By Sam King
The Urban Legends color reprint of Carlson and Fosco’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles volume 3 continues. We have more of Pimiko the ninja babe, our favorite turtles getting messed up, and jokes abound. This is the perfect example of writers having the guts to go where others have not yet gone.
In issue #1, Raphael got his face screwed up, Donatello and Splinter were kidnapped, and the turtles’ birthday celebration was a complete wreck. This issue starts up with the turtles figuring out what to do now. They go house hunting and end up in an abandoned mausoleum, Raph is given an old hockey mask of Casey’s, and Donatello is falling through the air to become mashed turtle served on pavement. By the end of the issue, we know a little more but not much, and things have fallen apart more.
It seems like the creators of this comic wanted to disfigure one turtle per issue. Raph’s face is bandaged like a mummy, leading to some jokes in the mausoleum, and when Leo is able to make contact with Donatello, there isn’t much laughter to be found. Something tells me Donnie is going to need a new body or a wheelchair, whatever they find or can make first. None of this seems very likely though, as Pimiko’s “ninja babes” have stayed on the turtle’s tail. We get a peek at Pimiko at her own work, in a prison like environment, tormenting her co-workers. We are slightly introduced to Mako, whose name says everything you need to know in a world of talking turtles. There is also a scene with a direct jab at the X-Men’s Wolverine, here called Weasel as the mysterious group tries to find human-animal hybrids. This means that they don’t need mutants with metal claws apparently.
The storyline so far is simple: Splinter is captured, turtles must try to find him. This is the game plan issue, so there is more expositional setup for the future than anything else. There is some action at the bad guys’ lair when it comes to Pimiko and the cyborgs who work with her, as well as the imitation Wolverine who isn’t mentioned as having a healing factor worth any importance. Other than that, the action is low and the waiting is high. It seems like by the end of the issue, we are basically back to where we started. Ninja chicks everywhere and one turtle down and out for the count, with no Splinter.
The art is the same as usual, but this time with color. It allows for telling apart Pimiko from her kunoichi group and for additional blood. We get to see Pimiko’s ass a lot and panels involving the astral plane are easy to visually understand. The turtles apart from Raph still look the same as one another, but the positioning in panels, dialogue, and locations all help to keep each of them straight without any issues.
Am I entertained with this series so far? Yes. It is still very early on in the run though, and I’ve not read it before, so I’m clueless as to what comes next. I’m excited to see what happens next, while also concerned about if Mikey or Leo is going to end up scarred, disfigured, or maimed in issue #3. Maybe the creators will be surprising and space it out, waiting for issue 4 or 5 to roll around, just to get us comfy before scarring us some more. I wouldn’t say this is the best TMNT comic there is, especially since I would need to read more, but it definitely takes some revolutionary turns for what audiences now may be used to getting. This is a more avant-garde kind of TMNT that is worth checking out based on reader curiosity and guts of the writers alone.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Urban Legends #2