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

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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

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

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

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