Written by Robert J. Baden, Fanboy Comics Contributor
Tuesday, 30 October 2012 08:23
Annual issues are really interesting, as they tend to be longer than normal comic books and give stories that are directly related to what’s been going on in the main issues over the past year. A lot of annuals I’ve read give a story that has to be read in order to continue with a specific storyline in the main issues, but the 2012 issue of TMNT is very different; this is a stand-alone, which can be read all on its own while still adding to the overall flavor of the continuity. It was a nice “break” from the rest of the stories in the TMNT titles and allowed me to see more into the underbelly of the various baddies in the TMNT universe. I’d say “go green machine,” but given that it’s in black and white, I don’t think it would apply; oh, well—“go newspaper grey machine?”
Michelangelo, Donatello, and Leonardo are out on patrol while Raphael spends time with Casey, “working out” and finding themselves in trouble when they spot a car accident. While they help save the people from a fiery death, the police and various disreputable persons show up at the scene to investigate, most likely trying to find a briefcase full of diamonds that seems to have disappeared in the commotion. The briefcase shows up later, having been recovered by a homeless man and a friend of Casey, but the Foot and corrupt cops are looking for it with a vengeance and show up at the bar that Casey and Raph have stashed away in. Meanwhile, back at April’s antique store, Splinter and the others see a report of the car crash on television, and spot Raph in his disguise; Splinter orders the others out to search for their wayward brother. The bar patrons decide to return the case to the scene of the accident, so as not to get involved in the situation, and Raph and Casey decide to shadow them to ensure they make it there safely. It all goes south when the Foot attacks the Turtles, the French ninja clan Savate attacks Casey and Raph, and the bar is overrun by a brigade of brutish baddies. In the end, Casey chucks the briefcase into the river and no one gets the diamonds, but S.W.A.T. shows up to ruin the day for the martial artists. Everyone retreats and things return to normal, minus a few million dollars in diamonds.
It was good to see that Raph and Casey are able to get themselves into trouble on a fairly regular basis, and that it wasn’t a big surprise to the rest of the turtles, but there wasn’t much that I didn’t expect from the story. Raph and Casey are true to form, be it the current incarnation or the previous ones in various mediums, but sometimes it would be nice to see some differences. At least they’re not alien turtles—but then again, maybe that’s only because Bay hasn’t been writing the stories.
A major distraction for me was the constant use of “Five Minutes Earlier” to show how the same situation plays out from another standpoint of individuals. It may be helpful to explain how all of the participants were able to get where they were at the same point in time, but it was very annoying to me, as it required me to put into perspective all of the individual facets before and after each introduction.
I’m also not a big fan of the particular art style used for this specific comic; it appears to be very reminiscent of the original TMNT style from the 1980s, but in such a way that it makes it slightly hard to tell who is who (this is probably why various nametags were given in the comic, so that the reader can tell who is who despite their introductions within continuity). Art style is a big draw for why I read things, and while this may be an homage to the original style, it just doesn’t do a very good job of keeping me interested in the story.
Speaking of the story, it was rather simple in execution and design, with no complexity to it. I was able to ascertain the likely outcome very early on, and that really disappointed me. I prefer to be surprised in my reading, be it comic books, web comics, or novels, and to be able to “guess” the end accurately annoys me. If I wanted to know the way things were going to work themselves out, I’d just reread something I’ve already looked at; it isn’t as though the ending would change between readings.