Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 62, originally released September 21, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Patrick: The defining quality of my teenage years was business. And not like, going to an office, wearing a tie and making money, but like busy-ness. I’d be at school from 7:30 to like 3:00, then go to play practice for a couple hours, then play in some ensemble (or practice in the winter) and then I’d do homework in the basement until I feel asleep on AIM. I had written a song about that sensation for my high school ska band (Down In Front, in case you were wondering) called “Someone Else’s Time” so I was at least aware that my schedule was spiraling beyond my control. I’ve been busy since, but I don’t think I’ve ever surrendered my time quite so freely as I did when I was 17. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles seem to be suffering from some of the same fractured focus, but it’s remarkable how well storytellers Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, Kevin Eastman and David Wachter compartmentalize each threat tearing at the Turtles. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 61, originally released August 24th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Taylor: The need for violent force is a topic guaranteed to ignite debate. Some preach it as a necessary evil, while others say its existence in any form is unacceptable. Regardless of your stance on the subject, violence is something every person has to come to terms with in some way or another. Frankly put, we live in a violent world, even if most of us in America never have to confront it directly, and that means coming to terms with some ugly truths of the world. This topic is especially important to comics, a medium that frequently depicts violence. While it’s easy for a series to be circumspect when it comes to confronting violence, TMNT is not in its 61st issue. Instead of backing away from its heroes’ potentially problematic reliance on martial force, it confronts the issue head on.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 60, originally released July 27th, 2016.
Taylor: Recently, the Australian DJ group the Avalanches released their second album 16 years after their seminal debut Since I Left You. That this album, Wildflower, was ever released shocked the band’s fans as many expected a follow up never to come. That Wildflower has been well received by fans and critics alike comes as an even bigger surprise to me. Generally speaking, if it takes 16 years to come up new material, that’s not a good thing. Many are the bands who make one good album and then disappear into mediocrity for all time. What I’m hinting at here is that artistic consistency – well, quality consistency – is hard and it’s difficult to churn it out on a regular basis. In that respect, issue 60 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a marvel because like the 59 issues that proceed it, it’s so remarkably good. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 59, originally released June 16th, 2016.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning — So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Drew: Symbolism can be a potent tool for any artist, but its easy for a symbol to feel contrived, forcing the audience out of the work. We seek out and create meaning everywhere we look, so there’s no need for a writer to make those symbols too obvious. Curiously, Gatsby’s green light — perhaps the most famous symbol in all of American literature — is explained openly within the text. The reason we don’t reject this explanation as too on-the-nose is that it is Gatsby’s interpretation; that is, he recognizes and interprets the symbolic nature of the green light within his own life. In this way, Fitzgerald isn’t ignoring our ability to create meaning, but celebrating it by giving us a compatriot on the page. We’re looking for meaning, but so is Gatsby. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 59 offers an almost opposite approach to its symbols, emphasizing intention over interpretation, distancing the audience from the text in less-than-flattering ways. Continue reading →
Today, Ryan D and Taylor are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Bebop and Rocksteady Destroy Everything 1, originally released June 1st, 2016.
Ryan D: The premise is simple: what happens when two borderline sociopathic idiots get their hands upon a time travel device? Think Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure but with two mutated, monstrous gang members. But there’s actually quite a bit going on under the hood of this comic, exploring two beloved characters and making the reader ask some questions while still being a fun punch-up.
Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Archangel 1, originally released May 18th, 2016.
Michael: Over the course of recent pop culture history, it has become more and more well-known that time travel stories are difficult to pull off successfully. It’s become such a universal truth that there’s typically an in-story joke about how complicated and confusing time travel is. Likewise, we as an audience inevitably find ourselves questioning the “logic” of the time travel narrative – Grandfather Paradoxes, timeline alterations and basic logistical functions of the time machine in question. However, I think that we can suspend our disbelief for time travel the same way we can for the last son of Krypton – if there’s a worthwhile story at least. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 57, originally released May 4th, 2015.
Drew: Loath as I may be to name-check Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes remake, it represents the single most recognizable example of “Not His Sled” — the trope where a well-known twist is subverted in a remake, offering an entirely different twist (though they don’t necessarily have to be as perplexing as that Planet of the Apes ending). Less a remake than a freely interpreted riff on all of TMNT history, IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has mixed familiar elements with totally new ones to create something that is at once respectful of its history without being tied to it. In that way, “Not His Sled” has never quite fit — it’s never followed a specific plot so closely to imply a specific twist, but there are still plenty of expectations that can be thwarted. Issue 56 left us guessing who would have massacred those defenseless Utroms (along with Fugitoid), and while we didn’t have a ton of clues, our familiarity with the characters in play from other iterations of the Turtles seemed like a good indicator. Issue 57 reminds us that, as helpful as that familiarity may be, it is just as likely to be used against us. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Taylor Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Deviations 1, originally released March 30th, 2015.
Patrick: Iterating on mythology is common practice for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles team. You could even argue that iteration and exploration of the franchise’s mythology is not only something that IDW does incredibly, but is the whole point of the series. There are so many fan favorite characters, stories, locations and details taken from decades of comics, TV shows, movies, video games and action figures, all melded into one gracefully grotesque whole. So what happens when the team iterates on itself, looping back to re-examine a pivotal moment in their own history through a “what if” lens? The result is an insightful look at our heroes, but perhaps more importantly, it shows us just how delicately balanced all that mythology has been over the past five years. Continue reading →
Today, Mark and Drew are discussing Godzilla: Oblivion 1, originally released March 30th, 2016.
Mark: Godzilla In Hell was one of last year’s major surprises (we loved Godzilla In Hell 5 so much it landed on our year-end “Best Issues” list), so I couldn’t have been more pumped for the start of IDW’s new series Godzilla: Oblivion. Sure, the solicitation blurb sounds like standard sci-fi stuff:
A scientist has created a portal to another dimension—one where monsters rule supreme! A terrifying expedition begins into a world where hope has died and Godzilla is the unrivaled King of the Monsters. But what happens when a baby kaiju hitches a ride back to the original, monster-less dimension?
But, still, I had high hopes.
Unfortunately, Godzilla: Oblivion 1 follows up the bonkers genius of Godzilla In Hell in the most pedestrian way possible. Writer Joshua Fialkov and artist Brian Churilla, deliver a perfectly serviceable, if thin, Godzilla tale, with plenty of room for ample action and requisite wackiness in future issues. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 56, originally released March 23rd, 2015.
Patrick: I love the first two-thirds of most horror movies. That’s where the filmmakers have to establish an honest sense of both danger and mystery. That’ll all presumably pay-off in the final act, but it’s sort of remarkable how much more engaging the set up has to be than the pay off. Honestly, by the time a horror flick gets to that pay-off, you’re lucky if the characters do anything more than scream, run and die. So that tension must be expertly wound in order to make that climax mean anything. If you were to watch it in isolation, that scene of Ripley strapping herself in to blow the Alien out the airlock can be slow and almost drama-less. But after two hours of steadily unspooled threats and a growing list of unnerving questions, the scene is masterpiece of suspense. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 56 finds our storytellers quietly gathering those questions, slowly bringing its internal mystery to a fever pitch. Continue reading →