Saturday, July 22, 2017

TMNT Amazing Adventures: Robotanimals #2


Publication date: July 12, 2017

Writer: Caleb Goellner
Artist: Chad Thomas
Colorist: Heather Breckel
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Assistant editor: Peter Adrian Behravesh
Publisher: Ted Adams

Summary:

In the warehouse, the Turtles stop playing dead and take the Robotanimals by surprise.  Leo slices off a piece of Slash's face and then they escape with a smokebomb.  Baxter is disappointed with the intelligence of his creations, but figures his Nanobot 2.0 upgrade will be an improvement.


Down in Donnie's lab, after inspecting the piece of Slash that Leo chopped off, he determines that the Nanobots are only encasing the Mutanimals like a suit of armor.  However, they're also mutating and soon there won't be any way to reverse the process.  Donnie figures he can work on an antidote and begins typing up the code while his brothers (mainly Raph) urge him to work faster.  April and Casey then show up (at Mikey's beckoning) and they join in on telling Donnie to hurry up.  A fight breaks out with the frustrated Donnie, which Splinter quickly resolves.  Raph apologizes and Donnie finishes the antidote, though he can only synthesize enough for one shot.


In the Party Wagon, the Turtles follow the signal of the Nanobots in hopes of finding the Robotanimals.  Instead, they find the roboticized Antrax and Scumbug, who have captured Fishface and Rahzar.  They engage the insects in battle, but they release more Nanobots in the skirmish.  Casey is unharmed, but April is infected due to her part-mutant DNA and goes catatonic.


Baxter then arrives with the Robotanimals and takes an interest in April, realizing that she's the key to perfecting his robot-mutant process.  The Robotanimals attack, but Casey manages to detonate the antidote bomb, restoring the Mutanimals to their former selves.  In the confusion, Baxter, Antrax and Scumbug escape with Fishface, Rahzar and April.  The Turtles and the Mutanimals vow to team up, defeat Baxter and rescue April.


Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT Amazing Adventures: Robotanimals #1.  The series concludes in TMNT Amazing Adventures: Robotanimals #3.

*This issue was originally published with 3 variant covers: Cover A by Chad Thomas, Cover B by Billy Martin, and Retailer Incentive Cover by Ryan Jampole.


Review:

Man, I have nothing to say about this issue.  It was light, it was enjoyable, it was... a comic.  I dug it, but it's going in the long box and I don't know if I'll ever think about it again.

I'll have more to add when the next and last issue comes out, since it's supposed to be the final comic from IDW based on the Nickelodeon TMNT cartoon.  I'll probably just end up repeating myself from the past, but whatever.  At least I'll have a better chance of filling out a review than I do now.


TMNT Universe #12


Publication date: July 12, 2017

Writer: Erik Burnham, Sophie Campbell
Artist: Sophie Campbell
Colorist: Brittany Peer
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Publisher: Ted Adams

"Karai's Path, Part 1"

Summary:

MAIN STORY:

In Japan, Karai is walking down the street when a biker suddenly shoots her in the shoulder.  The biker taunts her and tries to make a getaway, but Karai knocks her off the bike and demands answers.  The biker says that she's part of a Yakuza gang war and Karai happened to step in front of her target.  The biker then shoots at Karai but deliberately misses; the shot only a feint so she could make her escape by hitching a ride on a passing truck.


At Karai's penthouse, the Foot Clan instructor Toshiro is busy trying to help the injured Koya (who can no longer fly) and Bludgeon (who can no longer see) get their fighting instincts back.  Both are reluctant to learn, but Toshiro proceeds to blindfold himself and confirm his inability to fly, asking if he's any less dangerous as a result of such handicaps.  They attack him and he defeats them, proving that even without such abilities, one can still be a deadly warrior with training.  Karai then stumbles in bleeding and collapses.


Later, Karai awakens, having been tended to by Toshiro.  Toshiro asks Karai why she walked away from the Foot Clan, having fought so hard to restore it to glory, and Karai says she's simply beginning a new chapter in her life.  She asks Toshiro why he followed her when she left and he explains that he owes her more than he can repay.  Karai then gears up and leaves, as she intends to get revenge on the would-be-assassin who shot her.

At the rooftop garden of Hayashi Toru, the crime lord is having dinner with his daughter, Natsu, who happens to be the biker that shot Karai.  She tells her father of what happened and he's pleased to learn that a high ranking member of the Foot Clan has returned to Japan.  He hopes to do business with her in regards to the current gang war.


Karai then drops in and beats Natsu up.  Toru bids her to stop and asks that she spare his daughter's life so that they might do business.  Karai refuses, pressing her blade into Natsu's neck.  Toru then orders his security squad to surround Karai and promises that if she doesn't cooperate, she will be shot to death...


BACK UP STORY:

Story and art: Sophie Campbell

"Prey, Part 1"

In the not to distant future, Koya is languishing in a snow-covered tree, feeling sorry for herself and her loss of flight.  She is clutching a bird-shaped talisman which begins to glow and attracts a bolt of lightning that strikes the tree.


