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Review: TMNT Color Classics Vol.3 #8

TMNT-CCv3-08-cvr-ae8ec“What lies on rooftops?”

This month we get a change of scenery from the dank, dark sewers to the wide open snowy rooftops of New York City. (Movin’ on up) The story opens with a few splash pages of an airline jet and at first you think that it’s April O’ Neil but then it is quickly revealed that none other than the Shredder’s ruthless granddaughter Karai, is back. Her demanding presence does not bode well for our half shelled heroes.

We switch from the skyline to the mountain scene as Casey Jones and his pregnant girlfriend Gabe are enjoying the view (She says they don’t have this in Massachusetts and as a native I chuckled, we  just have winning sports franchises and endless traffic) when a nervous Casey musters up the courage to pop the question. A tearful Gabe says yes and they quite literally ride off into the sunset. Now I didn’t remember reading this part when I was younger but reading it now it wasn’t a happy moment. To me Casey and April were always meant to be together, they were Dawson and Joey before the Creek ever existed. They were the ultimate “ship” for those familiar with the term. So to see the end of that here was kind of sad, even if it was now rendered in gorgeous full color. (Fanstastic job Adam Guzowski) 

Switching gears, we turn to the other side of that once famous couple as April O’Neil is on a blind date. The guy is a sleaze and gets a little grabby under the table so naturally April being the stand up gal she is, makes sure he regrets it. She just recently moved to Los Angeles for a change of scenery and wonders if she’s just traded the view for some new problems. (Ya think?) I have a major complaint with this scene however. No it’s not the fact April stood up for herself or the coloring (again fantastic stuff) but with the way she was drawn here. I don’t know if the artist was particularly lonely the day he penciled these pages but April’s breasts seemed to have doubled in size from last issue. I mean they are popping out at the reader and the guy sitting across the table from her. Maybe this was done to remind us what a dunce Casey was to let her go or try to put her in a different light but, for me it just did not work. I found it off-putting and not a way to treat one of my favorite literary heroines.

Next we find Splinter still injured and barely hanging on to consciousness in a dark corner. He sees a silhouette and wonders if death is coming for him. A voice speaks to him and assures him it’s not death and in a total Terminator moment, says to come with him if he wants to live. Subtle request there, shadowy man.

Finally we are at the meat and potatoes of the issue and the Turtles make their grand entrance as they scour the city’s snowy rooftops and Raphael.. steps in poop. No, seriously he does. I found it funny because you never see comic book heroes engage in such ribaldry. He reacts natural as the rest of us would and flips out and wants to quit the mission. His brothers try to talk him into staying but to no avail, his hot-headedness gets the best of him and he takes off. Now any one who watches a scary movie knows, when you split from the pack usually bad stuff happens. It remains no different here as Raph, is attacked by a shadowy ninja who wants to kick his shell in something fierce. Here we are treated to an epic rooftop battle and the way the art comes alive, I can’t help but think of Frank Miller. With the added color it is quite a thing of beauty. (Fingers crossed one day that Mr. Miller illustrates the Turtles on some project)

The remainder of the issue is a poop-less confrontation between the Turtles and Raph’s ninja foe as well as more on Splinters odyssey. The pieces continue to fall in place for the big battle and I want a front row seat. (No scalping tickets please)

Overall: This was a fun issue and I always love revisiting the past and my childhood. Plus I haven’t had the opportunity to write poop in a review before which is fun too. My disappointment that there was no Shredder really didn’t drag it down either. I enjoyed the rooftop battle immensely and the banter between the Brothers in Shells was cool as always. Other than the depiction of April’s ridiculous mammary glands, I found no fault this month. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t spectacular either. It was kind of there. So like a season ticket holder I will be there, with hopes of a higher performance. Till next month, should be a shell of a time!

Story: Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird Art: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird and Jim Lawson
Art: 8 Story: 6 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Pass

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: TMNT Color Classics Series 3 #7

STK677597“What about honor?”

That seems to be the question throughout this month as we open up with Casey Jones (Sans hockey mask and stick) is humbly bagging groceries at the local super market. However his humility is so easily achieved as his boss Mr. Talbot is pushing his buttons by publicly humiliating him. Casey doesn’t take the bait at first but then he loses his cool and slugs his boss soundly. As he’s on his way out of the store he has a change of heart and walks back in and begs for his job back. Mr. Talbot having been embarrassed orders Casey to get down on his knees. Casey obliges but Talbot degrades him even further. At this moment Casey has enough and knocks out his now former boss. Though he is now jobless he leaves the premises but with his head held high.

