Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 81: Discussion

By Drew Baumgartner and Taylor Anderson

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 81

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

Drew: Homicidal mutants. Power-hungry ninja clan leaders. Aliens bent on world domination. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise has had a ton of villains over the years, but they all tend to share one thing in common: obvious evilness. IDW’s incarnation has done a great deal to complicate and question the morals and perspectives of those familiar villains, but never so much to make the Turtles frame the choices of their adversaries as “misguided.” Which is precisely why Splinter’s slow heel turn has added so much depth to the series. It’s fine for the Turtles to be battling an evil, cackling warmonger when they’re appearing on a Saturday morning cartoon, but in this age where people seem to believe there are “very good people on both sides” of every argument, we may need more nuanced depictions of evil. The road to Hell, they say, is paved with good intentions, which is all anyone seems to have in this series at the moment. You know, besides the Rat King. Continue reading

Advertisements

Understanding History is Key in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 77

By Taylor Anderson

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 77

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

The past is a powerful thing that both enchants and horrifies. It’s amazing that a simple picture of a familiar place can bring on nostalgia. On the other hand, the past can be misremembered as being better than it was, leading people down a dangerous path to recreate a time and place that never existed. The Triceratons, who haven’t had a home planet for ages, know their history, and unfortunately for Earth, that means they long for a time, the Creatacious period, that they feel is rightfully theirs. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 76: Discussion

By Drew Baumgartner and Ryan Mogge

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 76

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

Drew: If there’s a sci-fi equivalent to “boy meets girl…” it might reasonably be “alien race comes in peace, humans react badly.” Where it goes from there depends a great deal on what type of story is being told, but the premise of an earnestly peaceful alien race forced to defend itself against panicky earthlings is full of the kind of themes sci-fi writers love, vilifying the xenophobia and shortsightedness that hold humanity back. Indeed, the human attack on the aliens is so despicable, storytellers have to go out of their way to make the aliens seem somehow suspicious — perhaps they look scary or seem to be keeping some kind of secret from us. That is, while we may come to sympathize with the aliens, there’s often some ambiguity to their intentions. This is decidedly not the case for the Triceratons in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 76, whose intentions are clear to everyone — especially the reader — from the moment they arrive on Earth. It sets them up as the unequivocal good guys, allowing Agent Bishop to really cut loose as the issue’s villain. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 49

tmnt 49

Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 49, originally released August 19th, 2015.

“Let’s get ready to rumble!”

-Michael Buffer, Ring Announcer

Patrick: Michael Buffer started using his signature phrase in 1984. It’s short, it’s sweet, and belted out in Buffer’s distinct tenor, it can bring a crowd to their feet. The dude trademarked the phrase in 1992, and since then, he’s gotten paid for every single time it’s used. It’s estimated that the phrase is worth $400 million – that’s $80,000,000 per word. Why should a single sentence — no matter how powerful — ever be worth that kind of money? Because the pageantry involved in the pre-fight ritual ends up being more important that the fight itself. Hype is an art form. No one calls out “let’s get ready to rumble!” in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 49, but the issue is so singularly obsessed with hyping one specific rumble that it’d be easy to forgive the creative team for invoking Buffer’s cash cow. And even though they haven’t: I’m ready.

Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 48

tmnt 48

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 48, originally released July 29th, 2015.

Taylor: Time is hard concept to understand. On the one hand, it’s totally an invention of humankind and wouldn’t exist without us. On the other hand, it does seem like things more or less move temporally in some fashion independent of human thought. That’s basically the second law of thermodynamics. The point is, time is a complicated concept. It should be no surprise then that time can be difficult to illustrate in comics. It’s such an abstract concept that it’s not always easy to show readers. However, one of the things comic book artists are experts at is showing the movement of time in and between panels. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 48, artist Cory Smith puts on a clinic on how to show the passage of time. Subsequently, this issue is beautiful to read.

Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 46

tmnt 46

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 46, originally released May 28th, 2015.

Taylor: Long form storytelling is all the rage right now. Aside from the occasional sitcom, it’s rare to find a medium where long, syndicated story telling isn’t the norm. While TV shows are a prime example of this trend, podcasts, novels, and even movies are now using multiple installments to tell a grand story. The neat thing about this is that it allows writers and artists to craft a complex story with complex characters that would go unexplored in a shorter format. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, now in its 46th issue, certainly qualifies as a long story and while that may no longer be unique in today’s world, what does stand out about it is just how expertly crafted this grand narrative has been put together. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 45

tmnt 45

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 45, originally released April 29th, 2015.

Taylor: Teaching figurative language to my students is always a fun task. Middle schoolers are some of the weirdest people you’ll ever meet and thereby one shouldn’t be surprised by how weird their similes, metaphors, and alliterations become. They almost seem to have a knack for such connecting ideas that feels completely random. This randomness, however, doesn’t serve them well when they try to figure out the meaning of an idiom, or turn of phrase. For example, they would have no idea how to figure out what the term “one-trick pony” means. It’s not that they’re dumb, they just don’t have the experience and knowledge to draw that sort of conclusion yet. So, if I were to describe to them that TMNT tries to make a one-trick pony perform a second trick and fails, they wouldn’t get it. Sadly, that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Continue reading

Utrom Empire 1

utrom empire 1

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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries Villains 3: Old Hob

old hob 1

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries Villains 3: Old Hob originally released June 19th, 2013. 

Taylor: Cats always land on their feet. Or at least that’s what they do in the popular consciousness. While this old adage might not be as true as many believe, there does seem to be some serious science behind it. Youtube has a plethora of videos showing off the twists and turn cats go through while falling to ensure they land on their feet. Also, as a species, cats have proven to be fairly adept at landing themselves in fortuitous situations. Since the time of ancient Egypt cats have been man’s second best friend right after the dog. Wherever humans exist, there are bound to be cats in their homes and roaming their streets. Cats are survivors and because of this, none us should have been surprised when it was revealed that Ol’ Hob survived being double crossed by Baxter Stockman. But as we find out in the TMNT villains micro-series, this double cross is just one in a series of events where Hob is thrust into a bad situation, only to once again land squarely on his feet.

Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries Villains 2: Baxter Stockman

baxter stockman 1

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.

Continue reading