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.
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Mogo are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 20, originally released March 20th, 2013.
Patrick: I’m a realist. I believe in that which we can observe and measure and quantify. I don’t like the term ‘atheist’ because it defines my beliefs in terms of what I don’t believe (i.e., God). But I also don’t like the term ‘skeptic’ because it implies that there’s some force of will out there in the universe trying to convince me that one reality is true, but I’m just to wily to fall for its tricks. Fiction has a habit of shitting on skeptics – the instant you meet the non-religious scientist in a movie that says “… but that’d be impossible,” you know that whatever he just said is SO TOTALLY GOING TO HAPPEN. God, ghosts, magic, you name it – they all end up being real in the third act (unless you’re talking Scooby-Doo, then all bets are off). Donatello has served as this voice of skeptic dissent throughout IDW’s run of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While reincarnation makes for an interesting story about turtle ninjas, I never liked that Donny’s doubt would have to be somehow wrong-headed. Amid all the bombast of climactic interdimensional warfare, Donny gets an answer that is astonishingly satisfying, both to him and to me.
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 19, originally released February 20th, 2013.
Drew: One of the things we love about fiction is the opportunity it affords us to live vicariously through its heroes. This is a feeling familiar to anyone who’s walked out of a movie theater feeling like they could fly, or at least swing from some vines. That’s all well and good when you’re being introduced to these characters for the first time, but that’s decidedly not the situation Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles finds itself in. A comic written by and for people who grew up playing with Turtle action figures, wearing Turtle pajamas, and chewing (and accidentally swallowing) Turtle bubble gum has the potential to cash in on those connections in fascinating ways, amping up that sense of vicariousness to euphoric levels. Be it repairing a futuristic robot, piloting an alien tank, or more traditional ninja action, issue 19 finds the Turtles living out all of their (and by extension, our) wildest dreams. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 18, originally released January 23rd, 2013.
Taylor: Whether it be in the world of writing or the world of art (hell, even in the 9-5 workplace) consistency is something that is difficult for the average person to achieve. Perhaps this statement should be clarified: it is hard to be consistently good at something. It goes without saying that doing things poorly on a regular basis is easy, as doing so requires virtually no effort. However, to create something that is continually good is no easy task. Just take a look at the comic books that litter the shelves of your digital or real-world comic shop. How many of those titles are good month in and month out? How many never have an off issue? How many never let you down? There is perhaps no greater complement that can be paid to a series then that it is consistently good. To craft an issue that is always on point is truly the mark of a great creative team, and something that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has always been able to claim. Yet in the 18th issue of the series some fault lines are beginning to appear and the question is, is this an aberration or the sign of something more troubling?
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant ninja Turtles 17, originally released December 19th, 2012.
Taylor: There comes a point when reading anything that is speculative in nature where the author asks the reader to take a leap of faith. In The Lord of the Rings, the reader has no choice but to accept that magic and elves are every-day occurrences. Similarly, in Hebert’s Dune, you have to accept that spice is a wonder-drug and faster than light travel travel is physically possible. Most reasonable readers recognize these elements as fantastic and they also realize they are simply part of the universe that the author is creating. These readers also realize that to deny the validity of the fantastical elements of a plot would lessen their reading experience. Those who read Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are all too familiar with taking this leap of faith in their readings — just look at the title and main characters of the series. So when the title asks its readers to take an even larger leap of faith than ever before, perhaps it is worth discussing.