By Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz, Mateus Santolouco, & Ronda Pattison
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was an original concept introduced in comic books in 1984, but their worldly success is most often credited to their hit TV series. When making comparisons to the Turtles of today to their original concepts in the 80’s, most comparisons are made to the show, rather than the comic. The collaborative work of the many writers and artists who contributed to this book is successful in capturing the look and feel of the Turtles’ world, in reference to both the show and original series. Even Kevin Eastman himself (an original co-creator of TMNT) had a hand in the story for this series, which only adds to the quality and loyalty this book has had to the original material. That said there were a few things here and there that prevent this book from being fantastic, even though it stayed true to its sources.
There are a lot of things happening in the Turtles’ lives so far that make for an interesting plot that could potentially take the reader in many directions. It is much more complex than one would be used to in a TMNT story. The old days of “good guys versus bad guys” and “Shredder is their only villain” are over. Replacing the simplistic stories are the diverse plots surrounding multiple characters that take the reader to various settings throughout just one issue. While the overall surrounding storyline seems complex and well divorced, this individual issue failed to capture those complexities, as what we got was a simple story with some mindless action sequences that felt like they were added to the script just for the sake of having them.
In terms of look and design, TMNT #35 looks as though its leap straight out of the cartoons, or movies, or comics, or whatever. Essentially, the character designs are spot on and really justify this book’s loyalty to the material. The facial expressions and dynamic fight scenes by Santolouco create an appealing overall look, and the colors by Pattison add volume to create a nice look for their world. Each character, especially the Turtles, look and sound exactly as they should, as the writing team displays the Turtles, and each of their respective personality traits, perfectly.
TMNT #35 stays true to its source material in look, aesthetic and characters, but falls short when it comes to the actual story. Undeniably, the plot will progress in further installments as there is just too much going on in all the characters’ lives to keep the story dull, but this particular issue just didn’t capitalize on all that story. With mild story progression, some action scenes included just for more action, and very little character development, this issue felt more like a setup for what’s to come, but at least the overall visual design is good.