Patrick: How do we heal? Whether the wounds are physical or emotional, there’s almost never a good answer to that question — certainly never an easy answer. When I look back on the biggest hurts I’ve recovered from, I know that I did heal, but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you how. I remember at the time feeling like there would be no relief — from a broken heart, or a broken bone. I was always afraid that I’d never get better, that I would only ever forget what “better” feels like and accept broken as my new emotional base. It’s unsatisfying and it’s messy and it’s prone to regression. The biggest fuck of it all is that there are no shortcuts. All of the Turtles (and their friends) are in need of healing, and it’s been such a slow beautiful process, I can’t help but feel unnerved when April introduces a magic healing goo. Fortunately, the tension between the quick fix and honest healing is right at the front of yet another fantastic issue of TMNT. Continue reading
Today, Taylor and (guest writer) Aaron are discussing X-Files Conspiracy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, originally released February 19th, 2014.
Taylor: The crossover is deadly move in basketball. The quick change in direction shakes up the defender and often creates unique scoring opportunities for whoever employs it. Outside of the basketball court, however, the crossover enjoys a more dubious reputation. Countless times have two entertainment franchises created a crossover event to help generate buzz for each property, and countless times has this resulted in a complete and utter mess. I can’t blame publishers and studios for doing this though; it seems like a logical thing to do at first glance. Just take two things people like and mash ‘em together to create double interest! However, jamming two distinct franchises together is actually pretty hard, especially when each has its own distinct universe set up. That being said: what in the world can we expect from a crossover between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the X-Files?
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Utrom Empire 1, originally released January 22nd, 2014.
Patrick: Leadership is the damnedest thing. Unless the people you’re leading believe or value the same things you value, everything falls apart. Hearts and minds, right? Without ideological unity, imperialism fails. These are the kinds of thoughts that didn’t bother 9 year old Patrick — nor should they have — so I never considered the tenuous position Krang finds himself in constantly: fighting for an empire that no one even seems to give a shit about. In Paul Allor and Andy Kuhn’s Utrom Empire, Krang’s authority is tested at every turn, and the abstract concept of the “Utrom Empire” starts to take the mythical shape of a force bigger than any one character’s ambition. It’s about fear, it’s about power, it’s about survival. Continue reading
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, 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.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant ninja Turtles 17, originally released December 19th, 2012.
Taylor: There comes a point when reading anything that is speculative in nature where the author asks the reader to take a leap of faith. In The Lord of the Rings, the reader has no choice but to accept that magic and elves are every-day occurrences. Similarly, in Hebert’s Dune, you have to accept that spice is a wonder-drug and faster than light travel travel is physically possible. Most reasonable readers recognize these elements as fantastic and they also realize they are simply part of the universe that the author is creating. These readers also realize that to deny the validity of the fantastical elements of a plot would lessen their reading experience. Those who read Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are all too familiar with taking this leap of faith in their readings — just look at the title and main characters of the series. So when the title asks its readers to take an even larger leap of faith than ever before, perhaps it is worth discussing.