Review: TMNT - Annual 2014

I couldn’t be more excited about this annual and to see Kevin Eastman take over the art for this issue as well. My obsession with TMNT seems to get renewed every time I open up the IDW comic or catch the new Nickelodeon show, so for Eastman to take over this annual only added to my pleasure while reading this. What is so cool about Eastman’s art is that he can make an issue look so 80s but so refreshed at the same time. The characters are real and genuine, as well as, having those raw pencil marks from back in the day. Too many action comics look to clean and all digital. It doesn’t feel like I am looking at original pencil drawings, but Eastman has a way of bring that all back. It makes the reader wish he would take over on the art side of things because his style doesn’t get overdone. Of course he helps write the comic with Tom Waltz, and they make a great pair for each issue but here it felt like Eastman had more of a hand in setting the character interactions within the Turtles. We all know their personalities, but when the brothers can interact like ninja with a goofy side it makes for all the better of a read. Donnie and Mikey are up to no good planning a trick on Raph. At first read, it felt like I was back in the original movie with Donnie and Mikey back to their crazy selves. Splinter is shown at several moments commenting on his sons and their bad ideas under his breath. Splinter usually gets shown in the more serious light, so I found it refreshing that he was having some fun, again mirroring the movie.

TMNT_Annual2014_cvrBut the focus of the issue is on Renet. She needs help and the Turtles are willing to give her some after she guesses every Renaissance artist to finally remember her friends’ names. I will be honest because I don’t remember Renet from the old Turtles. She strikes me as a little odd, but I can roll with the whole time traveler thing. So this issue revolves around TMNT and TMNT- Turtles in Time. In kind blends the two worlds just a tad, so the readers can see the connection within this universe. Anyway, Renet’s world is being led by some pretty crazy rules. So when the Turtles get out of the travel, they are instantly put into a ring to fight alongside Baltizar. During this travel, the comic turns black and white, which again just shows the range of this comic. Although the world’s setup is a little too Hunger Games for me, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the Turtles and new friends.

TMNT will always be my favorite thing about comics, and seeing Eastman put a lot of his classic character’s attitude and art into this piece made the comic as fun as ever. The Turtles were crazy teenagers again yet still fighting serious butt giving readers that kick ass feeling that comes with the dudes. The story, again, wasn’t anything too excited, and I really wish they would have spent more time with Casey and April. Of course, I love Casey, but we could have bounced from the present to the past with Casey to make some more fun happen. But I won’t complain too much because all the memories of the old Turtles came rushing back with our featured artist. TMNT, the comic, always gives readers that sense that IDW really cares about these characters and what direction they are taken each year.

Score: 4/5

Story: Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz Script/Art: Kevin Eastman Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $7.99 Release Date: 8/20/14 Format: One-Shot; Print/Digital