I can’t remember much from when I was a kid, but I do remember my 4th birthday party, which was TMNT themed. We ate pizza, a cake with the heroes in a half shell mid half five, and inexplicably beat the crap out of a Raphael piñata (although I can now state that he’s my least favorite of the bunch). I watched reruns of the original cartoon that first gave the turtles their distinct face mask colors, and sat slack jawed the first time I saw the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie with those awesome Henson suits. I say all that just to confirm for you that my interest in reading this book was almost entirely for nostalgic reasons, and while I could have checked out the more mature Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtlestitle, I wanted to give this kid’s title a shot to see if it’d be of interest to my five-year old cousin. While my cousin has yet to write his own review of the issue, I think he put it best after I showed him a few pages and he kept laughing at the sight of Donatello freaking out after being covered in bugs.
This TMNT title occurs within the same universe as the most recent animated TMNT show on Nickelodeon. Unlike most other incarnations though, these turtles seem more like pre-teens than the chill Michaelangeo, and mopey Raphael of past iterations with Mikey sporting freckles and Donatello crushing on a teenage April O’Neil. Separated into two stories, the comic emphasizes the wacky shenanigans the Turtles get into with no overarching narrative, a format that suits the title just fine.
The first story drawn by Chad Thomas and written by Landry Q. Walker follows the Turtles as they try to counteract Donatello’s pheromone concoction that has managed to attract the attention of all manner of bugs. Walker, who also scripts the second story, conveys each of the brothers’ distinct personalities while keeping the tone light and the pacing brisk enough to maintain the attention of its younger audience. Coupled with Thomas’ clear manga influence, and colorist Heather Breckel’s popping greens and yellows, it’s a fun, if somewhat unmemorable jaunt with the turtles that ends with them in a vat of boiling hot sauce, which turns out to be a lot more comical than it ought to be given the whole boiling thing. Walker rounds out the issue with a story that starts mid-argument with the Turtles trying to get Mikey to focus more, who can’t even manage to focus on the argument about his lack of focus. Soon enough Michaelengelo is kidnapped by a Turtle catching machine (don’t ask), and proves in the end that his lack of focus is an invaluable asset to the team.
What I particularly like about this comic is that it doesn’t try to bash over kids with moral lessons, and instead puts the focus squarely on a romp with the four bros. Additionally, it doesn’t try to pull off those desperate appeals to adults in the manner that cartoons and other children’s comics sometimes do. I probably won’t check this book out again for myself, but it’s good to know that for my cousin and others his age the Turtles are doing just fine.
Writer: Landry Q. Walker Artists: Chad Thomas and Marcelo Ferriera Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 8/13/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital