After last month’s emotionally charged issue, the Turtles and their human cohorts begin preparing for a war on two fronts: Shredder and the Foot along with Krang and the Technodrome. Is it good?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #34 (IDW Publishing)
While April is thrilled that her dad is miraculously getting better, Casey is understandably upset about his father turning out to be an even worse person than he’d previously thought. He decides to ‘get some air’ (i.e. pout by himself) while Angel joins April and Donatello on a journey to see Harold the mad scientist.
In case you don’t remember, Harold was the crazy inventor from the Donatello microseries issue. The reason they are going to see him is that the plans for transporting the world ending Technodrome to our dimension were delivered to the Turtles by Fugitoid (in the excellent Age of Utrom miniseries).
Everyone caught up now? Good…let’s continue…
Oh yeah…and don’t forget about April’s rockin’ new hairdo…
Harold is his usual cantankerous self, but his mood is softened by Donnie’s new info. Things then take a turn for the weird/awesome when Angel discovers that Harold has built an awesome version of everyone’s favorite robotic amphibian, Metalhead.
As you can probably guess, things with the little guy don’t go well, causing a battle for survival to ensue. While this all sounds pretty simplistic, it actually turns out to be a fantastic (and very long) fight sequence. Tom Waltz perfectly balances real fear and danger with just the right touch of humor throughout the entire encounter.
Mateus Santolouco, on the other hand, goes into complete artistic beast mode, unleashing a flurry of gorgeous pages that show off Metalhead’s varied and impressive array of weaponry.
The murderous robot is eventually shut down, but not in the way I was expecting (although looking back, the foreshadowing should have made it pretty obvious).
The issue ends on a completely different note, reintroducing us to some familiar and long absent characters in a splash page that is equal parts beautiful and terrifying.
Is it Good?
Besides the opening and closing, the only part of the issue that takes place outside of Harold’s lab involves Leo and Splinter discussing why taking on Shredder and the Foot should take priority over a world ending threat like the Technodrome. It quickly and effectively makes a very good (if not airtight) argument for the sensei’s desire to stick to the street level war at hand.
My only gripe with the issue was how quickly Angel changed into the Metalhead Buster suit. I know we’re dealing with alien dimensions and anamorphic creatures, but c’mon…that was a little too ridiculous.
Overall, however, the scenes with Metalhead were a pure joy to behold. Waltz was even kind enough to add in some reasonable tech explanations beyond ‘awesome weaponized robot’ for what made Metalhead tick and why he was malfunctioning.
Combine that with the issue’s chilling conclusion, and you have yet another great chapter in what is turning out to be a legendary run for the franchise. I know that many of us are scared about what Michael Bay might do to our beloved heroes in a half shell, but at least we can all take solace in the fact that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book universe is consistently being guided by capable and talented hands.