Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Action Comics #1029

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Action Comics #1029
AUTHORS: Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Becky Cloonan & Michael W. Conrad
ARTISTS: Phil Hester, Michael Avon Oeming, Eric Gapstur (Inker), Hi-Fi (Colorist), Taki Soma (Colorist), Dave Sharpe (Letterer)
RELEASED: March 23, 2021

As a fairly new father, the narrative in this issue about kids stepping out of their “golden age” and learning their parents aren’t infallible was touching. It felt very true to Superman.

*sigh* Oh Phil Hester. If only you were sticking around.

I can’t help but think of Powers every time I see Michael Avon Oeming’s work. He’s well suited for the Midnighter back-up, though. I’m looking forward to more.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Deep Dive Reviews

TMNT #3844 Deep-Dive – Going Big

***This year marks the 10-year anniversary of IDW Publishing’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. In celebration, we here at Primary Ignition will be looking back at the book as a whole. For some, this has emerged as the definitive version of the TMNT. Here is why…***

TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #38-44
AUTHORS: Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman
ARTISTS: Mateus Santolouco, Cory Smith
COLORIST: Ronda Pattison
LETTERER: Shawn Lee
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
COLLECTED IN: TMNT: The IDW Collection, Vol. 5 (shown right)
RELEASED: October 2014 – March 2015

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s TMNT Deep-Dive Review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I was about halfway through these issues when I noticed things were feeling bigger. We had a big bad guy with a big bad plan for his big terrible fortress. So our heroes made their own big plans, got in some big fights, and in Donatello’s case, took a big risk. A risk that came with big consequences.

Naturally, with big things come big visuals. Slash using only his massive body to shield Michelangelo from an airborne car. A friggin’ building collapsing on Bebop and Rocksteady. Krang looking into the sky with glee as his Technodrome begins to terraform Earth in his home planet’s image. And lest we forget the intense ground battle between the Foot Clan and the forces of Dimension X. It’s all here in these seven issues.

But before we get into all that, let’s talk about Old Hob, shall we?

Before IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series brought us its take on classic villains like Shredder and Krang, there was Old Hob. He was there from the very first page of the very first issue. My initial impression of this mutant cat with an eyepatch was that he was what I’ll call a “starter villain.” In essence, a one-note bad guy for our heroes to fight while we as readers learn about them and their world. Under a different creative team, we might have been done with Hob as early as issue #4. Having served his purpose, the character could have been cast aside.

Instead, the crew at IDW Publishing has consistently found a place for Old Hob. We’ve seen him evolve from gang leader to would-be mutant revolutionary. Issues #38-40 represent a big step in that evolution, as we see Hob has started using mutagen to create his own mutant army. But calamity ensues when Bebop and Rocksteady catch wind of it. It’s all the mass chaos and destruction you could hope for.

Hob has two new recruits who we meet in issue #38. The first is Mondo Gecko, a TMNT legacy character and skateboarding lizard. The second is Herman, a hermit crab with a knack for heavy artillery (shown above). What I appreciate more than anything about these two is that, like the Turtles, they’re tonally versatile. More often than not they’re funny characters, Herman in particular. But when it’s time for a fight, they can pose a serious threat.

Less versatile, yet undoubtedly priceless, is Pidgeon Pete, who we met back in issue #35. Pete is a dim-witted, boundlessly enthusiastic slice of pure cheesy comedic joy. As much crap as I’ve given Mateus Santolouco about how he draws the Turtles, his dumb anthropomorphic pidgeon game is on point, and should never be tinkered with or changed. Ever.

Santolouco is indeed back for issues #38-40, before Cory Smith tags in for #41-44. Interestingly, their stylistic approaches to the Turtles and their world are very similar, to the point that it’s difficult to differentiate between the two at times. Whether that’s good or bad depends on one’s personal tastes. For yours truly, the upside is that it offers a comforting consistency between Santolouco’s issues and Smith’s. Both are good at high impact fight sequences and turn in a tremendous amount of detail. The downside? I’m still not in love with how Santolouco draws the Turtles. Smith’s, while slightly better, have many of the same traits.

