Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtles-Volume-4-Sins-Of-The-FathersThe continued popularity and cross-media saturation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise has involved a bit of unappealing revisionism, but few can quibble with IDW Publishing’s reimagined series. Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo are still a loveable bunch with individual personalities. Fans will find the series engaging and wonderfully illustrated, and they will perhaps be relieved that IDW manages to update the series without venturing into blasphemous territory.

Sins of the Fathers (vol. 4) collects individual issues 13-16, but if this is your first foray into the TMNT universe, rest assured that you can jump right into this collected edition. The plot centers on mysterious attacks perpetrated by a monster named Slash, causing public fear and a suspicion of all things green that drives our heroes underground. Under the tutelage of Master Splinter, these four individuals must learn to work together to overcome their dangerous foe, who is conditioned to hunt and kill; simultaneously, notoriously hot-headed Raphael realizes that his loyalty to his friends can cloud his judgment. This story includes many familiar characters, such as April O’Neil, Casey Jones, and a personal favorite: Krang, whose presence advances the forthcoming Neutrino War storyline, but also treats us to a brief backstory.

Andy Kuhn replaces Dan Duncan as the primary artist on this run, and his choppy style and goofball, grinning turtles are a stark change from his predecessor. While Kuhn has met with some criticism in the past regarding his approach to the Turtles in the Michelangelo micro-series, I found his style has improved and enjoyed his perspective, especially his depiction of Krang.

Krang War (vol. 5) broadens the mythology of the new TMNT universe and successfully furthers ideas from the old cartoon that never lived up to their potential. In this collection, the Turtles save the planet of Neutrino and its royal family, but lose a crucial aspect of the battle: Professor Honeycutt, the “Fugitoid,” or fugitive robot. Honeycutt is a scientist whose mind was transferred into his working robot, and he is the only one capable of saving the Earth—except he’s just been kidnapped by Krang. Star Trek fans—as well as those who like to debate whether teleportation transfers a person or recreates them elsewhere—will especially enjoy a conversation between Honeycutt and Donatello. In a manner that seems rather nonchalant, Honeycutt reveals that originals are destroyed in teleportation and a copy is constructed. Likewise, Don seems perhaps too willing to accept that his original died in Central Park and he’s nothing but a clone. Philosophical discussions and nostalgic attachments aside, I think the Krang War arc is a bit bumpy in the pacing department, but I won’t deny that I really enjoyed it.

Ben Bates provides the artwork for these issues, but I suspect his duties for other titles like the Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man crossover at Archie Comics called him away. To date, I think he’s drawn the best Krang. Speaking of which, the Turtles’ long-awaited showdown with Krang was most satisfying. While our beloved Turtles get some licks in, Krang stands victorious. There are no easy wins for our heroes, and having Krang win this round proves he will be a formidable and interesting foe down the road.

After the dimension-hopping Krang War, the Turtles return home to New York for a more gritty and personal encounter with the Foot Clan. Can they survive the ninja gang wars that have started to erupt all over the city? Featuring Shredder and his gang, City Fall (vol. 6) tries to tie up a myriad of lingering plot threads from various micro-series. The issue hits the ground running when Raphael and Casey Jones are ambushed by a large group of Foot Soldiers, led by Karaj. Our heroes are brutally overpowered: Casey is kidnapped and Raphael barely escapes to gather his compatriots. The Turtles mount a rescue effort that is complicated by Raphael’s traditional hot-headedness. In keeping with the recent trend, Raphael is the turtle that receives the primary focus in this issue. It’s his relationships with Casey and Leonardo that make up the emotional core in this series, and the conflict between the brothers reaches a boiling point as the reader faces the possibility that a main character could die.

This is the first issue in which Mateus Santolouco takes the helm on art duties. He drew the Secret History of the Foot Clan mini-series, so he’s no stranger to drawing the Turtles. I enjoyed the individuality he gave them, as each one has a distinctive mask and look. Santolouco’s approach to the other characters is equally expressive and well-rendered. This is a very action-heavy issue and the sequences are easy to follow, exciting, and fun to look at.

IDW’s superb reimagining has kept Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles relevant and interesting, though many complain that the unresolved plot lines in various micro-series have the potential to bog down character development. Regardless, these are all well-written and beautifully illustrated stories that keep readers engaged and waiting for more.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Books 4-6
Vol 4: Sins of the Fathers
by Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by Andy Kuhn
ISBN: 9781613775684

Vol 5: Krang War
by Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by Ben Bates
ISBN: 9781613776407

Vol 6: City Fall, pt 1
by Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by Kevin Eastman, Mateus Santolouco
ISBN: 9781613777831
IDW, 2013

  • Richie Graham

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support!

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