Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles is a book adaptation of the TV show currently on Nickelodeon. It is designed to introduce readers to the turtles, develop their backstory, and hopefully create new viewers of the show.
The book opens with a one-page spread, showing the four turtles (Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo) and their sensei, the rat Master Splinter, introducing themselves and their main characteristics. For example, Michelangelo says, “I’m definitely the life of the party around here. I love video games, skateboarding, pranking the other guys, and most of all, pizza! Did someone order a swinging nunchuk smackdown? ‘Cause I’ve got one for you!”
The actual story opens on the turtles’ 15th birthday – or rather, the 15th birthday since they mutated. After recounting the story of their creation (a classic covered-in-toxic-goo story), Master Splinter finally agrees to let them leave the sewers and explore the surface world, also known as the streets of the city above them. Once in the city at night, they are overwhelmed by the sights and sounds confronting them. They inadvertently scare a pizza delivery guy, who drops a pizza in his haste to flee. It is their first taste of pizza, and it changes Michaelangelo’s life. Never has he tasted anything so delicious.
Donatello’s life is equally changed when he sees a girl, April O’Neil, being abducted. While the turtles try to rescue her, their inability to fight as a team allows the abductors to get away with April. They go back to their home in the sewers to regroup, confer with Master Splinter, and come up with a plan. While their plan is successful, it brings them to the attention of Shredder, once a friend of Master Splinter’s but now destined to become their archenemy.
The artwork is computer-generated pictures straight from the TV show. I’m not a big fan of the computer-generated 3-D art in this book. It is not trying to be realistic, but instead to make 3-D cartoons, which is not to my taste. There is nothing very creative about the art or layout here, but since it is identical to the TV show, it will be familiar to current viewers, and should help new viewers make the transition from the book to the show.
The book is geared to the young, with clear good vs. bad messages, as well as lessons about teamwork and honor. The plot is fairly solid. While it makes a few tweaks to the original 1970s comic’s origin story, it does a good job of staying true to its roots.