If there was any doubt, it becomes pretty clear in issue #40 that the book is gradually working toward a romance between Raphael and Alopex. The idea of one of the Turtles having a genuine love interest hasn’t been explored much over the years. So I’ve been curious to see how the IDW crew develops this. At the same time, there’s an awkwardness to it that I’ve never quite been able to get past. One is a turtle, the other is a snow fox. One a reptile, the other a mammal. So how to they “match up?” Physically, I mean…

Y’know what? Let’s just change the subject.

Moving into the “Attack on the Technodrome” story, one thing becomes damn clear: Cory Smith draws a hell of a Krang. The sheer amount of detail he puts into this tentacled alien blob makes it genuinely look like it could exist in the real world. The last three pages of issue #40 are a thing of beauty.

Writers have a habit of keeping all four Turtles in their respective character “lanes.” Leonardo the leader, Raphael the rebel, Michelangelo the fun one, and Donatello the brain. One thing this series has been great at is blurring those lines and not giving us cookie cutter characters. One small example: in issue #38 Mikey actually says, “Just ’cause I’m not a genius like Donnie doesn’t make me dumb.”

To that end, Donatello is a character to watch during this stretch of issues, and not just because of what happens to him at the end (no spoilers!). Early on we see him stand up to Splinter, calling him out for his fixation on stopping Shredder, insisting Krang and the Technodrome potentially terraforming the Earth are more urgent. We then see him take initiative and a real risk to try and thwart Krang’s plan. He winds up making a tremendous sacrifice for his family, and for the world at large. There’s no mistaking it: These ain’t cookie cutter Ninja Turtles.

It all comes down to a battle at Krang’s base on Burnow Island. With the fate of the world hanging in the balance as the Technodrome begins to terraform the Earth, the Turtles infiltrate the massive moving fortress while Shredder and the Foot face Krang’s forces on the ground. Sadly, because we only have about two issues to left by the time they get to said ground battle, it isn’t as satisfying as you’d hope.

What is satisfying is the one-on-one fight we see between Shredder and Krang. And shockingly, the right guy wins!

The most interesting thing about the Shredder/Krang tandem on the ’80s TV show, at least for yours truly, is that their modus operandi are so different. Shredder is an Earth-bound ninja master, and Krang is an intergalactic warlord. They shouldn’t work well together, but somehow they do. In the IDWverse, however, Shredder and Krang are not partners (yet). In this story, they’re actually at war with one another. And while Shredder is very much the arch rival of the TMNT, when you stack his forces up against Krang’s, it should be no contest. Krang’s space age weapons beat Shredder’s blades and shurikens any day of the week. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so given their awesome track record, that’s exactly what this book gives us. It doesn’t inflate Shredder’s power based on his arch villain status. The world of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles isn’t really the place to look for realism. But I appreciated that little pinch of it.

One character who’s easy to overlook in all of this is Baxter Stockman. Like Old Hob, he’s been around since issue #1 and has big plans of his own. In these issues we find him working alongside the reluctant robot Fugitoid (see the Neutrino story arc) as Krang’s servants and Technodrome tech aficionados. But as ever, Stockman has his own agenda to undermine Krang. When confronted by the Turtles, Stockman unveils an army of “flyborgs.” They’re half cyborg, half insect zombies. God help us.

Stockman is a TMNT legacy character that dates back to the original comic book. But fans of the ’80s cartoon may remember him as the evil scientist character who turned into a mutant fly. As the ’80s cartoon is obviously one of this book’s main influences, I was ready for them to turn him into a fly pretty quickly. But to their credit, the IDW crew held off and gave the evil scientist time to shine. The flyborgs are a pretty nice hold-off, though. I love their design, which originated in a Micro-Series issue drawn by Andy Kuhn. It’s a wonderful sci-fi/horror blend, and Smith’s execution of it is great.

It’s no accident that the series feels like it’s moving toward a crescendo. The stakes are getting higher, the cast is growing larger, and things do indeed feel like they’re getting bigger. All roads lead to issue #50, and one more epic showdown…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Suicide Squad #2

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Suicide Squad #2
AUTHOR: Robbie Thompson
ARTISTS: Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira (Inker), Marcelo Maiolo (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letterer)
RELEASED: April 6, 2021

The only real complaint I have with this issue is that it has a gratuitous Batman cameo. Not the worst I’ve ever seen. But hardly inspiring.

With all the emphasis on Peacemaker in the upcoming James Gunn Suicide Squad, it comes as no surprise that he remains our central character. Thompson is developing him nicely.

