The Cartoonist Kayfabe guys (this time just Ed Piskor) go through Eastman & Laird’s Gobbledygook.
The Cartoonist Kayfabe guys (this time just Ed Piskor) go through Eastman & Laird’s Gobbledygook.
Published: April 24th, 2019 – December 4th, 2019
Written by: Mateus Santolouco
Art by: Mateus Santolouco
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird
IDW Publishing, 146 Pages
While I haven’t read any of IDW’s regular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continuity, I’ve heard really good things about it from friends who love everything Turtles. Granted, they could have some bias but I figured that this miniseries had an interesting enough premise for me to check out.
I’m not sure about what led to this but Shredder is in Hell, as the title implies. I wouldn’t say that this is too dissimilar from other comics where characters go to Hell and have to face their own demons but it was still a cool read with pretty good art.
My only real complaint about it was that I felt like I needed more context and enough backstory wasn’t revealed within this five issue arc.
Additionally, there were big delays between the issues getting released and waiting three months for issue five really hurt the momentum of the series, as it’s hard to retain most of the details from the first four issues, when you are getting old and read dozens of comics per month.
In a nutshell, this isn’t a bad effort but it’s not a very good effort. I felt lost through parts of it but the art salvaged some of it and at least it was visually neat.
Pairs well with: other recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics from IDW, especially since this ties to the main story in that continuity.
Between this and the Ninja Gaiden games, I’ve been revisiting some of the most frustrating things from my childhood.
However, I did finally beat this game after playing it on an emulator and using an actual walkthrough because those last few levels are f’n mazes, man! Mazes that will drive you bonkers, as there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to their design.
As hard as this game is, I was shocked to discover that the final boss, Shredder, was actually the easiest boss of the game. It was like someone said, “Hey you need to go through this six level obstacle course of mortal danger to kill the enemy!” and then when you get to the end, there’s just a snail you need to step on.
Anyway, the underwater level is still one of the most assholishly designed levels in video game history. While frustrated beyond absolute belief, I did beat it on the first try. I remember spending hours on it as a kid and questioning why I was even still playing the game but I hated the level so much I couldn’t let it have the last laugh.
If you have played this game, I’m sure you are already aware of how much of a pain in the dick this is.
But that being said, it’s not impossible. You can master this thing but I guess it comes down to whether or not you want to put that much time into it and whether or not it’s even worth it.
In the end, I don’t hate this game like I used to. However, it still doesn’t hold a candle to the awesome side scrolling beat’em up Turtles games that came after this first official attempt at a TMNT game.
Pairs well with: the other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES games but this is the worst of the lot.
Being that the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game was nearly perfect, I wanted to play the arcade version of its sequel.
Now I have played Turtles In Time before but it was always the version for home consoles and not its superior arcade counterpart.
This was a blast to playthrough though, as it plays just like its predecessor. The controllers and look of the game are the same and the only real difference is that this comes with new levels, new bosses and the time travel element thrown in. If anything, it’s an expansion of the great first game.
My only real complaint is that the boss battles in this one weren’t as good or as memorable as the first game. I missed beating up on the more popular baddies, as this chapter gives us mostly second and third tier Turtles villains.
However, the final boss fights were a lot of fun. The battle with Krang felt fresh and new and not just a rehash of what was done in the previous installment. Also, the final fight with Shredder was more challenging and the cherry on top of this superb banana split of awesomeness.
Overall, I liked this one less than the first game. However, it is a solid compliment to it and it kept things fresh enough to allow it to stand on its own as a worthy side scrolling beat’em up.
Pairs well with: the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game.
I fed this arcade game so many quarters in 1990 that I never had money to buy anything else. I usually had to persuade my mum into giving me more quarters, as well as giving me an extra allowance just for comics.
Anyway, I’m glad that I can play this whenever I want now and the quarters are free because with MAME, I only have to hit “select” to add credits.
This was and still is one of the all-time greatest side scrolling beat’em up arcade games in history. Sure, the genre was going strong by the time that this came out but it took things to a new level. Maybe that’s because the Ninja Turtles were the biggest thing in pop culture in 1990 but even then, this is such a perfectly polished and energetic game that it’s greatness can’t be brushed off simply because it’s associated with a massive franchise.