At the same moment across town we follow Splinter who is lost in thought wandering back alleys and smoke stacks. He is on his own, separated from his four sons. In the midst of his roaming he spots a small colony of ordinary rats and reminisces. His train of thought quickly gets derailed due to a collapse in a loose foundation and he takes a long fall down a dark hole. When he comes to, he realizes his ankle is broken in two places and tries to power through by sheer will. He is soon overcome by pain and succumbs to the darkness.

Across town a familiar face, April O’ Neil is being harassed by a new colleague who seems to have less than good willed intentions on his mind. (though with the way April was illustrated in these early days one would seem to wonder why.) April is then picked up by a very close friend and her young son and they reminisce about the Connecticut Christmases of yesteryear. Determined to get a tree of their own they head out on the travelled road.

It’s at here we are introduced to the stars of our show and in a page that could have been drawn by Frank Miller himself, one of our heroes cloaked in what appears to be a burlap hood falls from the sky. A few moments later we are revealed that it is actually Michaelangelo. He was disguising himself on the way to the Turtles safe house inside a local water tower. When he arrives it is a most solemn sight indeed. The downtrodden heroes are holding sanctuary against weather and foe alike. Even their most faithful and optimistic of their family, Leonardo is having serious doubt about whether they make a difference in the world at all. The rest of his brothers are struggling with the fact that he may just be right.

At that very moment we then are looking down at these problems from over 30,000 feet. As we peer inside we are shown a woman passenger on an airplane plotting her next move. She is viewing important captured video footage and she discovers a most interesting fact. One of the Turtles in action. She stares intently with a wry smile across her face.

The rest of the issue contains a sweet holiday moment and a harbinger of things to come with our fearless foursome. Not much to do but ride out the calm before the storm and prepare for the war ahead.

Overall: This title was my first taste of comic rebellion in the 1980’s and amen was it ever sweet. It was my alternative to the big “Two” Marvel and DC Comics and it was a sight to behold. From the moment I first laid my eyes on the intense imagery of the black and white original comics of Mirage Studios I have been hooked. The Turtles were so different, such a kidish concept but yet not handled with kid gloves whatsoever. Years later now seeing these adventures in color is quite a sight. (Big ups to Adam Guzowski, the colorist) Honestly, I do maintain that still to this day the art was very rough in some places. Any scene that has April or a normal human being can appear to look juvenile. However the scenes and splash pages with any of the Turtles is something that could be displayed in the Smithsonian. It’s just breathtaking stuff. I remember this storyline well as kid, and years later with the increased color and touch up it doesn’t really increase it’s merit from the filler issue it is. I cannot wait for the remaining chapters of the “City at War” storyline. Even though I know how it turns out, it will be nice to see it through a different “color” lens.

Till the next we meet, it should be a Shell of a time!

Story: Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird Art: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird and Jim Lawson
Story: 6 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass (this chapter)

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Eastman and Laird Return to TMNT!

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are celebrating a milestone 30th anniversary this year and the festivities are ramping up! This May, co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird karate-kick into high gear with a very special 30th Anniversary issue at IDW.  Featuring a brand-new cover created by the original team, this issue marks the first time in over 20 years the pair has worked together on the property.

The 30th Anniversary Special will be a cavalcade of all-new short stories by the top talent that has built the rich TMNT world over the past 30 years. Each story is inspired by a different era of TMNT’s rich history, and features the unique look, feel and voice of that time period. From Dean Clarrain, Chris Allan, Gary Carlson, Frank Fosco, and Jim Lawson to IDW’s own Tom Waltz and Dan Duncan, the creators showcased in this 48-page full-color special issue spin fantastic TMNT tales from the sewers to the stars!

Considered one of the most popular kids’ television programs of the 1980s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a classic, global property created in 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.  It first debuted as a successful comic book series and then became a hit animated TV show, a live-action television series and later spawned four blockbuster theatrical releases.  The property also has translated into a significant consumer products business—with DVDs, video games, toys and more–that has generated billions of dollars at retail. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debut on Nickelodeon in 2012 and ranked as the number-one new boy series for the year in the United States.  In Aug. 2014, Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Films’ CGI/live-action hybrid will hit theaters.

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