Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 15: Discussion

By Drew Baumgartner and Patrick Ehlers

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 15

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

Drew: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have always been the perfect outcasts in a medium made for outcasts. Well, saying that comics were “made” for outcasts isn’t entirely accurate, but it certainly had become a medium for outcasts — at least in the US — by the time the turtles were invented in the 1980s. We don’t really need to get into the causality of why comics fandom was perceived as a weird thing — the point is that it was. And in the age before the internet, someone with a “weird” hobby or enthusiasm for some obscure piece of pop culture might not know anyone else like themselves. While the rest of the world could connect over their religion, political party, or even local sports team, the average comics reader in 1984 might not have had anyone they knew who shared their interest. I don’t bring this up to pity the lot of the poor comics fan — heaven knows plenty of people were more isolated and actively persecuted — just to say that themes of not fitting in have always been an essential part of the TMNT makeup. This is a point that Erik Burnham and Sophie Campbell clearly understand, as their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe finds several characters seeking their place in the world. Continue reading

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Objections to the Drama in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 74

by Taylor Anderson

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

There’s a reason courtroom scenes are commonplace in stories these days. With a plaintiff’s life sometimes literally on the line, stakes are high and the margin for error is low. Additionally, in a lot of fictionalized courtroom stories, shocking truths are exposed and justice is served (or terribly undermined). Thus it comes as no surprise that the “Trail of Krang” is being labeled as the trial of the century, but does it actually pack the drama that we expect from a courtroom scene? Continue reading

The Infinite Loop Nothing But the Truth 1 Turns to the Opioid Crisis

by Patrick Ehlers

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

The original Infinite Loop series was pretty transparent: it was a sci-fi crusade for the rights and acceptance of LGBTQ folks. That was thinly draped in allegory: Ano wasn’t a target because she was gay, but because she was a time-travel anomaly. But the themes of tolerance and gay rights were prevalent and obvious, presented with a sci-fi veneer that was often better enjoyed than actually understood. I was trying to explain the series to our own Ryan Mogge last night, and while I had the themes and characters totally nailed down, I had a hell of a time trying to recall the plot. Nothing But The Truth firms up some of those logical conundrums while shifting its focus to another group caught in an infinite loop: those effected by the opioid crisis. Continue reading

Focus is a Strength in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 14

by Ryan Mogge

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

In real life, people who exhibit single-mindedness can be a bore. In fiction, that same behavior can work as a backdrop for more entertaining action. Erik Burnham and Sophie Campbell present two storylines in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 14, each with a woman at the center who provides the story’s drive if not its color. This is not a negative thing, Karai and Natsu both demonstrate a sense of purpose and commitment that pushes the story forward while also challenging the world around them to make room. Continue reading

Little is Not Enough in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dimension X 5

by Taylor Anderson

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dimension X 5

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

In his discussion about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dimension X 4, Patrick talked about how there was just too much going on in the issue.  If anything, the next issue in the series suffers from the exact opposite. Following the same format as the four issues that came before it, 5 has little more to offer than the issues which proceeded it which, at times, make the issue feel painfully thin. Continue reading

More is Too Much in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dimension X 4

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Before the Turtles land in Palmadise City (presumably where the grass is green and the girls are pretty), Michelangelo and Leonardo share their first impressions of the all-city planet:

The city is an overwhelming stimulant — there’s so much to see and to do, that our heroes just might end up losing sight of their goal. This almost ends up being a thesis statement for the creative team of Ryan Ferrier and Chris Johnson, who arguably have more narrative toys than they know what to do with. Continue reading

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