Sunday, July 3, 2022

Brendan McGinley:

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—Soul Winter + Hard-Boiled Comics

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—Soul Winter

Genre: Super-hero, Anthropomorphic

Ah, now here’s a horse of a different color. Michael Zillion takes all the hard-edged manga that inspired Frank Miller’s Daredevil (which in turn, was the fodder for TMNT) and applies it to the ninja turtles. The result is a rare version of the book without its signature humor, and not suffering for it. It’s striking, foreboding, mysterious and inclined to humanize the Shredder’s point of view while making conversely rendering Splinter a bit cold-hearted. If the regular, humorous stories are Ran ma ½, this book is Lone Wolf & Cub.


Hard-Boiled Comics

Genre: Mystery, Sci-Fi

An earnest effort, but a bit unfocused. Billy Blackburn is a detective in a futuristic L.A. that isn’t much different from the present, except aliens are among us (without a sinister agenda) and mutants work as strong-arms.

Writer Steve Earnhart makes much of his affection for Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, but eschews a great deal of Marlowe’s appeal in Blackburn, which was that he didn’t talk tough to the reader, only to other characters as need be. In his inner monologue, Marlowe showed the values and vulnerabilities that he always acted on, but only voiced to people he could trust. Blackburn’s schtick seems like it’s primarily concerned with convincing himself. Almost-poetic lines that trip and fall, don’t help, such as “a wading-pool whale out of his depth, alone in an ocean, searchin’ for stars.”

The characters are very much the kind broadly sketched by an imaginative teenager: a murderous clown, a sadistic banker named Knuckles, and a hammerhead hitman. That said, there is some nice forensic detective work tied into the plot at the end.

Brendan McGinley is a long-time writer for ComicBase. His comic favorites include anything featuring Grim Jack, Punisher, Guy Gardner, Green Lantern, or written buy Evan Dorkin, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Deadpool… and the list goes on. But he insists he is of discriminating tastes.

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