Review: TMNT: Rocksteady & Bebop Destroy Everything #1

Rocksteady and Bebop Destroy Everything aims a spotlight at the wandering duo of henchmen as they potentially screw history right the heck up. Or maybe not. This is a temporally confused journey. And this story's approach to time travel leans into the absurd, unpredictable, and nonsensical narrative potential of chrono-expedition tropes. Characters acknowledge paradoxes but also acknowledge multiple worlds. But mostly this book doesn't care. And I think that's the best (or least head-scratchy) way to handle time travel while still facilitating wackiness. The writing here is snappy, clever, and funny. However, some of the character work is a bit shaky. Take the lead characters for example. Bebop and Rocksteady are inconsistently dumb and it breaks up the flow of dialog. The pair's shared vocabulary vacillates between tentatively insightful and pitifully remedial. The turtles are written with a bit more consistency. Their roles are nicely defined within a short span of time. Donatello's scientific curiosity leads the boys toward something interesting to set things in motion; Michelangelo deflates the seriousness of the whole plot by playing up people's low expectations of his intellect; Leo refocuses the group to work the problem; and Raphael is... a tough guy, I guess. Raph's personality isn't especially pronounced it this issue. Regardless, the brothers have some nice banter that feels very natural.

TMNT_B&R01_cvrIf Bebop and Rocksteady were smart enough to strike out on their own as criminals, they could be very dangerous threats. As it is, they're too stupid to be ambitious and too tough to be ignored. The world is a safer place because these two are henchmen by nature. And the book effectively conveys their naiveté, aggression and lack of intellect in a way that makes them still somewhat likable, if a little scary. Stupid as they are, the two are thankfully written as more than just victims of mean-spirited jokes. That would get tired and sad very quickly. No, the writers actually make these guys sympathetic. There's even a moment of solemnity when Bebop and Rocksteady share a flash of surprising clarity regarding their aimlessness. It is brief, but given enough weight to cast a melancholy fog over every decision the pair makes. They're desperate to belong somewhere, but the world doesn't have a place for them -- certainly not now that they're giant monsters. It should be interesting to see how and if a bit of aimless wandering fuels our lead characters' actions moving forward. Rocksteady and Bebop have something to prove.

The art suffers from too many cooks. That is all.

Despite a few flaws, Rocksteady & Bebop Destroy Everything is shaping up to be a very entertainingly out-of-control time-travel tale.

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TMNT: Rocksteady & Bebop Destroy Everything #1
Writer: Ben Bates, Dustin Weaver Artist: Ben Bates, Sophie Campbell, Giannis Milonogiannis, Dustin Weaver Colorist: Bill Crabtree, Sophie Campbell
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Price: $3.99
Release Date: 6/1/16
Format:  Mini-Series; Print/Digital