Review: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Annual 2012, by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz
Original Turtles creator Kevin Eastman writes (with script help from Tom Waltz) and draws this oversized issue that I decided was too big for my Pull List series of reviews, but of enough interest for TMNT fans – and furry fans in general – that it deserved its own review.
The story begins with Casey Jones and Raphael messing around on rooftops, leading to Casey dropping his bat on the street below. This in turn causes a couple of riff raff to stand in the middle of the road, which in turn causes a car to swerve into a nearby telephone pole. Unfortunately, the car contains high ranking members of a gang of French ninjas (known, naturally, as the Savate) who are on their way to deliver a case full of diamonds to rival ninja gang the Foot in order to avoid an all-out ninja gang war in the streets of New York.
You seldom hear about ninja gang wars. Must be because ninjas are so sneaky.
Anyway, the case goes flying, first picked up by the two riff raff, before changing hands multiple times. Casey and Raph try to exit the premises quickly, but are eventually driven into a murky world of ninja gangs, street hoods and dirty cops, leading to the rest of the Turtle team’s appearance before that ninja gang war you never hear about begins in earnest.
It’s not exactly the regular TMNT story; it’s more like Eastman is parodying Quentin Tarantino (the suitcase of diamonds seems to be a direct reference to Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction) — except Tarantino is about half-parody himself, so it comes off as more as a homage than a parody.
The thing about the whole Tarantino thing is that Eastman’s dark and scratchy art is actually incredibly suited for the genre. When I said the annual has gone old school, I meant it. The book is black and white, just as the Turtles were for most of their Mirage days.
The art style will appeal to fans of the older Turtle comics, rather than those who came to the fold via the cartoons. Not that the cartoon fans will regret purchasing the book (though it may be a bit overpriced at $8.99). Highly recommended for fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.