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RETRO REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #2 (VOLUME 2)

Our retrospective on Mirage Volume 2 continues in Issue #2, with more pieces being set into place. The Turtles continue to have a crisis of conscience, while an old enemy reemerges…

RETRO REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #2 (Vol.2)

(W/A) Jim Lawson, (I) Jason Minor, (C) Eric Vincent

I’ll admit to being hard on the old Mirage crew in the past for embracing decompressed storytelling. A good chunk of my “City At War” annotations saw me covering several pages in the space of a paragraph, or simply commenting something akin to “not much happens here.” That trend continued into the first issue of the relaunched Ninja Turtles title, colloquially referred to as Mirage Volume 2. However, to my surprise, the second issue of this series is packed with a good amount of material. The result is a fulfilling and satisfying comic that leaves the reader wanting more.

Perhaps the strongest narrative of this issue is Lawson aging up the Turtles without their father to guide them. Left to their own devices, Leonardo, Raphael, and Michealangelo* are forced to find their own way into adulthood. For Mikey, he takes to journaling, a revelation that leads to a humorous yet melancholy exchange with Raphael. With Donatello already away from the group – choosing to stay in Northampton with Splinter – Leonardo is faced with the realization that they may never again a united group.

Speaking of Leonardo, he is also the star of an exciting and poignant action sequence. Lawson’s work serves as a commentary on the role of heroes and the violence in society. In observing this sequence almost 25 years after publication, it is perhaps most striking how little these conversations have changed during the years. As for the action itself, Lawson’s rendering make for fluid, kinetic chase. Jason Minor’s inking helps the images pop against the bold colors by Eric Vincent.

The chase may be the stand-out moment, but the closing sequence is the one that leaves readers with a bunch of questions. Despite much of the goodwill built up over the course of the issue, there is still a lot of work put into setting up the series’ main conflict. The reveal, while exciting, fails in its execution. If the creative team is trying to make a point about decompressed storytelling in comics, they are doing so to their own detriment.

While it does suffer some the same flaws as the first issue, TMNT #2 (vol.2) sees the creators deliver a big jump in quality. There’s a lot of turtley goodness crammed between the covers, though the pacing of the series remains an area of concern. However, the promise shown here should make readers eager to check out Issue #3.

*This is how it was spelled throughout the Mirage and Image comics.

Editor's Rating

7.5
Step-Up Dudes! 7.5

The Author

Dan Gehen

Dan Gehen

Dan Gehen is a lot of things, but one thing he's been for his entire life is a TMNT fan (this has been verified by watching embarrassing home videos of his formative years). Though the classic 1980s cartoon caused his 3-year-old version to drive his parents insane via the constant repetition of "cowabunga dude", his true appreciation for the heroes in a half-shell came from the 1990 feature film as well as the comics by Mirage Studios. Today, he continues to enjoy comics from a variety of publishers, including the current TMNT series from IDW Publishing.

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