Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 60

tmnt 60

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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 59

Alternating Currents: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 59, Drew and Patrick

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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 56

tmnt 56

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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 55

tmnt 55

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 55, originally released February 24th, 2016.

Taylor: Interpersonal relationships are a hard thing. We’ve all judged and been judged on who we hang out with and the types of relationships we have with these people. Chances are, you’ve wondered why Person X would ever date Person Y or what Person A sees in Group B. The thing is, when you’re in a relationship, it’s hard to see it for what it is. It’s only after things get sufficiently good or sufficiently bad that we finally realize where the relationship stands. Basically, relationships of any type are hard for people. When you’re a mutant though, things are only tougher. Not only do you have your animal instincts to consider, but you have the ever shifting landscape of alliances and double-crosses to consider. TMNT 55 explores the idea of relationships and shows how they sometimes lift you up and sometimes bring you down. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 51

tmnt 51

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 51, originally released October 28th, 2015.

Taylor: One of my favorite places to eat at here in Chicago is called Cozy Noodles and Rice. It’s a little Thai place that’s cheap and has robots hanging on the wall. It also has a BYOB policy so it’s not uncommon for my friends and I to bring some beer or wine to enjoy with our meal. Thai food is really flavorful and spicy, however, so often I find that the taste of the alcohol I’m drinking clashes with the taste of the Thai. Separate, they are both delicious. But when combined they just don’t mix well. The lesson I’ve learned from this is the need to cleanse the palate after a heavy meal or thick drink. TMNT 51 is the first issue after the momentous issue 50, and in many ways it acts as a swig of water between two distinct tastes. It prepares us for a brand new turtle adventure while still letting us savor the events which proceeded it.

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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 23

tmnt 23

Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 23, originally released June 26th, 2013.

Patrick: One of the most beautiful things about IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series is the relationship it has with the franchise’s past. And that’s an insane past. TMNT have been rebooted and re-imagined so many times in their 30-year history, there’s really no such thing as a definitive take on the characters. You’ll never be able to get two TMNT fans to agree on what constitutes canon for them – there are just too many movies, video games, comics, television shows and elaborately staged action-figure set-pieces played out on my bedroom floor. More than Superman, more than Wolverine, who these characters are at their core is left to the individual reader. The second issue of CityFall takes that concept of subjective history and makes it arrestingly explicit as Leonardo is forced to recontextualize the adventures we’ve been reading for the last two years. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 22

tmnt 22Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 22, originally released May 28th, 2013.

Taylor: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a lot of descriptors in their name. While it’s always easy to remember that they are turtles and ninjas, it’s a little harder to remember that they are teenagers. I’m not sure what to attribute this forgetfulness to. Maybe it’s because most superheroes are in their 20s or 30s. Or maybe it’s because it’s hard to guess the age of a half man/half turtle based solely on appearance. I don’t know. Whatever the reason is, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the turtles have to deal with some heavy shit on a regular basis. While your average teen worries about school and sex, the turtles have to worry about ninja battles and saving the earth from an evil, alien brain. It’s not exactly a fair shake and given the circumstances it seems like only a matter of time before those hormones (turtle or otherwise) and inexperience kick in and hurt our half-shelled heroes. Issue 22 of TMNT begins the City Fall event and with it we see our turtles being challenged in new ways and asked to achieve things beyond their years. But are they up to the task?

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 21

tmnt 21

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 21, originally released April 24th, 2013.

Taylor: Cities are dirty places. Go to any major city and it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will see litter piled in gutters, blowing across streets, and randomly dispersed in unsuspecting front yards. It’s not that people in big cities like litter (does anyone?) or care about the environment any less than people in smaller urban areas. Rather, it’s simply a matter of when you throw a huge number of people together they create a huge amount of waste. Keeping all of this waste together can be a hard thing to do, thus in cities like Chicago, my base of operations, litter and dirtiness are just something you get used to. This grime that accumulates in big cities gives them an unmistakable urban feel which most people can easily recognize, whether they have ever lived in such an environment or not. Kevin Eastman recognizes this aspect of cities and it is reflected in issue 21 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which he both wrote and drew. The result is an issue that realigns the series with a new plot while at the same establishing a dark and ominous tone for the future.

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