Written: Tom Waltz
Art by: Kevin Eastman, Ronda Pattison and Shawn Lee
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 24, 2013
I had big plans for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Deviations review for Just for the Hell of it Mondays, but after reading it, I realized that before I could review a "what if" issue, it might be a good idea to get a better idea of "what is" and "what was". You see, my love of the Turtles has only just begun and while I am trying to be a good student and a quick learner, in actuality, I am neither. I do like reading fun comics that look great and that's what lead me to this issue. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #21 is a great issue to jump into...it leads into the "City Fall" story, but is pretty stand alone, but the big draw is Kevin Eastman's art. I may be a rookie, but I even know how big it is to have the originator on art. So, it's with open eyes and love in my heart that I give you my review for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #21...
It won't spoil anything to tell you that this whole issue revolves around the Turtles chasing down a mysterious attacker. However, it may sell the issue short by making it seem like nothing happens. In fact, a whole lot happens and unfortunately for the Turtles, it's not all good.
The issue begins with the Turtles on a rooftop looking at the New York City skyline, worried about how things have been going lately. It's not a personal thing, per se, but a general feeling of violence that they all feel and it a worrisome foreshadowing of the near future of this series. They are suddenly attacked by a mask wearing martial artist and it's game on!
The back and forth of the Turtles is such a big part of their allure and is the main reason I jumped into all of this and while we do eventually get that, it's the mysterious attacker who shines immediately. He takes the Turtles by surprise and just undresses them with his skills and his tongue. He is so good that the fight ends with the Turtles getting embarrassed...without even getting a single word in. Who often does that happen?!? The worst part for them, however, is before the mystery ninja disappears in a cloud of smoke, he lets it be well known that he knows all about Splinter, including where he lives!
That starts a series of fights as the Turtles try in vain to stop the attacker from getting to the church. The best part is that each time the mystery man shows up. he uses a completely different martial art and I really couldn't tell you which was the best because they all leave the Turtles reeling. If you are a sadistic sort, this may be the best issue you've ever read because the gang gets their asses handed to them over and over and over and over...
I mentioned that in the first fight, the Turtles don't even get a chance to utter a word, but that thankfully changes as the issue continues. It's fun because even with their normal bravado, every one-liner, taunt or challenge ends up with each of them lying on the ground, beaten. It also shows a big reason why the Turtles are so loved...they never give up.
It's that and their honor that eventually wins the day and while I guessed who the assailant was pretty early in the issue, I won't spoil it here. The issue does continue after all this with Shredder gaining something that will surely increase the bad mojo that the Turtles sensed at the beginning of this issue as all of this leads into a dark time for the Turtles indeed.
You'd probably think that an issue that is 95% fighting wouldn't have anything resembling a great script, but then you'd be wrong. Tom Waltz does a great job with the dialogue, whether it's the mysterious attacker or the Turtles. The Turtles dialogue is hilarious between scenes and gets more and more desperate as the issue moves along. I also have to mention that this is a great issue for newbs to jump in and enjoy. If you know the basics, you'll be just fine until the cliffhanger, but even there, all you have to know is the shit is getting closer to the fan.
Kevin Eastman's art is the draw here and it doesn't disappoint at all. I'm sure more learned readers will glow in the nostalgia of it all, but I was just fine admiring the awesome backgrounds and character models that made this issue so great to just look at. The action had a great flow to it and just ripped through the panels, leaving the Turtles worse for wear as it all went on.
Bits and Pieces:
Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman give us an almost one-shot that is full of nostalgia, awesome fighting and trash talking. It all comes together into a fun time that is a must read for every Turtles fan, but also great for those just wanting to get a taste of what the hype is all about. Highly Recommended.