Wondering about the Burning Axe in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dimension X 3

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Sometimes a log line is better than a story because it’s pure potential and isn’t weighed down by the details of execution. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dimension X 3, the boys visit a professional wrestling planet. It’s not as great as whatever your brain just conjured. Continue reading

Things Get Weird in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dimension X 2

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The creation myth surrounding the TMNT comic is well known, but just in case you don’t know it, here it is again: Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were bored one night so they decided to make a comic that was basically a joke. Their idea was to make a comic that parodied popular monthlies of the day with material that was so outlandish it couldn’t help but entertain. This idea proved a hit and TMNT became a fan favorite in no time due to its humorous stories, irreverent tone, and just basic overall weirdness. Fast-forward thirty years later and the series is still a hit with fans of all ages despite the many incantations the title has undergone. However, one has only to look at the Dimension X spin-off to remember just why people fell in love with this series in the first place. Continue reading

The Visual Language of History and Myth in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 13

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

When we talk about character perspectives, we’re usually referring to lens crafted by their specific values, experiences, passions, fears — their view on the world. It is telling that I’m not able truly able to define perspective without using two different metaphors for perception (“lens” and “view”). Sophie Campbell and Erik Burnham’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 13 continues to explore Karai’s perspective, presenting it almost entirely visually, letting the reader draw their own cultural connections. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dimension X 1: Discussion

By Patrick Ehlers and Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Patrick: I recently spent the week with my three year old niece. Like all three year olds, she’s totally incapable of not expressing her emotions — everything that upsets her triggers a screaming fit and everything that delights her… triggers a screaming fit, but just a different kind. Spending the day with her is, of course, equal parts charming and exhausting, but the thing that struck me the most was how honest that time is. She’s got no way of hiding, muting or dulling her emotional reactions. As a crusty ol’ adult, I’ve got decades of training tamping those things down, to the point where I have to actively attempt to express what I’m feeling. There’s a strength to being able to feel without filter, and the young simply haven’t developed that filter yet. Paul Allor and Pablo Tunica’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dimension X 1 explores how that strength manifests itself in our heroes as they visit a planet that makes emotions manifest physically. Continue reading

Challenges Posed by Starting in the Middle in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 72

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

When a story opens in media res, it’s a promise in two parts. First, the audience is given a glimpse at the excitement of the climax, a bit of a tease for when is it to come. The second and more tricky element is that by opening up at that point and then going back, the writer is telling us that the story of how they got there is somehow as interesting as what is to come. Often, there is a heavy layer of dramatic irony on the proceedings (preceedings?), characters laying out boundaries that we know they will cross, assurances of “what could go wrong?” when we have the exact answer, etc. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 72, the “Before.” section is more of a recap and road map, making it feel superfluous.
Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Usagi Yojimbo 1: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

I grew up in Europe — where the history comes from. Oh yeah. You tear your history down man: “30 years old? Let’s tear it down and build a car park here.” I have seen it in stories — I saw a program on something in Miami. They said “we’ve redecorated this building to how it looked over 50 years ago!” People going: “No! Surely not, no! No one was alive then!”

Eddie Izzard, Dressed To Kill

Patrick: One of the things we here at Retcon Punch find so impressive about IDW’s run with the Ninja Turtle series is the storytelling team’s commitment to remixing, recontextualizing, and reimagining the franchise’s immense history. Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, Kevin Eastman and a murders row of artists and writers have been pulling in influences from over thirty years of comics, TV shows, movies, video games, action figures, music videos, stage shows — you name it. It’s an impressive feat, but is also an exercise that rings weirdly hollow when compared to what Stan Sakai has always done with Usagi Yojimbo. The Long-Eared Samurai has been the protagonist in remixed stories from Japanese folklore for decades — literally as long as the TMNT have been around. With this latest crossover, Sakai again proves he is the king of narrative remix, reaching back way further than 1984 for his source material. Continue reading

Action is Character in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 12

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

For a character we’ve been hanging out with for like 60 issues, we don’t know an awful lot about Karai. She is the fiercely loyal Chunin of Oroku Saki’s Foot Clan, solely responsible for both the clan and its leader coming back to life in the 21st century. She’s a character of constant struggle, and she has an adversarial relationship with everyone. Erik Burnham and Sophie Campbell’s first chapter in Karai’s post-New York saga starts with circumstantial violence, and escalates it into meaningful scheming and action — and Karai is the merciless engine behind all of it. Continue reading

Diablo House 1 is Anger Fuel and Little Else

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The first time I heard Rage Against the Machine, it was on a tape my friend Leann popped into the stereo of my 1989 Toyota Tercel. She played “Killing In The Name” and I just straight up didn’t understand what I was hearing. The song is so angry, wearing resentment and outrage as an outfit instead of as an accessory. There’s very little nuance or subtlety to the refrain “fuck you, I don’t do what you tell me,” and at 16 I thought the song was emotionally immature. Twenty years later, I may still agree with that evaluation, but I also recognize the importance of expressing a single emotion so clearly, so singularly, and so powerfully all at once. Diablo House 1 is very much like “Killing In The Name,” a story singularly focused on expressing the evils of greed and ambition. Continue reading

Effectively Establishing a Large Cast of Distinct Characters in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 71

by Spencer Irwin

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 71 is a masterclass in quickly establishing an entire group of distinct, memorable characters (seriously, Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, Kevin Eastman, Dave Wachter, and Ronda Pattison should be teaching a class on it). This issue has the unenviable task of finally introducing the “Pantheon” in full, but it’s a challenge the creative team tackles with gusto, making each new character immediately distinct, their personalities and relationships with their siblings immediately clear. It not only makes a heaping helping of new information easy to digest, but fun to as well. Continue reading

Clue 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

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Spencer: I made as much fun of the Battleship movie as anyone, as well as of the other movies based off board games (such as Connect Four) announced around the same time, but even so, I’ve got to admit that basing a story off a board game isn’t automatically a bad idea — you just need the right game. The 1985 Clue film found a way to turn the game’s murder mystery concept into a compelling narrative, becoming a cult classic in the process. Can Paul Allor and Nelson Daniel’s new IDW adaptation of the game do the same? Continue reading