Pickup a copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #43 at Comixology.
In the last two months I have successfully read all forty-two issues of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ leading up to this epic of battle and it’s been quite a journey.
IDW have done some amazing things with the ‘TMNT’ property over the past couple of years. Reimagining the origin story to give it an update worthy of a modern audience without losing any of the nostalgia that fans feel for the turtles of the 1980s.
Following but updating the canon has brought the turtles to an entirely new audience whilst bringing in older fans with familiar stories and plot points told with a slightly different twist. We’ve had the first battle with Shredder and the aftermath which causes the turtles to abandon New York and take up shelter at the O’Neil farm and now we’ve reached the inevitable attack of the technodrome.
Issue #43 is entitled ‘Attack on the Technodrome part 3’ and finds the battle now in full swing. Shredder and Krang at each others throats and their armies slaughtering each other whilst the turtles have been transported by Donnie to the battlefield.
Previous issues setup a potentially devastating plot twist with Donatello working with Shredder to help stop Krang but all has been revealed as a trap set by Donnie and Leo to set things in motion. Now the heroes in a half shell are secretly making their way on to the huge Technodrome to stop Krang from terraforming Earth.
What the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ movies have lacked is more science fiction elements of the franchise: the alternate dimensions; the aliens and the other mutants, all of which have starring roles in the comics. The lore is heavy and it looms large over the IDW series brilliantly integrating itself into familiar story arcs.
My only complaint is that at this stage April and Casey Jones are sadly missing from the action but their characterisation under IDW has shown they’re not afraid of a fight when it’s required. There’s a balance between human and mutant which is unlike previous iterations of the turtles but works well to integrate them to the NY setting. The various human mob factions within NY also help to broaden the threat of Shredder and the Foot Clan.
The story by Kevin Eastman, Boby Curnow and Tom Waltz is outstanding and can best be described as classic ‘TMNT’. Having Eastman on board adds a massive degree of authenticity to the project and its great to have one of the original creators on board.
There’s little room for character development within the pages of #43 but the pages are still packed with the personality that fans come to expect from each of the heroes.
This is a battle from start to finish and the artwork backs the story up perfectly. Cory Smith and Ronda Pattison are doing a sterling job on the artwork which has taken on a few changes over the past few arcs. There’s a realism to the artwork which sits somewhere between the classic animated series and the darker, more violent artwork of the original comics.
The comics portray themselves as predominantly serious but there’s still room for humour and because of that it’s very hard to fault ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ for anything other than the month long wait between issues.
There are perhaps too many characters in play during this battle which mean that not everybody gets the time required to push their stories forward but what I’ve learnt over the past few issues is that those who appear less in a particular issue are given more time elsewhere to balance things out.
You wouldn’t want to start reading ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ with this issue but hop back to #40 and dive right in. You really don’t know what you are missing.