Story: Tom Waltz & Kevin Eastman
Artist: Dan Duncan & Kevin Eastman (layouts)
Release Date: September 21, 2011
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 is more fast paced than the debut issue, putting the spotlight on Raph, April, and Splinter, and should ease the nerves of any remaining skeptics about this reboot. Just a warning- there are some spoilers ahead.
[Click here for a review of #1]
The choice to give Raph the focus in the opening scene was the right move. He’s arguably the most popular Turtle, and is typically the one who gets spotlighted in solo adventures, so to show us his skills and get into his character a little more adds a layer to the story that was missing last time. Sure, he’s only beating on a drunk, abusive father, but the conversation he has with Casey Jones following the encounter reveals much of what we were left wondering about in the first issue.
When things shift to April and Splinter 15 months earlier, we get teased about the the reason for the mutagen existing, and it’s military in nature. This really ups the ante for things to come, and would explain why the Turtles are ninja masters in such a short period of time since their mutation. Every great TMNT story needs to have an attempted April O’Neil mugging, and we get that here as two ninja break into April’s place of employment, Baxter Stockman’s lab, to retrieve the Turtles. If the ninja are indeed of The Foot, their new look is fitting.
One of the main questions from last issue was why is Raph wandering the streets alone eating garbage? Following the attempted April mugging in Stockman’s lab, the answer is eluded to. The ninja had the four Turtles in a sac and were making a rooftop getaway when Splinter, still a normal rat at this point, intervenes, resulting in he and the Turtles laying in a pool of spilled mutagen in an alley. A stray feline (Old Hob?), takes off with a lone Turtle in his mouth before the mutagen kicks in. In the scene with Casey, Raph admits that he doesn’t know his name, so there’s a chance that he has never even met his borthers, Leo, Mike, or Don since being a normal Turtle.
There were some amusing throwbacks in this one, like April wearing a yellow shirt and the two security guards at Stockman’s lab strongly resemble Vernon Fenwick and Burne Thompson. You may remember them as April’s flamboyant co-worker and cranky boss at Channel 6 News in the 1980s cartoon show. Speaking of throwbacks, check out this variant cover which is a direct salute to Daredevil #189:
Also, for all of you collectors out there, Jetpack Comics is offering an exclusive variant cover of this issue that’s only available through their store, and it’s way cool! Shop owner, Ralph DiBernardo, has some cool history with Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman, the creators of the TMNT, so click here and scroll down a little bit to pick up your copy. I already have mine!
While a fast read, artist Dan Duncan and writer Tom Waltz are finding their beats, making everything flow well and keeping the excitement of this relaunch very fresh. Duncan’s stylized art is quickly growing on me, and Waltz is successfully finding the Turtles’ individual voices. He’s doing a great job of avoiding the goofy pitfalls of the original cartoon, too. The set-up for Casey Jones and Raph kicking ass together is something I can’t wait to see go down, and I’m looking forward to discovering what April has been up to all this time, as each of her scenes so far have taken place in the past.
While for now the Four aren’t one, the slow build with each character is working, and when they finally get together, that moment will be awesome. Keep reading this series Turtles fans, it’s looking like it’s going to be a great run.
For more TMNT action, click here!