Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries Villains 2: Baxter Stockman originally released May 22nd, 2013.
Patrick: One of my persistent questions about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been “why would Baxter Stockman put up with Krang’s bullshit?” After all, regardless of what he could offer, Krang’s ultimate goal is the destruction of the human race. Psst! Baxter, you’re one of those humans. There’s a bully component to their relationship, but Stockman also has this too-cool-for-school attitude, seemingly above intimidation. So why would he work so hard toward the completion of the technodrome? Same reason he does anything: because there’s something in it for him.
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 21, originally released April 24th, 2013.
Taylor: Cities are dirty places. Go to any major city and it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will see litter piled in gutters, blowing across streets, and randomly dispersed in unsuspecting front yards. It’s not that people in big cities like litter (does anyone?) or care about the environment any less than people in smaller urban areas. Rather, it’s simply a matter of when you throw a huge number of people together they create a huge amount of waste. Keeping all of this waste together can be a hard thing to do, thus in cities like Chicago, my base of operations, litter and dirtiness are just something you get used to. This grime that accumulates in big cities gives them an unmistakable urban feel which most people can easily recognize, whether they have ever lived in such an environment or not. Kevin Eastman recognizes this aspect of cities and it is reflected in issue 21 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which he both wrote and drew. The result is an issue that realigns the series with a new plot while at the same establishing a dark and ominous tone for the future.
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries Villains 1: Krang, originally released April 17th, 2013.
Patrick: To the best of my recollection, the original TMNT action figure line contained two basic Krang toys. The first was Krang in his battle armor — it was like double the size of a regular action figure and cost about three times as much. The second was a weird minimalist walker-thing that he rode around in. I had the latter, because I was never patient enough to save up for the big one. As a kid, I knew I had the shittier toy: I wanted that big robot — the scary one that would send the Turtles running. While I technically had the character right there, I never felt like I had Krang. What good is a squishy little brain monster without his killer-robot-suit? Writer Joshua Williamson answers that question by arming Krang with the most tenacious agency usually reserved for survival fiction.
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Mogo are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 20, originally released March 20th, 2013.
Patrick: I’m a realist. I believe in that which we can observe and measure and quantify. I don’t like the term ‘atheist’ because it defines my beliefs in terms of what I don’t believe (i.e., God). But I also don’t like the term ‘skeptic’ because it implies that there’s some force of will out there in the universe trying to convince me that one reality is true, but I’m just to wily to fall for its tricks. Fiction has a habit of shitting on skeptics – the instant you meet the non-religious scientist in a movie that says “… but that’d be impossible,” you know that whatever he just said is SO TOTALLY GOING TO HAPPEN. God, ghosts, magic, you name it – they all end up being real in the third act (unless you’re talking Scooby-Doo, then all bets are off). Donatello has served as this voice of skeptic dissent throughout IDW’s run of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While reincarnation makes for an interesting story about turtle ninjas, I never liked that Donny’s doubt would have to be somehow wrong-headed. Amid all the bombast of climactic interdimensional warfare, Donny gets an answer that is astonishingly satisfying, both to him and to me.
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Secret History of the Foot Clan 4, originally released March 20th, 2013.
Drew: In my experience, there are two types of characters in action movies: those that act like it’s no big deal that that car just blew up, and those that understand that HOLY SHIT THAT CAR JUST BLEW UP! The former is obviously more badass, and I think captures a kind of aspirational relatability in the audience, even if the latter is ultimately more relatable — who wouldn’t freak out if they were caught in the middle of an action movie? Curiously, the relatability may make the characters in the latter category less realistic, as their presence often draws our attention to the artifice of the genre. It can be tricky to balance these characters (or these traits within characters), but Secret History of the Foot Clan continues to do so with aplomb. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Secret History of the Foot Clan 3, originally released February 27th, 2013.
Taylor: It’s weird to consider the effect that our legacies have on us. Who are family is and was, where we have lived and what we have done all impact us greatly when it comes to crafting our current identity. For some, a legacy is a source of strength and pride, while for others it may be the cause of embarrassment and pain. But speaking in the context of just a single lifetime, a person’s legacy can greatly influence their future actions. For a fun example, let’s take George Lucas. The man who created a classic and beloved franchise was so enamored with his legacy that he refused to listen to others when it came time to create his ill-fated prequels. Perhaps he was enamored with his own legacy as a genius myth-maker or perhaps he simply let pride get in the way. Nonetheless, his past influenced his actions, the resulting in a set of films that many felt betrayed his previous endeavors. It’s interesting to consider the role of legacies at play in the Secret History of the Foot Clan both — narratively and creatively — because they cannot be ignored in either instance. In this case, is the legacy a source of strength or a source of weakness?
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 19, originally released February 20th, 2013.
Drew: One of the things we love about fiction is the opportunity it affords us to live vicariously through its heroes. This is a feeling familiar to anyone who’s walked out of a movie theater feeling like they could fly, or at least swing from some vines. That’s all well and good when you’re being introduced to these characters for the first time, but that’s decidedly not the situation Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles finds itself in. A comic written by and for people who grew up playing with Turtle action figures, wearing Turtle pajamas, and chewing (and accidentally swallowing) Turtle bubble gum has the potential to cash in on those connections in fascinating ways, amping up that sense of vicariousness to euphoric levels. Be it repairing a futuristic robot, piloting an alien tank, or more traditional ninja action, issue 19 finds the Turtles living out all of their (and by extension, our) wildest dreams. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 18, originally released January 23rd, 2013.
Taylor: Whether it be in the world of writing or the world of art (hell, even in the 9-5 workplace) consistency is something that is difficult for the average person to achieve. Perhaps this statement should be clarified: it is hard to be consistently good at something. It goes without saying that doing things poorly on a regular basis is easy, as doing so requires virtually no effort. However, to create something that is continually good is no easy task. Just take a look at the comic books that litter the shelves of your digital or real-world comic shop. How many of those titles are good month in and month out? How many never have an off issue? How many never let you down? There is perhaps no greater complement that can be paid to a series then that it is consistently good. To craft an issue that is always on point is truly the mark of a great creative team, and something that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has always been able to claim. Yet in the 18th issue of the series some fault lines are beginning to appear and the question is, is this an aberration or the sign of something more troubling?
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Secret History of the Foot Clan 2, originally released January 23rd, 2013.
Drew: The first issue of this series wowed me with the way its sophisticated exploration of narrative perspective. To me, the notion of a single story pieced together from tidbits contributed by many storytellers represented comics generally, and this iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles specifically. In issue 2, writers Mateus Santolouco and Erik Burnham pull the scope back even further, commenting on previous iterations of the Turtles. As someone who grew up in the ’90s, I couldn’t be more pleased. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Secret History of the Foot Clan 1, originally released January 9th, 2013.
Patrick: The Secret History in question is delivered via a few discrete sources: Dr. Miller (a lecturer at April and Casey’s school), Splinter and Shredder. For obvious reasons, not everyone has all of these pieces of the Foot Clan story, but everyone does seem to want all these pieces. I always like it when our heroes are in search of a truth that I am also interested in — it makes me feel like we’re all on the same side. It’s like a detective story, except instead of trying to solve a murder, we’re working to understand history. Mateus Santolouco portions out the clues and delivers a story rich in culture and mythology, simultaneously important to all corners of the TMNT Universe.