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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 Annual

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By Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz & Ronda Pattison

Co-creator Kevin Eastman once again takes the reigns on the annual issue. Fans of the classic comics will feel right at home! This book was teased in the mini-series Turtles in Time, which introduced the character Renet and her time traveling scepter. In this story, the turtles are recruited to help bring an end to an oppressive galactic battle tournament. In ­typical fashion, they fight their way to revolution.

It is neat to see Kevin Eastman handling scripting and art duties; without a doubt this feeds into the nostalgia of many aficionados. He really sets an atmospheric tone with Splinter’s narration on the opening page. Sadly, this was the most impactful part of the comic.

Eastman writes dialogue for the rest of the characters with a lot of 80s/90s jargon, even the extraterrestrial races. This can take readers right out of the story. Even new characters are given terrible names like Council Member Simultaneous. Also, Renet and others are made out to be very ditzy/dimwitted. Their conversations drive this point home throughout the issue. Basically, beating a dead horse. Now, some may say that’s the point and the creative team was being satirical as the original TMNT comic was, but if that is the case, then it was poorly executed. Kevin may be strong at developing story concepts and ideas, but the actual scripting should be left to others.

Readers who dig the grit and roughness of Eastman’s artwork will be breathless. It’s a great showcase of his talent, in color and grayscale. Those who find it off-putting will have a difficult time traversing the material. Ronda Pattison’s coloring in the first half of the comic helps in this department a lot. She breathes vibrancy into the pages that makes one wish she continued her work when the turtles landed in a new world.

This comic was not for me,  I powered through it since I’m a fan. Other readers will love this annual just for Kevin Eastman’s work alone. It all just depends on one’s tastes and sensibilities. The story is almost self-contained, so it isn’t exactly crucial to the overall storyline, at least not yet. If you are a completionist, though, and want to know everything going on in IDW’s TMNT-verse, then pick it up.

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