Aside from Superboy, I’d argue most of the characters Peacemaker is surrounded by are fairly obscure and a little silly. As such, they’re fairly expendable. That’s not a bad thing in a book where, theoretically, any of them could die at any moment.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Batman #107

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Batman 107, cover, Jorge Jimenez, 2021TITLE: Batman #107
AUTHOR: James Tynion IV
ARTISTS: Jorge Jimenez, Ricardo Lopez, Tomeu Morey (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)
RELEASED: April 6, 2021

Tynion is doing a story where mass panic has broken out in the wake of a Scarecrow attack, all the while the police seem to be a little trigger happy. You don’t think that could have been inspired by anything in the real world, do you…?

The more I see it, the more I dig this design of the Scarecrow. It’s like a mix of his classic look and his look from the Arkham games.

Ricardo Lopez’s art in the Ghost-Maker back-up is just a little bit reminiscent of Skottie Young. Can’t say I expected that.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Power Rangers, Television

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Stego Search” Review

SERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
TITLE: S28:E7 – “Stego Search”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Guy Langford
DIRECTOR: Michael Hurst
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: April 10, 2021
SYNOPSIS: As the Rangers search for the Stego Spike Zord, Javi struggles with a lack of acceptance from his father.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The very first line in the episode is, “What’s the haps, Solon?” Is that really a thing kids say? I thought it was just Sam Roberts.

Random: Chance Perez’s hair has impressive volume. Maybe I just appreciate it because I’m a bald guy.

Izzy: “I feel like I’ve been massaged by a truck.” How very specific. Izzy continues to get the best lines.

Solon finds a “viral video” of Javi’s dad taking his new keytar away from him. What’s the title of that video, I wonder? “Keytar Kid’s Dad Acts Like a Dick,” maybe?

So when Javi plays music it amplifies his “Ranger energy,” prompting a response from the dormant zord they’re looking for. Fair enough. By Power Rangers logic, at least. If the Dragonzord could be summoned by playing a flute, why not a Stegosaurus?

Hunter Deno’s facial expressions were strong in this episode. Very good kids show acting.

I thought Boomtower was a goner. But the big guy lives to fight another day.

I was happy they didn’t quickly resolve the issue between Javi and his dad. There’s enough meat on the bone there to make that season-long story arc between the two of them.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Power Rangers, Television

Power Rangers Beast Morphers, “Hangar Heist” Review

** You know what I am? A multi-tasker. That’s why, as Power Rangers Dino Fury is in full swing, I’ll also be looking back at Power Rangers Beast Morphers. Why? Because I can!!!***

SERIES: Power Rangers Beast Morphers
TITLE: S26:E6 – “Hangar Heist”
STARRING: Rorrie D. Travis, Jazz Baduwalia, Jacqueline Scislowski, Abraham Rodriguez, Liana Ramirez
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale
DIRECTOR: Riccardo Pellizzeri
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: April 13, 2019
SYNOPSIS: Devon has trouble trusting Ravi, as Evox’s forces infiltrate Grid Battleforce.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Hold the phone! We’re terrified of the villains stealing Morph X, but Nate just lets Devon borrow some to inject into model rockets? Now that can’t be regulation…

When Ravi ignites his toy rocket, he says, “NASADA, here I come!” That’s a nice late ’90s/early 2000s PR reference if there ever was one.

If they were going to do a “Devon doesn’t trust Ravi” episode, they might have made it the third or fourth episode. Six episodes in, it doesn’t necessarily feel natural to have Devon not trust Ravi. Actually, shouldn’t Ravi be the one with trust issues? He’s the one who’s trained to be a Ranger, and the other two haven’t.

I like the idea of the Rangers capturing a gigadrone, one of the giant machines that the zords fight, for study and analysis. That’s the kind of thing that isn’t done often, if ever. Having a subsequent fight over the drone inside the Grid Battleforce hangar was cool too.

Pretty convenient that Meltadrone (shown right in the accompanying image) looks exactly like the gigadrone Devon and the others were fighting in the simulation earlier. Just sayin’.

The Beast-X Megazord (shown above) looks…decent. I maintain that modern Megazords all look too busy. They’re not nearly as sleek and cool as they used to be. But by modern standards, this one is alright. Strictly okay.

