While vegging online the other day, Stephan IMed me and asked me if I’d be willing to help him out by reviewing an upcoming issue of Tales. I told him of course, seeing as how I hadn’t posted anything substantial in awhile. (Heck, I still have 3 issues of Turtle Soup left to review.) As to give me a little more time, he handed me responsibility of reviewing issue 61, produced by the creative team of Tristan Jones and Andres Ponce (when I realized that tid-bit I was even more excited. I heard these guys were good.) Alright. Enough exposition, on to the review.
So as to keep this a from being too spoiler-ific, I’m gonna just break the issue down into 2 parts, art and story. I’m not going to tell the story, you’ll have to read it for yourself, I’m just going to “grade” it. (Boy, this is gonna be rough…where do I come off, right?)
Andres’ art is very impressive, lots of great detail and gritty images. The Turtles are as lean and green as ever, leaping into lots of great super-hero action poses, that don’t bend the laws of physics. The characters are also recognizable. I know, what kind of odd praise is that, but let me regale you with a story. You see last week my fiancé was in town and we went flea marketing. At one store I found a black and white one shot comic called Xeno-Men (I know, original right?) Anyway, in this book it was hard to distinguish any 2 characters from another. Here, Andres, also in black and white style, uses shading to make characters distinct, even the four Turtles, whither it be with costuming or other identifying marks. I’d probably give the art a 5 out of a possible 5. What can I say, I’m not hard to impress. Kidding.
I liked this story. No easier way to say it. It was action packed, but also had some character moments. The story picks up from Tristan and Andres last “Tale” and I have to admit, I didn’t read it. (My local comic shop doesn’t carry TMNT books.) But despite that, I was more than able to enjoy the “kick butt ninja action.” Trist also adds a lot “bleeped” profanity, making the book a bit grittier and, dare I say, PG-13. (Actually if you un-bleeped the bleeped words, it’d probably be R. Wonky rating system.) Another thing I enjoyed were the pop culture references. As a pop culture junkie it made me smile. I do have one minor complaint, and it has been brought up before elsewhere with Tristan’s stories and it’s the “established Mirage timeline” issues. Tristan has explained that he sees the Turtles timeline similar to the Marvel/DC time line, where time is relative, and, in the case of say Spider-man, Peter Parker wasn’t bitten in 1962, but a year ago. Here we see the Turtles using cell phones, quipping about Michael Bay (a reference I loved, oddly enough), and playing Guitar Hero. Again, works in a “time is relative” Mirage Universe, but with the Mirage Universe (and by extension the Turtles) aging more or less in real time, it can be slightly jarring when you realize that the City at War this is supposed to be surrounding happened, in canon, over 20 years ago. Again though, minor quibble in an overall good book. A score of 4 ½ out of 5 shows how minor said quibble is when you’re engaged in the story.
So there you go, a spoiler free review. I’m surprised I could pull it off. How’d I do guys? 😀