*Editor’s Note: This column contains SPOILERS for IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book line.*
I love Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
If you’ve been reading my column over the years, it’s pretty apparent. A few weeks ago I talked about how I cosplayed for the first time as Casey Jones. My fandom for the Turtles is kind of an odd duck, though. While I was in the prime age for the cartoon, I never really got into it, however I loved the figures that accompanied that series (I even have a Technodrome). I love the original 1990 film but despise the recent reboot. Despise. With a capital D. To be fair, I haven’t seen the sequel. The first one kind of made me swear off it.
In terms of the comics, I grew up loving the original Eastman/Laird run. I really got into it during my teen years. So when Nickelodeon bought the property and brought the comic rights over to IDW, I was very optimistic.
Over 60 issues plus a few micro-series, mini-series, one-shots and two Batman crossovers later, IDW is still kicking major shell.
The thing I’ve loved about the series from the beginning is that it has taken aspects from many of the different incarnations of the characters (the animated series, the original comics, etc.) but has made it into an original Turtles book. The characters are always familiar but they will occasionally go in different routes with them.
For example, in the past sixty issues Raphael was homeless, Leonardo ended up as Shredder’s mind altered assassin, Donatello died and was revived as a robot, Splinter outright murdered Shredder and took over The Foot Clan and Casey Jones has gone off to take over The Purple Dragons.
And it’s all been great. The nice thing about the main book, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, is it’s only had three writers working on it for those 60 + issues. That helps make the continuity really strong. Yet the guys behind the book have managed to keep it fairly reader friendly. Like any comic, I think it might be hard to jump in during the middle of a story arc but at the beginning of one, I feel like it would be an easy go.
The art has also been pretty stellar. The art teams are consistently rotating but there have been a few long term artists like Mateus Santolouco. Santolouco is probably my favourite of the current Turtles artists as he, for whatever reason (maybe it’s just me), seems to really be able to show emotion with Michelangelo.
The IDW world has been kept pretty small. While there have been a fair number of spin-offs and crossovers, they are fairly well spaced out and appear to fit in with the main comics continuity. The latest spinoff, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe, looks to be a great addition to the family. It has a main story, written by Paul Allor (who has done a great job on various TMNT books) that fits in the framework of the IDW universe. There’s also a current backup of Turtles goodness written and drawn by Kevin Eastman and inked by Bill Sienkiewicz who honestly make an amazing team.
While I love the new animated series, in many ways I wish all of the new IDW material had been transferred over into that medium or Michael Bay had taken a look at it and decided to go with the look and feel of this series as opposed to the monstrosities he and his team created.
If you love the Turtles, I highly suggest giving this series a go. Dig into the first trade and you’ll see what I mean.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!