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

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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

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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters 1

Alternating Currents: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters 1, Drew and GregToday, Drew and Greg are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters 1, originally released October 22nd, 2014.

Drew: I think the word “love” is overused when it comes to pop-culture. I mean, I like Star Wars as much as the next guy, but it only took a few shitty prequels to reveal just how conditional that fondness was. More importantly, when we claim to “love” every bit of pop ephemera, the word looses it’s meaning — to paraphrase Syndrome when everything is loved, nothing is. As fond as my memories of The Magic School Bus or M*A*S*H might be, I’m going to reserve “love” for the few things that have a deeper, more profound meaning to me. I say this because I want to be perfectly clear what I mean when I express that I love Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Both properties played massive roles in my childhood; I saw the movies (dozens of times each), I watched the shows, I played with the action figures — heck, I even covered the theme songs for both in my band in high school. A crossover event like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters should be a match made in heaven, then, right?

Well, it turns out it may be a bit more complicated than simply smashing them together — especially if you want to do right by the characters and the universes they occupy. Fortunately, IDW has proven time and time again that they are very invested in doing their crossovers right, giving over the majority of this issue to explaining how these characters could be interacting in the first place. The only downside to all that explanation is that we don’t get much of that interaction in this issue, but that doesn’t stop writers Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz from delivering a ton of fun. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries 8: Shredder

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries 8: Shredder, originally released December 4th, 2013. Taylor: For many things, the magic is in the mystery. Not knowing how a magician sawed that lady in half makes the trick something more than it really is. We all know that the magician isn’t actually cutting a living person in two and putting them back together again. However, we don’t know exactly how they created that illusion and are left to wonder how exactly the trick (or illusion) was pulled off.  This blurs the line between reality and perception and lets the imagination fill in the gaps. Anything is possible in this space and therein lies the beauty of a magic show. Just so, the circumstances surrounding Oroku Saki’s death and rebirth have, up to this point, been shrouded in mystery. It’s been fun speculating just how the turtle’s age old enemy has defied death, but in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries 8: Shredder, we get some definite answers. With the illusion of his rebirth dispelled, it seems that the TMNT universe has lost a little magic of its own.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 28

tmnt 28

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 28, originally released November 27th, 2013.

Don’t it always seem to go/that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?

-Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

Drew: It’s easy to take things for granted. In our never-ending quest for the better, we often overlook the value of what we already have — especially if we’ve always had it. “Youth is wasted on the young,” as they say, which I’ve always taken to mean that you can only truly appreciate a carefree existence once you’ve lived a careful existence. Because kids have never lived in a world where their parents weren’t always there for them, they can’t really understand what it is their parents do for them in the first place. I’ve long felt the same way about Leonardo. He’s the leader because he’s always been the leader — I’ve never really understood what it is he brings to that role on the team (you know, besides having any of the more distinctive quirks of his brothers). City Fall has long featured some exploration of what life without Leo looks like, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 28 shows just how well the turtles work without him. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 27

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 27, originally released October 30th, 2013.

Taylor: In high school I ran track, an activity which was probably the product of your typical adolescent masochistic need to fit in and be cool. Running isn’t a fun sport and for the most part it’s pretty simple. Run faster than the other guy and you win. Despite these simple parameters surrounding track, there is at least a little bit of strategy that can help you win a race, namely: pacing yourself. Begin the mile run with a sprint and you’re bound to lose. Save all your gas for the last lap and you’re equally doomed. Ideally, you run at a pace that feels good and which happens to be faster than those around you. Save some extra juice for the final push near the end of the race and you could find yourself standing in the winners’ circle. Point is, pacing  yourself is important, whether we’re talking running, boozing, or comics. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 27, puts on a clinic on how to pace a story wonderfully and the result is an issue that is enthralling from start to finish.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 26

tmnt 26

Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 26, originally released September 25th, 2013.

Patrick: The Foot Clan is already an army – that’s sort of their whole shtick. The Ninja Turtles are another story all together. They’re a family. Their list of allies is pretty long, but, well – not all of those allies are immediately combat-ready. Lucky for them, The Foot seem hellbent on ridding the city of all other distractions before taking down the three remaining Turtles and their Rat father. What they might not be counting on is just how varied and awesome the Turtles’ friends are. Super scientists? CHECK. Badass brawlers? CHECK. Spies all over the city? CHECK. A potential mutant army, armed to the teeth? CHECK and also CHECK. These teams are moments away from squaring off, and our heroes’ bench is starting to look awesome. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 25

Today, Taylor and Ethan are discussing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 25, originally released August 28th, 2013.

Taylor: What does “epic” mean to you? Does it mean battles involving thousands of combatants? Does it mean something that lasts a long time? Or maybe it just means a truly huge hamburger? Whatever the word “epic” may mean to you personally, it’s almost certain that you’ve been exposed to it with more frequency in recent years. Ever since the Lord of the Rings came out, people have been thirsting for media that is more epic in scope and publishers and producers have been more than happy to supply them with it. After all, more media means more money, so why not provide the masses with their epic fix? But not all franchises really need or deserve the epic treatment, despite what many fans may think. The Hobbit movies, which will have a final run-time equaling its Lord of the Rings predecessor (speaking of movies here), is evidence of this enough. Considering this, we have to wonder if Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with its ambitiously sized cast of characters and numerous storylines, can handle the “epic” mantle. The 25th installment of this title seems to give leverage to one side of this argument so this question is: is TMNT epic or not?

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries Villains 5: Karai

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries Villains 5: Karai originally released August 21st, 2013. 

Taylor: Here at Retcon-Punch we like to yell about gender issues in comics a lot. While some might find the discussion boring, the fact is there are forces working in comics today that both promote and discourage gender equality. It’s not always the easiest discussion but it’s a necessary one in order for us all to progress in our understanding of how media sometimes perpetuates negative stereotypes. Given this state of affairs, it seems odd that one of our favorite series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so far has remained neutral in this conversation. In truly Swiss fashion, TMNT, has neither done anything to provoke our grief or our praise when it comes to gender issues, and that despite a bevy of female characters. However, one can only stay out of this conversation so long and fifth issue of the TMNT: Villains series finds itself in the Retcon-Punch crosshairs. But is that a good or a bad thing?

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