Saturday, June 9, 2018

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #83 Review

Writer: Tom Waltz
Artist: Dave Wachter
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: June 6th, 2018
Cover Price: $3.99
Review by: Ron Freilich 

Last time in TMNT #82, the turtles went to visit the ever-colorful Toad Baron in his den of delights to get the inside scoop on stopping his no good brother The Rat King who’s been hypnotizing and kidnapping innocent young children in post Triceraton war New York.
Baron wasn’t very interested in giving the turtles any information but directed them towards a magical portal which will lead them to his and king’s other brother by the name of Manmoth who might be able to help.
The portal leads the guys to a very snowy, freezing cold Siberia and to a not so happy to see them Manmoth and that’s where we pick up with #83. Kowabunga!

***Play By Play***
(Spoilers ahead, For a straight-up review and score rating of the book, look further down)

We’re thrust right into a very extended 9(!!)page fight scene with the gist of it being Manmoth not happy with the Turtles being on his turf and the guys basically trying to survive the onslaught.  Eventually, Mikey outsmarts Manmoth, the big guy trips, and falls, Turtles get him cornered but it’s all good cause they just wanna talk damn it!
Kinda outta nowhere Manmoth warms up to the guys, and yeah, he’ll talk to ‘em, but first let’s eat!

Meanwhile back in Stockman’s lab, the news, Baxter, and April are discussing his newfound city savior status.
April wants to know more about Baxter’s dealings with Agent Bishop and the EPF but can’t get much information out of him. Doc believes he needs to take advantage of his new “city’s sweetheart” status and strike while the iron’s hot. April hands him an odd-looking robot-esque gadget and says “Time to be the hero again, Doctor”. Hmmm...

Meanwhile, elsewhere, The Rat King keeps talking apocalyptic nonsense, bites the head off of a rat, plays the flute and leads a group of children to the water’s edge. 
Moving on...

At De Ville’s restaurant, Lupo lets Jennika know that he and his people won’t be siding with Splinter and the foot clan going forward and instead he’ll send a message... In blood!
Let the shooting begin, but quickly Casey and his old man arrive on the scene and help even the odds.
Jennika wants to take Lupo out with her sword but Casey stops her right on time and asks her what we all ask ourselves at least a couple of times every day:
“What would Master Splinter do?”  In the end, cooler heads prevail and get smacked.

We’re back in Siberia around the campfire, and despite no longer being involved in the family craziness and him being a loner these days, Manmoth won’t turn on family.
They’re all mean and crazy and that’s just the way it is, ain’t nothing can be done about it.
Flustered, the Turtles get up to leave but since they entertained him, Manmoth points them towards a portal which will lead them directly to Rat King.
It does, and the last thing we see in this issue is the Rat King holding a small child by the leg dangling over the water, greeting the Turtles who arrived just in time to join the kid for a midnight swim. Boom! End issue!

***Astute Observations***

This book is about Turtles, then why is this plot moving at a snail’s place?

Seriously, 3 issues into this arc I know no more in this issue about the Rat King than I did in the first issue.

I know that he walks around with, I assume orphaned children, playing the flute singing songs, but other than that?

His plans? What does he want to accomplish? Why do I need to care about him?
From reading between the panels, I get I’m supposed to see him as a complete lunatic crazy threat, but to mr, he comes off campy and silly. In spite of the kidnapped children, I can’t take him seriously. At least not yet, and again, we’re 3 issues in.

As far as the main Turtle plot goes, it reads a bit like filler or an issue of the TMNT Universe book which is mostly side stories.

I mean, maybe there’s a long game here, but right now I don’t feel like this encounter with Mammoth accomplished much, nor was he a very engaging or interesting character as opposed to his brother Baron Toad who’s a complete riot.

The encounter sure lead us from point A to point B, but by the time you’re done with it, the journey shouldn’t feel completely useless and forgettable and this one does.

I sure hope this arc isn’t 20 issues long where each issue is dedicated to one of Baron Toad’s brothers we saw in the previous issue or this will be a very, very long, drawn-out story.

Not much else was accomplished in the rest of the issue to move the various secondary plots forward, though the restaurant fight scene between Lupo, Jennika, Casey and the gang was the highlight of the issue for me.

Great action and just great fun stuff!

There was absolutely zero  Splinter in this issue. WTF??

The artwork was a step down from the previous issue and was only ok at best for the most part.   I really don’t get why this book doesn’t have great art anymore, it’s usually only ok to good and it should always be great, it’s the Turtles damn it!

I feel this issue was mostly filler on all fronts, didn’t move the plot forward hardly at all and provided very little as far as memorable beats and moments go with the exception of one great fight scene.

Between this and only serviceable art, all I can hope is that the story really picks up in the next issue with more emphasis on Rat King and why we should take him seriously and of course... more Splinter!

Bits and Pieces:
All that being said, it’s still the Turtles, and a not great issue is still tons of fun, so if you usually enjoy this book, then, by all means, pick it up, just lower your expectations accordingly. 


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