Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 4: Sins of the Fathers

Published: February 6th, 2013
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Andy Kuhn
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 122 Pages

Review:

This series has been on a really good trajectory, thus far. The first three volumes covered a lot of ground with great, energetic, action-packed stories. So I guess eventually, you’d have to reach a slower chapter and this is it.

That’s not to say that this is boring or that it’s not up to snuff, it just spends a bit more time on fleshing out some characters and this version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mythos.

A breather also felt needed, as the story could’ve easily gotten away from itself if it stayed primarily focused on action and having to make the characters fight too much.

This also started to give General Krang and his species some backstory, which we hadn’t gotten up to this point. His relationship with Baxter Stockman is pretty interesting and it’s developing and evolving while really painting the picture that this version of Krang is truly dangerous and not the buffoon people are mostly familiar with from the original cartoon series.

There is also a good moment in this between Splinter and Raphael, as Raph learns an important lesson. But that lesson also leads to Casey Jones essentially becoming the Turtles’ roommate.

I was pretty happy with this volume, I truly dig this series and I can’t wait to keep reading through it.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: the rest of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 3: Shadows of the Past

Published: September 26th, 2012
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Dan Duncan
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 105 Pages

Review:

Does this series keep improving with every volume? Why, yes it does!

So far, this was my favorite release in the collected trade paperback versions of IDW’s rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.

My only real complaint about these is that I feel like each one should be longer than just four issues. However, the story arcs seem to fit this format thus far, as each of these truly feels like their own chapter in a larger novel.

In this one, we see Splinter and Shredder finally meet face-to-face. They also come to the realization that each is their ancient mortal enemy, meeting again in the modern world because destiny is a real bitch.

This also sees the Turtles get into their first official fight with Shredder while also meeting a new ally in Angel, along with her gang The Purple Dragons. We also see April come to discover just who the Turtles and Splinter are. Frankly, a lot happens in little time and even if there is a lot of story, there is also a lot of action.

This is a well-balanced series between its narrative, character building, relationship development and the action itself.

I love how this rebooted reimagining by original creator Kevin Eastman has set the foundation for what’s to come. This truly is a solid and satisfying series up to this point and I hope that this greatness maintains throughout.

Rating: 8.75/10
Pairs well with: the rest of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run.

Comic Review: Judge Dredd: Year One

Published: November 20th, 2013
Written by: Matt Smith
Art by: Simon Coleby, Greg Staples
Based on: Judge Dredd by John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra and Pat Mills

IDW Publishing, 105 Pages

Review:

This has been in my Comixology queue for awhile, so I figured it was time to give it a read.

Being that this is a Year One story, it focuses on the Judge Dredd character very early in his career. He’s still green, lacks experience and has to rely on his training, his undeveloped skills and the knowledge he gets from his seasoned superiors.

In this story, he has to deal with a strange psychic phenomenon that starts popping up, which gives powers to regular people and in the first part of this story, a group of juvenile delinquents.

The setup is interesting but the story doesn’t do much to capitalize off of that and just sort of falls flat and honestly, isn’t all that exciting or engaging.

I guess the high point for me would be the art. It was pretty good and I liked the tone of the comic. But beyond that, we’re just given an interesting concept that just doesn’t pan out into anything worthwhile.

This isn’t a stinker but it’s certainly forgettable.

Rating: 5.75/10
Pairs well with: other Judge Dredd stories by IDW.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 2: Enemies Old, Enemies New

Published: August 31st, 2012
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Dan Duncan, Mat Santolouco
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 104 Pages

Review:

Since I was impressed by the first volume in the rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series by IDW and original creator, Kevin Eastman, I had to quickly jump into the second chapter of this long-running series to see if the momentum would maintain.

Short answer: it did!

In fact, this is even better than the first installment, as it builds off of the origin of the characters and then goes further back into who Splinter was, as well as Shredder, who hadn’t yet appeared.

This also introduces Krang and helps to setup his story and what appears to be conflict with Shredder and his Foot Clan. So unlike the cartoon and the stories most fans are familiar with, Shredder and Krang aren’t on the same page here. And frankly, that makes this really interesting.

Like the previous volume, I enjoyed the art style and it just looks and feels right, aesthetically. Especially, for those of us who enjoyed the original Turtles comic stories.

This series has been really good, thus far, and I can’t wait to jump into the third volume, which I’d imagine I’ll do in the next week or so.