The controls are superb, the gameplay is fluid and this isn’t a beat’em up that gets dull or all that repetitive. Each level feels fresh and new, the levels aren’t too long and even if you are fighting a dozen enemies at once, you don’t get so overwhelmed that you have to blow through quarters just to get off of one screen.
What’s also great is that this was a four player game. So you and four of your friends could jump in together and kick Foot Clan ass. Even if you didn’t have friends with you at the arcade, there was never a shortage on kids ready to jump in and give you a hand. I actually met some friends this way.
This was an arcade game that I would often play to completion. It was perfectly balanced on its difficulty and every kid felt like they could beat it without completely going broke. There are days where I played through it twice in a row.
The Nintendo port that came out after this was never as good. It always felt like the cheap, incomplete and buggy version of its superior arcade father. Granted, the NES version did add some interesting new levels and characters.
Pairs well with: other side scrolling beat’em up arcade games from the era, especially involving turtles.
Published: February 28th, 2018
Written by: Erik Burnham, Tom Waltz
Art by: Dan Schoening
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, Ghostbusters by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis
IDW Publishing, 132 Pages
It’s not this particular comic’s fault but I think I’m suffering from IP crossover fatigue. I’ve read a ton of crossovers between different intellectual properties over the last year or so and they all follow the same tired formula of smashing two franchise together via a portal or a dimensional rift whether it be through science or magic.
That was how these two franchises came together in the first place and that’s also how they come back together for a second time. So I can’t fault it as a plot device here, it’s already been established. However, with that trope, we also get other tropes with stories like this that make them all pretty predictable and just more of the same.
Now this was still amusing and I enjoyed the banter between the characters. However, the story itself felt like a clusterfuck. The main reason, is that it takes this portal/rift trope and multiplies it by a thousand.
There is so much dimensional jumping that the plot becomes overly complicated and confusing. It’s like someone took an entire season of the show Sliders and tried to wedge them all into a five issue comic book arc.
Crossovers like this used to feel cool and special. But there are so many of them and IDW is a big part of the problem, as they own the publishing rights to so many franchises. When the regular comics don’t sell, you smash the titles together and try to capitalize. It worked for awhile. I just don’t think it’s working anymore.
Props to Dan Schoening on the art though. This was a nice book to look at in that regard.
Pairs well with: other IDW collections for both Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Written by: various
Art by: various
Based on: Judge Dredd by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, The X-Files by Chris Carter, Ghostbusters by Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, G.I. Joe by Hasbro, Transformers by Hasbro, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, My Little Pony by Bonnie Zacherle, Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry
IDW Publishing, 356 Pages
So IDW decided to do their own version of Marvel’s What If?… series and DC’s Elseworlds tales. Except, IDW doesn’t have really any creations of their own, at least none that anyone really seems to care about. Instead, they are most known for printing comics of intellectual properties that they pay for publishing rights to have.
This series of one-shots gave us “what if” tales for Judge Dredd, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Trek, X-Files, Ghostbusters and My Little Pony.
At their best, there were a few issues that were simply, okay. But most of these were terrible. And they weren’t terrible for one reason, they had just about everything going wrong for them.
In fact, the only two of these that I would give a passing grade to are Donny Cates’ take on Star Trek, which is still a poor effort considering Cates’ caliber, as well as the Transformers one, which gave us an alternate take on the events of the original animated motion picture.
The worse one of the lot was the one I was most excited for: G.I. Joe. It was a big, lame, unfunny joke that poked at some of the franchise’s tropes but did so without the writer having a single funny bone in their entire body. I’ve never not laughed so hard.
This was something that had potential, could have given us some really cool results and honestly, shouldn’t have been that hard to write at even a passable level. IDW has lost their fucking way, man. I guess it’s no surprise that the company is up shit’s creek, now getting bailouts from Marvel on their D-list comic books.
Frankly, I’m pissed I paid for these issues.
Pairs well with: the IDW 20/20, Infestation and Revolution events, as well as some of the IDW crossovers.