It’s nice that Ben and Betty are friends with the Rangers. It’s a nice shift from the antagonistic relationship the team often has with the resident comedy duos, dating back to Bulk and Skull. Victor and Monty from Ninja Steel come to mind as well.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Star Wars: The High Republic #4

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Star Wars: The High Republic #4
AUTHOR: Cavan Scott
ARTISTS: Ario Anindito, Mark Morales (Inker), Annalisa Leoni (Colorist), Ariana Maher (Letterer). Cover by Phil Noto.
RELEASED: April 7, 2021

This issue went by fast. In a good way. As I said with issue #3, the more this series gets to focus in on character development, the better. That way, we’re a little more invested in this different era.

To that end, this issue shines a nice spotlight on Jedi Master Sskeer and his former apprentice Keeve Trennis. Sskeer has a distinct and interesting look to him, in that he’s a reptile with only one arm. And his interactions with Keeve all come off heart-felt and genuine. Those two should have been our only protagonists at this early going.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Wrestling

Wrestlemania 37 Night Two Predictions

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Whether it’s one night or two, Wrestlemania only has one main event.

As much as people want to talk about various different matches “main eventing” this show, I subscribe to what I’ll call the “CM Punk Theory of Main Events.” It’s like he said on the famous Colt Cabana podcast years ago: The main event is the last match. It’s the note you leave your audience on. It’s your crescendo. It’s what you build your show toward

Like it or not, this year that main event spot belongs to Roman Reigns, Edge, and Daniel Bryan. I could have gone to Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair. Or even Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre. But unless a wild move gets pulled, the Universal Title Match is going to headline Wrestlemania. And based on the quality of its build-up compared to the other matches, that’s the right decision.

But night two has a lot going for it outside of a great main event…

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn

These guys have worked together a million times, and in a million places. Nonetheless, I’m sure getting to work Wrestlemania is special for them. I’m hoping they can turn in something special for Owens’ sake if nothing else. It’s not hard to see that WWE takes him for granted.

I’m proud to say I knew who Logan Paul was before he showed up on Smackdown. I have no idea how he’ll factor into this match. But he can’t not be a factor, can he?

Sami Zayn has a good thing going as a heel. So I see Logan costing Owens the match. Hopefully, Owens gets to powerbomb Logan off the stage or something afterward.

PREDICTION: Sami Zayn

NIGERIAN DRUM FIGHT FOR WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE:
Big E. (c) vs. Apollo Crews

So…is Crews really Nigerian? For what it’s worth, his Wikipedia page says he was born in Sacramento and raised in Atlanta.

What’s a Nigerian Drum Fight? I dunno, and chances are they won’t know until the last minute either. So I’m not going to waste brain cells on it.

Big E. has beaten Crews every step of the way up to this point. So it wouldn’t make sense to book this match unless WWE wanted Crews to win the title. Granted, sense isn’t always their strong point. But throw in the fact that this is “his” match, and I think Crews walks out with the belt.

PREDICTION: Apollo Crews

WWE UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH:
Riddle (c) vs. Sheamus

Based on what these two have turned in previously, this match has as much a chance as any of stealing this show this year. Sheamus, in particular, has been on one of the best runs of his career.

Still, I think Vince McMahon is into Riddle. They put the title on him, they added those weird CGI birds to his entrance, and he apparently didn’t get in any trouble despite forgetting his lines on Raw last week. So I’m thinking Riddle comes out on top here.

PREDICTION: Riddle

WWE RAW WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH:
Asuka (c) vs. Rhea Ripley

If they have any desire to make a star out of Rhea Ripley, she has to win at some point, right? She lost to Charlotte Flair last year, then she came up short in the Women’s Royal Rumble Match this year. If she doesn’t come out on top here, how do we not label her as a loser?

Fortunately, I think this is her moment. Even if Charlotte were to pop up at the last minute and make this a triple-threat, I think Rhea wins. She’s earned her moment. So let’s give it to her.

PREDICTION: Rhea Ripley

“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton

Last year, WWE had Bray Wyatt go over John Cena in what was commonly seen as an attempt to erase the mistake of having Cena beat Wyatt at Wrestlemania 30. Similarly, I suspect this is an attempt for these two to redeem themselves after their stinker of a match at Wrestlemania 33. And I think this time we get the right finish and Bray goes over.