Rating: 8.25/10
Pairs well with: the rest of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run.

Comic Review: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero – Classics, Vol. 10

Published: December 22nd, 2010
Written by: Larry Hama
Art by: Mark Bright, Geof Isherwood, Tony Salmons, Herb Trimpe
Based on: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Hasbro

Marvel Comics (original printing), IDW Publishing (reprinted), 252 Pages

Review:

After the last volume kind of picked things up a bit, this collection really shifts things into high gear, as the original Cobra Commander returns to power and gets his revenge on those within Cobra who he deems as traitors.

This series of ten issues also features the “Snake Eyes Trilogy” storyline, which sees things drastically change for the popular ninja hero, as well as the Baroness, who has dedicated her life to destroying the man. This also changes things for Destro, as well as Storm Shadow and Scarlett.

There’s also a side plot about two of the Joes being brainwashed and under the control of Cobra.

Needless to say, a lot happens in these ten issues and there really isn’t a dull moment.

Larry Hama, even by this point, didn’t seem to tire of these stories and these characters. This caps off with the 100th issue and I have to say that Hama, over the first hundred comics, has done a stupendous job in developing these characters and making many of them feel unique and real.

The art in some of the issues here is a change up from the norm. Most of this does look consistent but other artists came in for an issue or two and altered the visual style a bit. None of it was bad but it was a bit unusual, after having read this series for so long and it having a pretty consistent look.

Ten volumes into the collected classic Marvel series and this is still one of my favorite reads out of all the comics I have picked up over the years. I never got this far when the series was current but I can see now that I truly missed out on these great, later stories.

Rating: 8.75/10
Pairs well with: Any of the original Marvel G.I. Joe and Transformers comics.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 1: Change Is Constant

Published: February 8th, 2012
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Dan Duncan, Ronda Pattison
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 102 Pages

Review:

I have heard really good things about IDW’s regular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot series. I’ve only read bits and pieces over the last decade but I thought that I’d start way back at the beginning, in an effort to catch up with the 100-plus issues the series has now released.

The main selling point for me was that Kevin Eastman, the original TMNT creator, was one of the writers on this rebooted continuity. It’s sad that Peter Laird isn’t doing this along with him but Eastman’s involvement gives this take on the Turtles some real legitimacy.

I’m happy to say that this was a really good introduction to the characters and even if it tweaks their origin, somewhat, it felt true to the classic comic book series while also tapping into the spirit and energy of the cartoon, which was how most kids discovered the franchise.

I thought that the art was perfect, as it hearkened back to that primitive Turtles art style while also being a real improvement over it without trying to diminish the original series’ aesthetic.

It’s hard to say how much I’ll enjoy the whole series, just off of this first volume, but it left me gleefully optimistic. Time will tell but I think I’ll probably be pleased with what comes next.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: the rest of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run.

Talking Pulp: Rest In Peace – DC Comics – 1934-2020?

I’m glad I’m no longer a customer of AT&T. I left them behind a few years ago and I have been really happy not giving them my money anymore. But since buying Time Warner, they’ve been going through everything with a fine tooth comb and shutting down divisions that they don’t deem as profitable enough.

I was first directly affected by this back in November of 2018 when they pulled the plug on FilmStruck, a streaming service that was a joint effort by Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection to present classic and historically significant motion pictures from all eras. It was also, by far, my favorite streaming service out of them all. In fact, I wrote about that dark day here.

When FilmStruck was struck down, I knew that it was only a matter of time before AT&T took the ax to other divisions within their entertainment sectors. Looking across the board, it was easy to ascertain that DC Comics’ days were most assuredly numbered.

The writing has been on the wall forever and not just for DC but for Marvel and the entire comic book industry, as a whole. Sales are terrible, comics are too expensive and most importantly, above all else, the creative side of the equation is mostly deplorable.

The comic book industry (like the rest of the entertainment industry) has had an agenda-driven ax to grind for several years now. It’s turned people away, as has the behavior of many of these “creators” on social media.

In fact, many of these big entertainment juggernauts actually don’t do anything to stop the despicable behavior of those they employ. They’ve even brushed this shit off, claiming that they’re just independent contractors and entitled to their own opinions. I’ve written about these “creators” and companies’ bullshit before though, which you can check out here and here.

The point of this article, though, is to point out that DC Comics, in its current form, is beyond repair and that AT&T is most likely pulling the plug.

Now nothing has been officially announced, as of yet, so take this as rumor until more comes out.

