tough read. Hopefully, in future issues, April and Casey will be more to do.
Artist, Dave Wachter, does a great job this with this issue, as well. The action panels that he creates are powerful and heavy. The assault that Mammoth delivers to the Turtles (Raphael in particular) was executed extremely well, and much of that is due to the pencils that Wachter produces. When Mammoth swings, he delivers absolute haymakers. The initial battle that takes place in the beginning pages are definitely the crowning achievement of this particular issue, and a lot can be attributed to Wachter’s talent.
Overall, although this issue takes a minor step back from the previous installment, it is still a solid entry. Again, the book seems to suffer when the spotlight is taken off of the Ninja Turtles and onto the supporting characters. Simply put, let’s get less Casey and April, and more Don, Raph, Mikey, and Leo. Fortunately, the issue is still holds strong due to the action that takes place between the protagonists and the massive Mammoth. If you’re already on board with this book, this is an obvious pickup, otherwise I can’t guarantee that you would like this book.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #83