Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 10: New Mutant Order

Published: February 25th, 2015
Written by: Kevin B. Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Mateus Santolouco, Cory Smith
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 105 Pages

Review:

Ten volumes deep and I still like IDW’s version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a lot.

In fact, overall, from top-to-bottom, this may be my favorite long-running comic series IDW has ever done. Granted the Chuck Dixon run on G.I. Joe is still my favorite overall run but it didn’t last anywhere near as long as this series, which is still being published even in a post-COVID world and recently exceeded 100 issues.

These volumes collect four issues, which is fairly scant but the series is written almost like it’s structured for four issue mini-arcs. However, this one starts with an issue that is really a single issue story but it is also my favorite single issue I’ve read in the series, thus far.

The first chapter (or issue) in this collection sees Shredder and Krang meet to discuss a possible union while on a battleship at sea. Things go awry and the two go to war with each other. I thought it was pretty f’n spectacular and it really made me like these two characters, in this incarnation, so much more. It definitely showed Shredder as a calculating, smart villain, thinking many steps ahead. This is a very stark contrast to what fans of just the cartoon series would expect. Overall, this is my favorite version of Shredder that I’ve gotten to know.

The rest of this collection builds off of some of the earlier and still ongoing plots. Here, we see the Turtles working with Hob, their former enemy, at trying to build a mutant army to fight the evil mutants that have been appearing throughout the series.

We also get to see a really good battle between the heroes and Bebop & Rocksteady, who might still be kind of dumb but they’re actually presented as legitimate, extremely dangerous threats.

I like seeing how the larger story has expanded and grown over time. I like that there are a lot of characters and that, for the most part, they’re all well developed. I especially like the constant escalation but how this series still doesn’t go over the top with it. This is how you build towards something unlike the more recent mainstream comic publishers’ mega-events.

Massive kudos to Kevin Eastman. The dude has proven that he’s still got it and that he truly loves working on his most famous creation more than three decades later.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: the rest of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 9: Monsters, Misfits and Madmen

Published: October 29th, 2014
Written by: Kevin B. Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Mateus Santolouco
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 99 Pages

Review:

After the previous volume, which was more of a break from the norm, focused primarily on character building, we are brought back to New York City where the Turtles continue to work towards stopping Shredder, Krang and Baxter Stockman.

This still does a lot of character building, especially in regards to Casey Jones and his father. In fact, this is where a major turning point happens in their relationship, setting the stage for some really dark shit.

The Turtles also learn what former enemy-turned-reluctant-ally, Old Hob, has been up to while they were out of town.

Most importantly, this is just a pretty good comic that is slowly but effectively building towards the next big confrontation with their two biggest enemies.

Additionally, it introduces us to the IDW continuity’s version of Rat King, in what is a really interesting take on the character.

I don’t want to call this more of the same, which it kind of is, but when “same” is still so good, it makes you want to keep reading for a bigger payoff, which I feel is right around the corner.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: the rest of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 8: Northampton

Published: June 17th, 2014
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Sophie Campbell
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 105 Pages

Review:

After the first seven volumes in this series, the team needed a breather and some time to reflect on where they’ve come. This was that break, which was fine and, as a reader, allowed me to kick back and read as these characters developed more and dealt with some emotional baggage that needed to be processed.

That’s not to say that there isn’t action here, there certainly is. But for the most part, it takes a bit of a backseat to the characters working through their issues and moving forward in what feels like a new era in the larger TMNT saga.

The story takes place in farm country, as April, Casey and the Turtles take a vacation from their crazy, dangerous lives in New York City. This also gets into more backstory regarding the experiments that led to the creation of the mutants and the sort of business that drives Baxter Stockman’s company. We also see Alopex, a villain thus far, try to turn over a new leaf and repent for her previous sins against the heroes.

I guess the biggest thing here, though, is seeing Leonardo work through his demons, as he’s just recently broke the spell of control that Shredder and the Foot Clan had over him.

This chapter in the saga came with a new artist. At first, I wasn’t feeling it but I quickly got passed it and it worked for me. It just has a different look than the volumes that came out before this one but after it initially being a distraction, it sort of smoothed out as I kept reading.

Overall, this is probably the slowest volume of the lot, so far, but it didn’t feel like filler and the breather felt necessary. Plus, these collections only cover four issues and you can read them very quickly.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: the rest of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run.

