As a self described TMNT nut, it’s a bit embarrassing for me to admit that I haven’t seen a lick of the animated series currently airing on Nickelodeon. I know that seems blasphemous to the Turtles faithful, but really it’s the fault of Hulu Plus for being a filthy tease. Luckily, IDW has taken pity on me and my poor, cable-less heart as they bring the animated series to comics with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures.
What writer Kenny Byerly has done with this series is actually quite impressive, as the book manages to appeal to a wide demographic. Fans of the show will undoubtedly enjoy the rampant humor throughout, while die hard Shell Heads will appreciate the different personalities of their favorite Turtles. Even those new to the universe will have reason to pick it up, as the story is actually pretty damn good!
Byerly wisely starts the issue assuming that you’re already up to snuff with your Turtles lore, dropping us readers right into the sewers. He sets the tone immediately, and while definitely kid-centric, the issue never devolves into pure kiddie drivel. Not having seen the show, this issue actually reminded me of the TMNT comics of my youth with its bright colors and fun designs. This is about as high a compliment I can give to a series like this, as the kid in me was grinning from ear to ear.
Also, let’s talk about the lead in this tale – April! I’m not sure how prominent a role she plays in the animated series, but it’s actually kind of fun having the Turtles play second fiddle to April’s adventures. Determined to prove that she can hold her own with the guys, April decides to tag along with Donatello on a routine scavenging mission, despite the misgivings of Papa Leo. Of course, the mission proves anything but routine, and soon April and the dudes have to scuttle their way out of a jam, Turtle style. Various moments of tomfoolery and ninja action unfold, and just in time for pizza! Despite its shenanigans, the issue has a level of maturity to it that I found appealing as April (and the Turtles) learns she’s more capable than she realized.
On art, Dario Brizuela does a nice job capturing the look of the characters and their world. There are definitely a few moments that are a bit over the top, but I’m assuming those moments are prevalent in the show as well so it didn’t bug me. Though a comic, these animated adventures still have an episodic feel, and Brizuela proves adept at telling the story in a way that would make the animators proud. I do have to ask; why is Donnie the only one with a head like a lima bean? Poor guy gets all the brains, none of the looks….
TMNT: New Animated Adventures is a great comic that should appeal to all ages. Reading the book made me want to watch the show (well played, Nickelodeon), so I imagine a trip to Target is in my near future. This first issue is a blast, and in a time where heroes are taking themselves too seriously it’s nice to just see some having fun.