Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 17: Desperate Measures

Published: October 11th, 2017
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Mateus Santolouco, Sophie Campbell
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 129 Pages

Review:

After reading sixteen volumes in the IDW era Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, I took a fairly lengthy break.

I’m glad that I did, though, as this volume was really damn good and felt like a return to form of when the series was at its peak for me.

A lot happens in this volume but it’s also building towards something larger, which I anticipate will be a really awesome, epic story for all of these characters.

This was also one of the more emotional stories of the series. Something bad happens to a beloved character and it has a tremendously adverse effect on the Turtles and all their allies.

We also see new villains gain more power while getting a strong upper hand over the heroes.

I wasn’t sure how much I’d be invested in the series after the death of Shredder but Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz have written some really good shit.

All in all, and despite my sabbatical from it, it says a lot when I’m still reading any comic book series that’s gotten to seventeen collected volumes.

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

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 16: Chasing Phantoms

Published: May 10th, 2017
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Mateus Santolouco, Dave Wachter
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 127 Pages

Review:

While I like that the IDW Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book series is in new territory, by this point, and trying fresh things for the franchise, I also question whether or not it’s ran its course and is just running on fumes after the defeats of Shredder and Krang.

Don’t get me wrong, I like that it’s sort of changed its tone and there are new villains but it’s starting to feel a lot less like the traditional TMNT I grew up with and more like it’s trying to figure out where to go, charting new, unknown territory even for original creator Kevin Eastman.

Splinter being in charge of the Foot Clan just seems damn odd, even if he’s trying to make them a force for good. He’s still doing things that seem really out of character and the Turtles, his sons, recognize this. It’s been going on for a few volumes in this series now and I’m kind of waiting to see if there’s a real reason for it that will somehow make sense in a big, stunning reveal.

The series is just in a place of uncertainty in regards to where it’s going and the core characters’ lives and direction. I still like it, I’m still invested but something has to happen and soon.

The art is still on par with the previous volumes and as the series rolls on, it gets a wee bit better even with each chapter.

As I said, I’m still enjoying this, sixteen volumes deep, but I really feel like something big needs to go down much sooner, rather than later.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: the rest of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 15: Leatherhead

Published: October 5th, 2016
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Mateus Santolouco, Dave Wachter
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 125 Pages

Review:

This chapter in the very long-running IDW Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series was pretty damn good.

The series is in a new place after the defeat of Shredder and Krang in two different big battles. So it’s uncertain where this can go, as it has entered really new territory and sort of has a clean slate.

That being said, this was really entertaining and full of surprises.

By the title of this volume, you know that Leatherhead enters the series. He was always a cool concept for a character but I always thought that he was never properly executed in the good ol’ days. In this, though, he’s a dangerous, massive beast. He at first seems like an ally but there’s a very dark, pretty f’d up twist with his character.

In this chapter, we also see more of the female Foot Clan member Jennika, who is trying to redeem herself after existing in a dark cloud under Shredder’s command. Here, Master Splinter is essentially her Yoda: training her, helping her find peace, balance and self-respect.

Man, this was just a good piece of storytelling with great art that fans that have stuck around this long should expect.

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

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 14: Order From Chaos

Published: June 1st, 2016
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Michael Dialynas, Ken Garing
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 136 Pages

Review:

This volume of the long-running Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles‘ IDW run looked a little bit different, as the artists changed. That’s not a bad thing, though, as the art in this collection of issues was still pretty good and fit well within the tone of the series.

The writing was still very good and honestly, more than anything else, that’s what’s kept me reading this series for well over a dozen volumes, at this point.

This story is the first one after the defeat of Shredder and the landscape of the TMNT-verse is now very different. There is a new threat and we also get to see how the core characters are adjusting to major changes in their lives.

Master Splinter now runs the Foot Clan and with that, there are new challenges and a new female student that I know will go on to have a pretty big impact on this series going forward.

All in all, this was another good, action packed volume and the series still hasn’t lost steam.

Rating: 8.5/10
Pairs well with: the rest of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 12 & 13: Vengeance

Published: November 4th, 2015, February 3rd, 2016
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Mateus Santolouco, Cory Smith
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 204 Pages (total)

Review:

This was the second large story arc in the IDW continuity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Also, it was well worth the wait, after the slow build towards it since the last large event.

In this one, we get the final showdown between Splinter and Shredder and with that, we see both senseis’ families go to war. This story involves all the big players, thus far, and it brings major changes to the series.

While I know that Shredder has a story arc in Hell, I’ve already read it and reviewed it, and that he returns to life, eventually, the Turtles and their allies are finally able to move beyond the Shredder threat and shift their focus to an oncoming war with Krang.

I dug this one a lot but after how much I’ve liked all the previous volumes, this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Eastman is still writing great stories, alongside Tom Waltz, his righthand man on this incarnation of his most famous creation.

Additionally, I loved the art Mateus Santolouco and Cory Smith but this series has looked great from the start.

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

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 11: Attack On Technodrome

Published: July 1st, 2015
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Cory Smith
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

IDW Publishing, 104 Pages

Review:

This isn’t really a filler volume in the long-running Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series by IDW, as much as it is its own solid story that puts a heavy emphasis on developing a much bigger event that is going to go down and take up the two volumes after this one. The second such event in this version of TMNT continuity. When I get to those, I’ll probably review them together, as I did the last massive story arc.

In this, however, we see Donatello go behind his brothers’ backs and try to work out an alliance with Shredder, so that they can all take down Krang, his army and the dreaded Technodrome.

There are a lot of swerves and plot twists but the story reads really well and was pretty satisfying. While this wasn’t my favorite volume, it doesn’t disappoint and it kept the story moving forward at a brisk pace without it becoming redundant or derivative of previous stories, which is really hard to do when a series has gone on as long as this one has.

Cory Smith has taken over the art full-time and I like his work. It’s a bit more dynamic and detailed and it feels like the quality is a step up from what it has been. And that’s not to knock the previous artists, as I’ve really liked this series from both the art and writing sides of the coin.

In the end, I’m still enjoying this series and frankly, it’s now probably my favorite version of the turtles. I’m really looking forward to the big arc that follows this one.

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

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.