Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Erik Burnham
Artist: Charles Paul Wilson III
Release Date: 23rd July 2014
For the second issue of IDW’s latest TMNT miniseries, our heroes find themselves transported to Feudal Japan – don’t panic though, all similarities to the truly atrocious Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III movie start and end with that statement. The new creative team of Erik Burnham (Ghostbusters) and Charles Paul Wilson III (Wraith) take over with this issue, and immediately opt for a far more serious, emotionally-charged approach than the ‘Saturday morning cartoon’ style utilised by issue one creators Allor and Campbell. Burnham captures the distinctive voices of the individual Turtles perfectly, and adopts a well-measured approach to the time travel ‘gimmick’ of the series, keeping things flowing smoothly while still managing to take advantage of the creative nature of time travel to put together an intriguing, dramatic situation.
Inter-dimensional time traveler Renet makes another brief, decidedly unhelpful appearance, an approach actually works for me. With time travel stories, it’s fairly easy to become mired in over-exposition, trying to explain and justify every minute detail while tentatively dancing around the inevitable plot holes and paradoxes. In this series, time travel is just happening. That’s it. The Turtles don’t know what the heck is going on (even Donny!), so why should we? And in a lot of ways, it’s nice to just be along for the ride, watching our ‘heroes in a half shell’ leaping from time zone to time zone, putting things right that once went wrong, hoping each time that the next leap will be the leap home. So basically, it’s Quantum Leap with nunchuks. And who doesn’t want to see that?
It’s difficult for me to delve too deeply into what actually happens in this issue without spoiling this terrific story, so I’m going to gloss over the content as much as possible. But what I will say is that this issue features several familiar faces (sort of), cuts right to the heart of the group and – unlike the previous issue which served merely as a slice of (admittedly awesome) cartoony fun – ties in perfectly to the ongoing IDW series’ continuity. There are some fantastically emotional moments which Wilson brings to life with his usual deft touch and artistic flair, and Burnham still finds time to slot in a few humorous moments between the dramatic beats.
The epilogue is also legitimately goosebump-raising stuff, and serves as a perfect sign-off for what is probably the finest stand-alone TMNT story I’ve read in quite some time. Obviously the story links into the preceding and following issues, but this is a story that most definitely stands on its own merits, and is one that should be considered pretty much essential reading for any self-respecting Turtle fans out there. I honestly can’t recommend this one highly enough, folks. Even if you haven’t picked up the first issue, you owe it to yourself to give this one a look.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
Article Archive: Ceej Says