Review: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2012′

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Originally published at Bloody Disgusting on November 1, 2012

A wicked blend of crime caper, humor, and action, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2012 is an absolutely easy recommendation to readers. During the fast-paced romp with ninjas, gangsters, and corrupt cops, there is an exuberant flair of adrenaline within these pages. You should expect plenty of laughs and clever plot twists with this terrifically well-written issue. If you’ve seen the live-action movies, played the videogames, and collected the toys, you are in for a special treat.

WRITTEN BY: Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz ART BY: Kevin Eastman PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing PRICE: $7.99 RELEASE: October 31st, 2012

In the midst of their training, the Turtles unexpectedly find themselves in the middle of a gang war. After witnessing a horrific car crash, Raphael and Casey Jones, the hockey-masked vigilante, become entangled with the rival Savate ninja gang. Two corrupt cops are on the search for a briefcase, which contains a caseload of diamonds, which the Savate members have unexpectedly lost. Everyone wants to get their hands on the briefcase, including Shredder and his Foot clan.

Kevin Eastman and co-writer, Tom Waltz, have such an endearing affection for crime movies, including Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. During the opening pages, Raphael and Casey Jones end up witnessing a car crash. Then in a brilliant twist on storytelling, the scene rewinds itself, with the narrative now told from the point-of-view of the Savate driver.

There is such a love for dialogue throughout the interconnecting subplots. From one subplot after another, Eastman and Waltz provide the quirky banter between the Turtles, the hard-nosed exchanges between the two corrupt cops, and the fake slang among the gangs, the Purple Dragons and the Savate. Even Master Splinter gets a chance to throw in some hilarious one-liners as he plays the role of the stern father.

Right off the bat, Eastman’s unique visual style comes to front. It has been close to 20 years since Eastman drew a “Turtles” story, but it seems like he never left at all. With touches of grey, the black and white visual layouts are reminiscent of the old-school days of Peter Laird and Eastman’s original comics. What’s interesting and surprising about this storyline is how the Turtles are involved in a crime drama.

Most of the martial arts action takes place during the climax. Eastman has the poses down pat as the Turtles jump across from one rooftop to the next. The story deliberately takes a steady pace before the cops, the rival gangs, the Foot Clan, and the Turtles end up at the same bar. Each individual gets to partake in the action-packed showdown as everyone fights for control of the New York underworld.

A full blown epic, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2012″ should not be missed by longtime fans and is a perfect jumping-on point for newcomers. With the creative team-up of Eastman and Waltz at hand, readers will find themselves endlessly entertained. Always tremendously fun, the Turtles are living up to their potential while solidifying fans’ expectations with the nonstop action and mayhem.

4.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis