Thursday, October 21, 2021

Brendan McGinley:

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TMNT: Movie Prequels

TMNT Raphael Movie Prequel #1

Genre: Super-hero

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have withdrawn from battling street crime in order to stave off an invasion Triceraton aliens. This doesn’t sit well with Raphael, however, who moonlights as a skull-cracker wherever criminal activity takes place. This brings him into repeated encounters with an old man who claims to be an ex-superhero himself. Having made a rare friend in spite of his hot temper, Raphael is particularly upset when events conspire for an unhappy ending. Fernando Pinto draws it all in a cartoony vein that manipulates shapes like fine Gumby claymation.

TMNT Michelangelo Movie Prequel #2

Genre: Super-hero

Ordered not to interfere in normal human life by his Master Splinter, Michelangelo dons a “Cowabunga Charlie” costume (basically a giant, plush version of himself) and hires himself out to events in collaboration with Donatello chases a purse snatcher through a hockey rink, a birthday party, and some disappointing art by “Mr. Exes.” Jake Black scripts this second installment, in which the turtle glimpses his hero, the vigilante Nightwatcher, and seeks to emulate him without realizing how close to home the Nightwatcher’s secret identity actually lies.

TMNT Donatello Movie Prequel #3

Genre: Super-hero

To track the threat of the Triceraton invaders, Donatello invents a machine that can pinpoint the locations of atypical life forms (such as mutants and aliens). With Master Splinter, he follows one’s trail, only to discover a giant, humanoid bat that abducts him. Splinter and Michelangelo give chase, but the bat’s intentions may be less malicious and more desperate than they appear. Bill Moulage writes and Jim Lawson pencils under a host of inkers. With this installment, events have begun to build up to encouraging potential.

TMNT April Movie Prequel #4

Genre: Super-hero

Full disclosure: your reviewer is collaborating with this book’s artist Andres Ponce on a different project. Though his art style changes significantly into a cartoonier style for this book, the storytelling techniques remain effective. In this script by Jake Black, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ friend April ventures to Costa Rica in search of a statue with formidable powers (or so legend has it). Things get complex when it’s actually located, and it’s a fast and bloody chase from the jungle to the airport. It has what’s probably the strongest ending of these Turtle movie prequel books, with a great sense of foreboding.

TMNT Leonardo Movie Prequel #5

Genre: Super-hero

The Ninja Turtles’ leader is dispatched to wander the Earth in training and meditation. In the process he saves many lives and proves he possesses one virtue after another, so it’s a shock for the poor amphibian when he gets to the monastery where Master Splinter’s teacher learned his tricks, and he gets pounded. Beaten, humiliated and crushed, he goes out in search of the final virtue he must learn, only to realize even within his family he removed himself from the community. Sometimes you have to leave for no other reason than to be able to come back. Swell art by Dario Brizuela, good story by Murphy, even if the dialogue feels odd at times. Not bad, just… odd.

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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