Koya survives and the talisman begins to speak to her.  First it says "wind" and then begins filling her with energy.  Koya then hears a voice say, "Make me your prey," and finds herself in the presence of a giant bird.


Turtle Tips:

*This issue is continued from TMNT Universe #11.  This story continues in TMNT Universe #13.

*Karai returned to Japan after Splinter took over the Foot Clan in TMNT (IDW) #50.  Koya was grounded by Leonardo and Bludgeon was blinded by Donatello in that same issue.

*How Karai restored the Foot Clan after her father ruined it was told in TMNT Villains Micro-Series #5: Karai.  Toshiro also first appeared in that issue.

*According to Erik Burnham, the biker girl was originally going to be a new version of Tatsu (from the live-action film series).  However, upon being told that the character and name were off-limits, they renamed her Natsu.

*This issue was originally published with 3 variant covers: Cover A by Freddie E. Williams II, Cover B by Tom Whalen, and Incentive Cover by Campbell.


Review:

Hey, have any of you realized it's been almost two years since we last saw Karai and the Foot Mutants?  TMNT #50 was in October, 2015.  Time flies (but Koya doesn't).

I'll be honest and confess that I hadn't stopped to think about what Karai was doing over the past twenty-one issues of the main series.  She left to go to Japan and we haven't heard a peep from her or her menagerie since.  I kinda just put her out of my mind.

But for those of you who HAVE been dying to find out what Karai's been working on, "Karai's Path" ought to be good.  This looks to be one of those "How ____ Got their Groove Back" type of stories, as Karai finds a new direction since losing the Foot Clan and Koya and Bludgeon relearn how to fight.  In a way, it's like the Foot Clan's turn at enduring a "Northampton" storyline.  They've been beaten, injured, forced out of New York and now they have to build themselves back up again in seclusion.  Whether Karai and her team will be returning as enemies or allies remains to be seen, but it's still a neat twist on an established TMNT storyline we've seen multiple times throughout the franchise history.

There's also hope that Koya and Bludgeon will get some personality now that we have a storyline centering around them.  Koya has a bit more to work with since she's had more page-time over the years; we already know that she's arrogant and has a short temper.  Bludgeon is the one that REALLY needs some exposure.  I don't think I could describe in one sentence what his "personality" is supposed to be, and that dude's been around since issue 37.

When I saw that Campbell was being credited as a writer, I felt a tinge of dread.  Campbell is a fantastic artist, but a very amateurish writer.  See TMNT #66 and TMNT Universe #10 for more on that.  Luckily, one of the best writers in IDW's TMNT brain trust co-scripted this issue, Erik Burnham, so the issues with Campbell's usual scripting (BAD dialogue, chiefly) are ironed out or absent altogether.

It's a tight opening chapter that sets up the characters and their predicaments, but does it gracefully.  No info-dumping exposition to the audience or characters reminding each other of obvious facts for reader benefit.  Not even an editor's note saying "see issue ___".  The reader is left to decipher the situation and relationships based on context and I appreciate the faith in my intelligence to do so.

Campbell's art is good stuff, as usual, with excellent draftsmanship and layouts.  During the fight scenes, a lot of the moves traded back and forth look like something straight out of Street Fighter II (I'm pretty sure we get a flash kick and a shoryuken).  The homages are... direct, sure, but humorously appropriate for a story set in Japan.

Brittany Peer's colors are really something, too.  She limits the palette almost entirely to whites, blues and reds, with other colors (like the green and purple on Natsu's tattoos) used sparingly and for emphasis.  It really pops.  The contrasting whites and reds intimate the Japanese flag, of course, but the whole thing actually looks like it was influenced by the aesthetic of the Mirror's Edge video game series.

The back-up is, I guess, a character study on Koya?  The setting of "the near future" leaves me guessing that the context of the bird talisman will make sense later.  She still seems to be suffering with her depression over being grounded, so I assume this back-up will act as her companion storyline explaining how she gets over it.  Could be good (though, again, Bludgeon is the Foot Mutant more desperately in need of an expanded personality... or ANY personality).

"Karai's Path" is getting off to a good start.  While part of it is gratifying, seeing the Foot go through what the Turtles usually have to, Karai is an important character to both the franchise and the IDW mythology, and she has been long overdue to make a comeback.  There are a lot of places her titular path might lead and I'm interested in seeing where she goes (so long as it leads her back into the main book).

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

TMNT Summer Short: We Strike Hard


Nickelodeon's TMNT Summer Shorts series has been inconsistent, but I appreciate the variety of content.  Kinda reminds me of the Mirage TMNT Vol. 1 Guest Era.  This one, though, "We Strike Hard", has to be my favorite of the ones they've done.  Oddly, Nickelodeon hasn't done an official upload of it, yet (there's supposed to be a new short every Sunday, but they missed a week), so enjoy this Russian release.

Anyway, have a Happy 4th of July!


Saturday, July 1, 2017

TMNT Amazing Adventures: Robotanimals #1, summary and review filled in


Went back and filled in the summary and review for TMNT Amazing Adventures: Robotanimals #1.  With only two more of these Nick-based TMNT comics on the way from IDW, I'll try to get my reviews out more on time.  But they just inspire so much apathy in me...