After last month’s surprisingly stellar issue, we find our favorite band of half shell brothers still chilling in North Hampton and finally on the road to recovery. But something sinister (and feathery) is lurking in the background. Will the Ninja Turtles get attacked before they’re ready to fight again as a group… or worse, will they all have bird poop dumped on their heads?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #31 (IDW Publishing)
Cabin fever is setting in on the green teens, but Raphael manages to keep himself occupied by interrogating Alopex. Their back and forth eventually leads to both of them finally coming to an understanding, a little friendly sparring, and maybe even the development of a friendship.
There’s even a hint of sexual tension, although the inter-species questions that brings up are far too vast and disturbing for me to contemplate in this review.
“So, uh…how do you feel about eggs?”
While Raph works his amphibian game on a mammal, Leonardo continues to sulk about being an asshole during the time he was brainwashed. This time, however, he actually lets Splinter try to counsel him.
As the anamorphic types keep working through their feelings, April O’Neil goes out and gets herself a hot new haircut. This somehow leads her and Casey to having an excruciatingly long conversation that felt like it would never end… until finally, the cool looking Falcon guy from the end of last issue shows up with Foot Clan Assassins (a new type of warrior not yet shown in the series) in tow.
Aside from Raphael inexplicably blaming Alopex for them being tracked (guess he didn’t seal the deal), the next few pages treat us to an incredible fight scene that ends with nearly all of our heroes on the verge of being slaughtered. Their only hope lies in the one member of the group who until the very last page had been unable to believe in himself. It foreshadows a believable return that is both triumphant and organic…and also makes me gladly eat my words about this arc looking like it would be a snoozefest.
Is it Good?
I’m not sure what was up with TMNT #29, but Ross Campbell’s artwork is definitely back in top form again. The fight scene at the end is incredibly well choreographed, the new villain(s) are beautifully menacing, and the Turtles’ emotions are superbly conveyed in every panel. Even his human characters, which I have never been a huge fan of, look fantastic.
It should also be noted that Campbell is easily able to portray Alopex as a female simply through body language and mannerisms rather than needing to dress her up in a skimpy outfit or endowing the creature with surgically enhanced anatomy (although it should be noted that she’s not wearing any pants).
He also drew this little gem of a panel…
…which if you follow Campbell on Twitter, you’ve seen for a long time now. It now finally has some more context, which makes it even better.
As far as the story itself goes, a stellar opening and exhilarating closing bookend a middle section that feels like ground we have treaded over to the point of exhaustion. There are little nuggets of new information/feelings, but it’s all so familiar and stagnant that not even April’s new hairdo could keep my attention.
Fortunately, Campbell’s beautiful pencils keep the middle slog from bringing down the rest of a very good issue.