The only question for me is how they get Alexa Bliss involved here? Because you know she’s not sitting out Wrestlemania.

PREDICTION: Bray Wyatt

TRIPLE-THREAT MATCH FOR WWE UNIVERSAL HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan

A reasonable argument can be made for all three of these men winning this match.

Edge has the classic comeback story. He was away from wrestling for nine years, shocked the world when he came back, then he won the Royal Rumble. Winning the title in the main event of Wrestlemania is a fairy tale ending, to say the least.

Daniel Bryan is the wild card. But he’s also the apparent babyface, what with Edge having taken on more of a heel role in recent weeks. The fans do genuinely love him, and having him come out on top would send a lot of fans home happy.

Then there’s Roman Reigns, the dominant monster heel champion. Since coming back at Summerslam, Reigns has been on the best run of his career. It’s been so good, in fact, that I can see him getting the win and continuing that dominant streak into the foreseeable future.

That, I think, is the path to take here. Reigns has been in the Wrestlemania main event four times previously, and each time fans vocally questioned whether he deserved to be there. This time there is no question. Roman Reigns has reached the top, and I expect he’ll stay at the top.

PREDICTION: Roman Reigns

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Crime Syndicate #2

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Crime Syndicate #2
AUTHOR:
Andy Schmidt
ARTISTS:
Kieran McKeown, Dexter Vines (Inker), Steve Oliff (Colorist), Bryan Hitch, Alex Sinclair (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer). Cover by Jim Cheung & Alejandro Sanchez.
RELEASED:
April 6, 2021

So Superwoman wears open-toed shoes? That’s kinda weird. Distinct? Maybe. But still weird.

So we’ve got the Crime Syndicate going up against Starro, who was of course the Justice League’s first opponent way back in 1960’s The Brave and the Bold #28. Here’s my question: In a book full of bad guys, who am I supposed to be rooting for? Superwoman? Owlman? It just seems like everybody in this book is an evil monster. I’m kinda hoping they all just destroy each other…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Deep Dive Reviews

A Turtles in Time Deep-Dive – This Ain’t No Game!

***This year marks the 10-year anniversary of IDW Publishing’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. In celebration, we here at Primary Ignition will be looking back at the book as a whole. Or in this case, veering off and looking at a miniseries that showcased numerous talented writers and artists…***

TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time #14
AUTHORS: Paul Allor
ARTISTS: Sophie Campbell, Charles Paul Wilson III, Ben Bates, Dan Duncan. “A” covers by David Petersen.
COLORISTS: Bill Crabtree, Jeremy Mohler, Bates, Ronda Pattison
LETTERER: Shawn Lee
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
COLLECTED IN: TMNT: The IDW Collection, Vol. 5
RELEASED: June – September 2014

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s TMNT Deep-Dive Review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Adapting video games into any other media, be it movies, TV, or in this case comics books, is tricky. So much of the fun of a video game is in the immersion factor. Being able to interact with and play your way through an entirely different world.

As far as pure fun is concerned, few games can beat 1991’s Turtles in Time from Konami. It was the best of the side-scrolling TMNT beat-em-up games, throwing a smorgasbord of enemies and settings at players. Tried and true locales like the New York City sewers and the Technodrome, and eras as far back as the prehistoric and as far ahead as a star base in 2100. We saw foot soldiers riding dinosaurs, Bebop and Rocksteady dressed as pirates, Krang flying in a spaceship, and finally…Super Shredder. Turtles in Time had it all.

So how do you supplant that story into comic books without losing the joy of being able to ninja-kick through the game yourself? You don’t. You can, however, use the strengths of the medium to present something different, yet still evocative, of the original product.

That’s what IDW does with it’s four-issue Turtles in Time miniseries. Each issue takes us to a different era, spotlights a different Turtle, and has its own artist to provide a different look and feel. As an added bonus, most of the artists had already worked on the main series by this point. But with that in mind, from an artistic standpoint Turtles in Time surprisingly doesn’t feel all that familiar…

Author Paul Allor and artist Sophie Campbell hit the ground running with issue #1, as the Turtles find themselves suddenly thrust into pre-historic times. It’s worth noting that the character responsible for the Turtles’ temporal displacement, an interdimensional time-traveler named Renet, had not been introduced in the main series yet. Issue #1 came out in June 2014, and Renet’s official introduction didn’t come until August. Whoops…

I’ve called Sophie Campbell’s approach to the Turtles “cutesy.” But her work on the main series also had a vulnerable, emotional side to it that made it a great fit for the “Northampton” story arc. This, on the other hand, is pure cutesy. “Northampton” wouldn’t have been nearly as effective had it looked like this.