However, it looks like this is possibly happening sooner rather than later, based off of some texts I got from an intermediary with an insider, who has worked at DC for over a decade. Who they are doesn’t matter but it’s not hard to see the forest for the trees.

What I’ve been told is that this was planned before COVID-19 made things a lot worse and that this viral event has actually sped up the company’s demise.

I felt that this should come as no surprise after their publisher Dan DiDio “stepped down” on February 21st of this year with no one being announced to step in and fill that void. I guess it made Jim Lee the top guy by default but what has he done since this happened? He’s done a Kickstarter for a backpack and he’s hosted art auctions.

Additionally, DC Comics’ 5G initiative has been met with severe backlash and it hasn’t even started yet. It was scheduled to kickoff this summer and it was DiDio’s newest and latest big plan to save the industry and get sales booming again.

Well, when you’ve rebooted your universe multiple times in the last decade or so, people become sick of these sort of half-assed and short-sighted shenanigans. Plus, no one really wants to see core DC characters get replaced by diversity characters. This bullshit hasn’t worked for Marvel but apparently these comic book companies can’t learn from past mistakes, have no real fresh ideas and apparently don’t care about profit.

This all boils down to profit. Especially, when you have been absorbed by a massive corporation that only cares about their bottom line, a line which DC Comics is definitely below.

The rest of the information that made its way to me says that COVID-19 was the deathblow for DC and that AT&T is planning on making an official announcement in June. They also said that it is doubtful that they will wait until June now, as the damage is quite severe. Plus, people working for DC will most likely get pissed and start leaking more information between now and then. AT&T will most likely want to stay ahead of that or they’ll do what companies do in these situations and deny it until their hand is forced to be more transparent. That’s the beauty of publicly traded companies.

The plan is for DC to release what is already in the pipeline over the next few months but there will be no new books after what is currently finished. With Diamond, the comic industry’s “monopoly” distributor, falling apart due to COVID-19, DC is looking for other distribution avenues. But this is probably just a short-term thing to get these last comics out and to try and turn some profit while they still can.

While this may feel like a punch in the gut, it doesn’t mean that characters like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are gone.

AT&T still owns the IPs to these characters and those IPs will most likely always be lucrative, as they will continue to produce movies, television shows and merchandise till the end of time. This really just effects the comic book division itself.

This also doesn’t mean that we will never have comic books of these characters again, either. AT&T could license these characters out to other publishers in the same way Hasbro licenses out G.I. Joe, Transformers and other IPs to IDW Publishing. Hell, all major IPs that aren’t specifically owned by DC or Marvel are mostly produced by indie companies like IDW, Dynamite, Dark Horse, Boom! and a slew of others.

Side note: Marvel has already licensed their own characters out to IDW for their kids line of comics, despite still being in business themselves.

Plus, the monthly model of people buying floppy physical issues of comics doesn’t seem to be the best model anymore. Yet, crowdfunding comics has been blowing up and creating a boom in that sector of the industry. The mainstream tries to ignore it and brush it off but just look at how well a lot of the Comicsgate creators’ books have done.

The mainstream wants to paint Comicsgate as their enemy and well, they are. They’re defying what has become the mainstream industry’s standard and are pulling fans away from failing publishers like DC and Marvel while reinvigorating comic book readers who walked away some time ago. But it’s easier for the mainstream to demonize and act catty than to just do better and look at competition as a good thing.

So while Comicsgate and other crowdfunders are the enemy of the mainstream, they’re also the savior of the comic book industry because they’re keeping it alive and growing it by bringing in new readership.

While I am not a fan of labels, I am a fan of prosperity, success and in regards to the comic book medium, quality. It’s that quality thing that the mainstream publishers are having a hard time with, as they flood the shelves with comics people don’t want by “creators” who wouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near the industry just a decade ago. And that’s not to say that all Comicsgate books are great but the cream of the crop is much better than anything Marvel or DC has put out in quite awhile. Excluding Sean Gordon Murphy’s Batman stuff, though, as his White Knight comics are, by far, the best things put out by the mainstream in years.

Again, take this information as rumor but with everything that’s happened just in the last few months, DC Comics, in its current form, is probably not going to be here by year’s end.

Update:

Apparently, IDW Publishing started laying people off just minutes after I posted this article. It’s not looking good, folks.

Update #2:

I was told by someone close to the situation, that some sort of official decision will be made following the July 4th weekend.