Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles volume 2
(collecting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #5-8)
“Enemies Old, Enemies New”
STORY: Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz
WRITER: Tom Waltz
ARTISTS: Dan Duncan & Mateus Santolouco
COLORIST: Ronda Pattison
LETTERER: Shawn Lee
EDITOR: Bobby Curnow
COLLECTION EDITORS: Justin Eisinger & Alonzo Simon
COLLECTION DESIGN: Shawn Lee
COVER ART: Dan Duncan
COVER COLORS: Ronda Pattison
When the first four issues of the comic came out I was curious, and found myself really liking this newest take on the Heroes In A Halfshell. Being taken by surprise I didn’t pre-order the next storyline. So I went to the trade to fill that hole in my collection. In this version we learn the rest of the Turtles and Splinter’s origins, that they are reincarnations of Feudal Japanese. Hamato Yoshi (which fans know is either Splinter or his pet, depending on the continuity) hated the direction that Oroku Saki was taking the Foot Clan and spoke out. Saki sent assassins to kill him and his family, only getting Yoshi’s wife, Tang Shen. Fleeing with his sons instead of seeking revenge, since this was his wife’s dying wish, the Hamato family lived in peace until the day the Foot and Saki caught up with them, slaughtering all five. Personally I never liked this part of the new origin. As Donatello points out, why reincarnate as a rat and four turtles half a world away? I guess it could be Yoshi’s vow of vengeance as readers of the IDW series now know Saki was himself resurrected as the Shredder (which is not yet known by these issues) but it just felt unnecessary. The original comic and the first two cartoons (I don’t know the full story of the current series) handled things much better I thought.
I do like that the Turtles are presented with their own headbands, explaining all of them wearing red (like in the original comic–at least on the covers) was due to it being the favorite color of their lost brother, Raphael. (He was long since missing in the first story arc after they all escaped the lab they were mutated in.) Raph also gets his signature sais, having come fast in his ninjitsu training. However, Old Hob knows where they live and Baxter gives them his Mouser robots (in this version a planned IED hunter rather than a crime tool or solving New York City’s rat problem, a change I don’t mind) to fight off the Turtles while Hob catches Splinter. Splinter has a purified form of the mutation serum in his blood which Baxter needs for Krang’s supersolder project. (Krang is way different from the cartoon, more of a threat and pulling more influence from the original Utroms from the comics and second cartoon.) He is successful, which leads into the next arc, which is where I started following again. You can find the reviews in the Today’s Comic section of the site.
I also like that Casey and April meet as April needs to learn self-defense while Casey needs a tutor. It works out and as they compare notes Casey figures out April has a history with his mutated friends, bringing her to the lair just after the fight. And in typical April fashion she faints after seeing the Turtles. (This happened in everything except I think the new cartoon when she meets Splinter and the Turtles for the first time, so it’s tradition.) It’s a good way for the two to meet and I like where they were going before I had to stop picking comics up.
Overall, the only problem I had with this arc was the forced-in reincarnation subplot. The rest of the story beats worked, the art is really good (and the character models were their own design rather than mimic the cartoon like they did last I saw–IDW would later make a series based on the cartoon), and I just really enjoyed it. You should really look into this series if you haven’t already.