Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Macro Series: Michelangelo 1

by Patrick Ehlers and Spencer Irwin

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

Patrick: I love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but part of that love comes from my now-decades-long exposure to them. I can look at any one of these four brothers and see a multifaceted, well-rounded character. This is in spite of the fact that they were introduced to me in a cartoon theme song that was content with describing Raphael as “cool, but rude.” And, to be fair, they can be tremendously fun characters, even when boiled down to archetypes. With that in mind, it’s fascinating to see how writer Ian Flynnn and artist Michael Dialynas craft a story the requires our hero to be so much more than a party dude. Continue reading

Rage is Ugly in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 23

by Patrick Ehlers

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 23

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

I think we all need a little mental health check in. How are you doing? At the time I sit down to analyze Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 23, the only news I can catch on my social media feeds are the infuriating reports of migrant children separated from their technically-criminal parents. This is an unspeakably cruel policy, enacted by opportunistic monsters, and enforced by a criminally unrestrained agency. It makes me mad to the point of being physically sick. And powerless. Ryan Ferrier and Pablo Tunica’s “…And Out Came the Reptiles” story from TMNTU 23 perfectly captures this sickening feeling of desperation, inflicting the ugliness of Mondo Gecko’s impotent rage on the whole issue. Continue reading

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

Finding Another Way in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 80

By Spencer Irwin

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

Of the many crimes The Man of Steel committed against Superman, its greatest was having him snap Zod’s neck at the end of the film. Superman is a hero who not only doesn’t kill, but who is always supposed to find another way, a better way, to deal with his problems. Forcing him into a situation where his only option is to kill not only shows a grave misunderstanding of the character, but a lack of imagination on the part of the writers. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 80 places Splinter in the role of Man of Steel‘s Superman, the “hero” who believes he has no choice but to kill, but the Turtles have to believe they can find another way to deal with the Triceratons. Writers Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, and Tom Waltz reveal their priorities to be in line with the Turtles’ when they unveil that better way. Continue reading

Learning Your Parents Aren’t Perfect in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 79

By Taylor Anderson

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

When I was 15 my parents got a divorce, which, in so many words, sucked. I’m not going to bore you with all the details of my emotional state at that time, but one important and hard lesson I learned is that my parents aren’t perfect. The splitting up of a family is difficult and makes for ripe pickings for acknowledging the shortcomings of your loved ones. That being said, this lesson isn’t unique to me or other people whose parents have split. At some point, most children realize that their parents aren’t perfect and that they are indeed very flawed, just like we all are. This lesson is tough, but as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 79 shows, acknowledging it is a key step in the maturation process. Continue reading

Unfortunate Allies in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 78

By Patrick Ehlers

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

There are obvious advantages to teamwork. You could argue that that’s one of the defining qualities of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — they support each other, cover for each other’s weaknesses, and the quartet is stronger for it. But Mike, Leo, Don and Raph are brothers, and have earned the right to trust their eternal alliance through multiple lifetimes of shared experiences. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 78 goes outside our main heroes to explore the possible dangers of teamwork. Continue reading

Is That Chris Ware in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 18?

by Taylor Anderson

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

Chances are, if you’ve ever shown an interest in comics or graphic novels, you’ve come across Chris Ware’s work. In some ways, it could be argued that he’s America’s most well-known comic artist, given his widespread acclaim and the fact that his work frequently shows up in places like the New Yorker. However, one place I’d never expect to see his work is in a Teenage Mustant Ninja Turtles issue, but lo and behold: issue 18 of TMNT Universe. Continue reading

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