Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4, the fourth issue in the latest ongoing series starring the shell-bearing quartet, is the end of the new series’ first major storyline. The storyline in particular? A re-imagining of the Turtles’ origin. While I think the series has been interesting so far after reading Issue Four I am left wondering two things:
1) What’s wrong with the Turtles’ original origin that prompted this very different take on the quartet’s humble beginnings?
2) Do we really need another new TMNT series, even it it is a decent one?
The answers to those questions? Nothing that I can see, and no. With that said if you are a Turtles fan the new ongoing series is not a bad read in any way, shape, or form, and Issue Four really shows the promise that this new series actually possesses.
Issue Four is the climax of the re-imagining of the Turtles’ origin, this time with the Turtles having been stolen from a Baxter Stockman research facility along with mutagen. at the core of this story is Raphael being separated from his brothers during their capture from said facility, leading to the brothers scouring the city for the missing sibling. Raphael finds himself befriended by a young Casey Jones (probably early to mid-twenties at least) and ends up in a skirmish with a gang led by the alley cat that separated him from his siblings. The cat is – you guessed it – a mutant as well do to being exposed to the mutagen that created the Turtles and Splinter.
Sound like a lot of stuff to add to the Turtles’ origin? That’s because, in many respects, it is.
One of the saving graces of this series is that Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman is co-writing it. In the hands of creators who aren’t in love with the Turtles all of the above additions and tweaks to the Turtles’ origin would not work. But you can tell that Eastman’s hand is firmly on the pulse of what makes the Turtles and their friends and enemies work. While Tom Waltz is given script-writing credit I can just feel that Eastman was the person who plotted this tale, mainly because it has an 80′s Ninja Turtles feel to it. The art compliments the story’s tone very well, with Dan Duncan utilizing a gritty style that hearkens back to the classic indie vibe of the Eastman and Laird Turtles while adding a contemporary feel. Duncan draws mutants conveying human emotions very well, and his action scenes are paced nice. Eastman has had a hand in the layouts of the series as well so I think his influence is felt here as well.
If you are a TMNT fan this new ongoing series is worth checking out. While I give Eastman the credit for making it so I also tip my hat to the crew that IDW and Eastman put together. This is the first new TMNT book in years that captures the classic Turtles vibe and is definitely a decent reboot of a franchise that continuously has legs.