Still, as with “Northampton,” we have to account for tone. When Campbell worked on the main series, she was helping to tell a four-issue story about a family coming together and healing after a devastating, costly battle. This is a one-off where Michelangelo rides a dinosaur. It’s much more playful, and somewhat akin to the 2012 Nickelodeon series that was airing at the time. So while still cute, Campbell is able to adapt her style to match a story with a much different tone than “Northampton.” Once again, she makes it work.

Also, Raphael also gets a pet dinosaur. So…that’s a thing.

In issue #2, author Erik Burnham and artist Charles Paul Wilson III take us to feudal Japan. Of course, in the IDWverse this is the time period the Turtles and Splinter originally lived in as humans before their murder and reincarnation in the 21st century. There’s a story opportunity gift-wrapped for them there, and Burnham takes advantage of it. Our heroes meet their past selves, Splinter’s human counterpart Hamato Yoshi, and their mother Tang Shen. A little convenient? Sure. But the resulting character moments are worth it. Specifically, Leo blatantly attempting to change the future while Raph acts as the voice of reason. It’s a really nice role reversal. Seeing the Turtles in samurai garb is pretty cool too.

As for Wilson, for me his style is comparable to that of Andy Kuhn. Generally speaking, I’m a fan of his work, but he struggles when it comes to the Turtles themselves. The word that comes to mind when I look at his take (shown above) is…gelatinous. I’ll leave it at that. Everything else, however, looks just fine. The action sequences in particular have a great kinetic energy to them.

Burnham stays on for issue #3, as Ben Bates returns to draw the Turtles on a pirate ship in the 18th century. As with Campbell, Bates’ work takes on a different tone for Turtles in Time. Less so because of his pencils, and more his colors. The palette is lighter and the look is a bit sketchier, which adds up to a windswept, sea-blown vibe. Combined with the largely white backgrounds he uses to depict the open sky, it highly effective.

From a writing perspective, I was impressed with how Burnham incorporated Krang as the hidden leader of the evil pirates. At editorial’s request, he also snuck the IDW origin of a TMNT legacy character on to the last page. Beyond that, between issues #2 and #3 Burnham is able to give us two very different stories. Issue #2 has its comedic moments, but airs on the dramatic side, while issue #3 is a lot more fun and comedic. Particularly with Michelangelo, who wins his pirate comrades over with his version of an “inspirational” speech.

Out of all the artists working on Turtles in Time, the name I was most excited to see was Dan Duncan’s. His work on the first 12 issues of the main series is some of the best the property has ever seen. Coming into the fourth issue of Turtles in Time, I was hoping for more of the same with the unique flavor of it being in a futuristic setting. Ronda Pattison, the colorist he worked with on the main series, being along for the ride only seemed to sweeten the pot.

The performance Duncan turns in is superbly creative, with Turtles that are as expressive as ever. But it’s not quite as evocative of those first issues as I’d hoped. Oddly enough, this issue once again looks like it was inspired by Nickelodeon show. It makes you wonder how much these creative teams were influenced by it, if at all. Still, Duncan has the tall task of drawing a Manhattan strictly populated by mutants, all of which he had to design himself. So this issue in and of itself is a tremendous achievement.

Issue #4, written once again by Allor, introduces us to an elderly Donatello. With his brothers now gone, he refuses to take part in a rebellion against an America ruled by the Foot clan. Donatello is an interesting choice for that role, as given the choice of all four Ninja Turtles, I doubt he’d the one many would bet on as the sole survivor of an apocalyptic scenario. It makes perfect sense, though, if you think about it. And of course, having Don meet an older, more jaded version of himself makes for great character development, which would soon be reflected in the main series.

When you get right down to it, Turtles in Time is perfectly skippable. It doesn’t add anything integral to the main series, and is just a fun little romp through different time periods. The latter, however, is also its greatest appeal. It takes the Turtles out of their element and lets a variety of talented people play around with them. Much like the video game, it’s an exercise in creativity and fun. At the end of the day, it’s hard to hate on that.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.