Comic Review: Cobra Kai: Johnny’s Story

Published: July 8th, 2020
Written by: Denton J. Tipton
Art by: Kagan McLeod
Based on: characters by Robert Mark Kamen

IDW Publishing, 100 Pages

Review:

I’ve gotta say, this was better than I expected it to be. However, the fourth and final issue was a bit underwhelming.

This basically tells the story of the first Karate Kid movie from the perspective of Johnny. It shows scenes we all know but with Johnny as the main character, filling in the plot with new scenes that show how he feels about Daniel swooping in and winning over Alli, as well as his home life and a bit of his childhood drama.

We also get to see more of how John Kreese came into Johnny’s life and how his toxic influence led to Johnny making some bad decisions.

In the end, we also see Kreese walking off in disgust after Johnny loses to Daniel.

The problem with this is that it can’t stand on its own and it relies on you having seen The Karate Kid. Being that it also features Johnny talking to his students from Cobra Kai, you probably need to watch that show in order to get the full context of events.

I wasn’t a fan of the art and it felt sort of rushed and half-assed. But the story more than makes up for it and once you’re reading it, the art doesn’t matter as much. It’s not bad art, it’s just not great.

I’m not sure if there are more Cobra Kai comics planned but I’d probably read them.

Rating: 6.25/10
Pairs well with: the Cobra Kai television series, as well as the original Karate Kid trilogy of films.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 6 & 7: City Fall

Published: November 20th, 2013
Written by: Kevin B. Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Kevin B. Eastman, Mateus Santolouco
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 208 Pages

Review:

Man, this was fucking good!

In fact, I’d say that this was the best story arc I’ve read out of all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics I’ve picked up over the years. I even like it better than all the stories in all the other forms of media where the Turtles appear. This beats out all the films, as well as the cartoon episodes I’ve seen from various different series.

This is the culmination of all the build up from the five previous volumes in the IDW comics run. It’s a story where the stakes are extremely high and it does a lot to change the lives of most of the core characters.

The most interesting thing, here, is the Foot Clan’s abduction of Leonardo, which leads to him being brainwashed and turned into an evil pawn of Shredder. We end up with the three remaining good turtles having to push forward without their leader in an effort to bring him back to the light without hurting or maiming him.

There is a lot of emotional stuff in this story arc, which takes up two volumes. But it’s not just emotions with the Turtles, we also get a lot of stuff with Casey Jones and his shitty father, as well as his childhood friend trying to find her place in the world. Additionally, April O’Neil starts to realize things about herself and her feelings for Casey. Beyond that, there’s a lot of character development with Shredder’s granddaughter, as she doesn’t trust Leonardo and also wants to prove herself to her evil grandfather.

Some other characters from earlier volumes also make their return and some allegiances are formed with certain enemies. Plus, we also get the debut of Bebop & Rocksteady.

This was fantastic from top to bottom. It was a perfect balance between character development and action packed storytelling. It was also a stupendous payoff for those who have made it thus far into the series. I’m assuming that what lies ahead will also be pretty great.

Rating: 9.5/10
Pairs well with: the rest of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 5: Krang War

Published: May 1st, 2013
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Andy Kuhn
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 107 Pages

Review:

With as many comics as I read, I’ve already reached volume five of IDW’s modern Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, despite having to mix in a lot of other titles from other publishers for review purposes. Plus, I like to spread the love.

However, as I’ve said in the reviews of the four previous volumes, I really dig the hell out of this series.

This installment really changes the course of the series somewhat, as it has the Turtles crossover into Dimension X for the first time and it also makes them aware of General Krang, who has really only operated in the shadows, thus far.

This also continues to delve into the rivalry between Krang and Shredder, as they aren’t immediate allies like old school fans might assume. With that, it also further develops Shredder’s granddaughter, a character I’m really starting to like.

As far as the writing and the art, it’s all consistent with the volumes that came before this. But I really liked seeing the writers and artist explore the Dimension X realm. It gave the series more weight and brought in some new visual flourish by taking the heroes out of New York City for a quick story arc.

The next two volumes are a larger arc broken out into two parts. I’ll probably read and review them as a whole, however.

So far, so good with the IDW TMNT run, though. I wish I had started to read these earlier on.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: the rest of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run.

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.