Last issue Hob’s mutant army received a couple of unwelcomed recruits. Now we get to see the fallout. Is it good?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #39 (IDW Publishing)
The issue opens with a good reminder of how this iteration of Bebop and Rocksteady is quite different from the 80’s/90s television show. Yes, they’re stupid…and yes, they do provide some slapstick comic relief from time to time — but the malevolent mutant duo are also incredibly destructive and deadly, like a pair of angry toddlers wielding automatic rifles.
Meanwhile, the rift between the Turtles and Donatello shows no signs of closing back into a family. To make matters worse, Donnie acts like a complete douche to the few people who are willing and able to help him… and he’s definitely going to need their assistance. Turns out that despite his rude behavior, Donatello’s heightened fears about the Technodrome coming to earth weren’t frantic enough.
The subplot heavy issue continues with a nice (but somewhat forced) surrogate father/adopted son moment between Casey and Mr. O’Neil along with a meeting between two badass supporting characters that need (and will soon get) a lot more screen time.
It’s not until the end of the issue that we get to see how Hob and Co. and the Turtles react to Pete’s hilariously bad recruiting efforts. A predictably awesome fight ensues, but we also get a few more intriguing and slightly unexpected threads heading into the next issue:
1. Hob REALLY hates humans… like, even more than we previously realized.
2. This whole deal with Donnie ditching the group isn’t just a one off thing. He really doesn’t want to have anything to do with them, even when it’s clear that they need his help.
3. Alopex and Angel are about to make one heck of a cool team.
Is it Good?
The only places where Tom Waltz’s scripts ever seem to stumble are the forced emotional impact points involving Casey Jones. This is odd considering that one of the series’ best issues was entirely dedicated to the conflict with Casey and his father.
But where he has excelled in this arc and many others is over the long haul. This rift between Donnie and his brothers isn’t some contrived plot device that’s going to be fixed by the end of a half hour cartoon. It’s been building for a while and there are already some very real consequences.
It’s also worth noting that even though Hob’s reaction to Bebop and Rocksteady is a bit unexpected, it’s also completely in character with how he’d been previously portrayed.
Add in more amazing fight scenes, great pencils by Mateus Santalouco, and the potential for a very cool Alopex/Angel team up and well…I’m starting to repeat myself a lot about how great this series is, but it’s true. IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles perfectly balances complex characters, intricate plots, and incredible action to make a comic that even a non-TMNT fan would enjoy.
…and if you are a fan of the franchise, there’s no reason for you to be skipping this book. It might very well be the best run of TMNT comics ever produced.