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

Donatello’s Peace in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 22

By Taylor Anderson

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

It’s always easy to say that peace is worth fighting for when we’re talking about cessation of hostilities between two groups of people. It’s not quite as easy to say that peace is worth fighting for when the type of peace being discussed is the inner kind. While the idea of inner-peace is always talked about with a special reverence, it’s uncommon to find it placed at the forefront of importance. That means a lot of inner turmoil for a lot of people, but what if both inner and outer peace could be achieved at the same time? If that sounds difficult, it is — just ask Donatello in TMNT Universe 22. Continue reading

Peace is Hard-Won in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 21

By Taylor Anderson

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

Yesterday, surprising news broke that the Trump administration had secret meetings with North Korea and that it now intends to engage the estranged country in peace talks. This comes as a particular shock because it was not too long ago that Trump and Kim Jong-un were exchanging insults, the likes of which caused the Doomsday clock to tick forward in anticipation of some sort of nuclear incident. It’s hard to say whether these talks will actually take place, or, if they do, if they’ll be productive at all given the disposition of the two leaders involved. But should it happen, it will be peace hard-won, just like the peace between the Triceratons and Utroms in TMNT Universe 21. Continue reading

There Are Things Only Comics Can Do in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 20

By Taylor Anderson

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

Taylor: Read enough comic books and you eventually begin to take for granted just how magical they can be. This is true of most things in life, whether it be eating pizza or using the internet, but this lesson is especially true for me with comics. When I think about it, the fact that sequential art makes any sort of sense to the human brain — that we can essentially fill in the blanks between panels — is nothing short of amazing. But this isn’t the only unique aspect of comic book making involving paneling, as TMNT Universe 20 so wonderfully demonstrates. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 19: Discussion

By Taylor Anderson and Drew Baumgartner

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

Ninja: noun \  nin·ja  \ ˈnin-jə \ a person trained in ancient Japanese martial arts and employed especially for espionage and assassinations

Taylor: After all the numerous battles the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been through, it’s become easy to forget one fourth of their namesake. No, it’s not that they’re teenagers — Raphael’s temper and Michelangelo’s lightheartedness remind us of that every issue. The part of their name that’s easy to forget, rather, is the “ninja.” Even though each turtle knows ninjitsu and uses shurikens, they frequently eschew one of the fundamental traits of being ninja — stealth — and this makes them more akin to warriors than ninja. So what happens when they’re called out on not being the thing they were trained to become since birth? Continue reading

Challenges Posed by Starting in the Middle in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 72

by Ryan Mogge

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

When a story opens in media res, it’s a promise in two parts. First, the audience is given a glimpse at the excitement of the climax, a bit of a tease for when is it to come. The second and more tricky element is that by opening up at that point and then going back, the writer is telling us that the story of how they got there is somehow as interesting as what is to come. Often, there is a heavy layer of dramatic irony on the proceedings (preceedings?), characters laying out boundaries that we know they will cross, assurances of “what could go wrong?” when we have the exact answer, etc. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 72, the “Before.” section is more of a recap and road map, making it feel superfluous.
Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Usagi Yojimbo 1: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Spencer Irwin

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

I grew up in Europe — where the history comes from. Oh yeah. You tear your history down man: “30 years old? Let’s tear it down and build a car park here.” I have seen it in stories — I saw a program on something in Miami. They said “we’ve redecorated this building to how it looked over 50 years ago!” People going: “No! Surely not, no! No one was alive then!”

Eddie Izzard, Dressed To Kill

Patrick: One of the things we here at Retcon Punch find so impressive about IDW’s run with the Ninja Turtle series is the storytelling team’s commitment to remixing, recontextualizing, and reimagining the franchise’s immense history. Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, Kevin Eastman and a murders row of artists and writers have been pulling in influences from over thirty years of comics, TV shows, movies, video games, action figures, music videos, stage shows — you name it. It’s an impressive feat, but is also an exercise that rings weirdly hollow when compared to what Stan Sakai has always done with Usagi Yojimbo. The Long-Eared Samurai has been the protagonist in remixed stories from Japanese folklore for decades — literally as long as the TMNT have been around. With this latest crossover, Sakai again proves he is the king of narrative remix, reaching back way further than 1984 for his source material. Continue reading

Effectively Establishing a Large Cast of Distinct Characters in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 71

by Spencer Irwin

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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 71 is a masterclass in quickly establishing an entire group of distinct, memorable characters (seriously, Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, Kevin Eastman, Dave Wachter, and Ronda Pattison should be teaching a class on it). This issue has the unenviable task of finally introducing the “Pantheon” in full, but it’s a challenge the creative team tackles with gusto, making each new character immediately distinct, their personalities and relationships with their siblings immediately clear. It not only makes a heaping helping of new information easy to digest, but fun to as well. Continue reading

Choice is a Privilege in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 11

by Ryan Mogge

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 11

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

Choice is a privilege. It’s easy to take that for granted when facing horrible options, but self-determination is worth something. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 11, Rich Douek and Aaron Conley explore this idea through the characters of Ray and Dreadmon. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 10

Today, Spencer and Ryan M. are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 10, originally released May 24th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: We live in a world with more distractions than ever. It’s easy to see why — in a world as tumultuous, unjust, and downright screwed up as the one we’re all stuck with today, people need distractions (be they media, parties, sports, etc.) in order to retain their sanity. Too many distractions, though, can have the opposite effect, clouding our judgment and obscuring who we truly are. Some even use these distractions as a form of self-medication, trying to run from problems that are only going to get worse if not faced. Sophie Campbell, Bobby Curnow, and Pablo Tunica’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 10 explores both those situations, helping its heroes find strength in what’s real, not glamorous, excessive distractions. Continue reading