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COMIC REVIEW: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles FCBD Special 2017

There was one release from last week which may have slipped under the radar… unless you were able to celebrate Free Comic Book Day at your local shop. If you did, chances are you picked up this FCBD special starring the TMNT. If you haven’t, you might wonder if it’s worth the effort to track down. Don’t worry, we got you covered.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles FCBD Special 2017

(W) Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, Kevin Eastman (A) Cory Smith (C) Ronda Pattison

If there’s one thing that has proven true across all of IDW’s TMNT comics, is that everything counts. I mean everything. So those completionists out there are going to want to pick this up if they want to know why the Turtles’ old pal, Professor Honeycutt, has returned. Furthermore, this free special sets up the next few months worth of stories, including a visit back to Dimension X. So now that you know what the issue entails, the question remains: is it any good? In short, yes.

While the issue does suffer the typical trappings of a FCBD issue, specifically a hefty dose of exposition aiming to get new readers caught up (or pique their interest in back-issues), there is a coherent and well executed plot thanks to the script by Tom Waltz and the art by Cory Smith. While the issue features the strong characterization readers have come to expect, the story itself goes nowhere. Yes, Waltz was likely (okay, definitely) hamstrung by the pretense that this issue couldn’t have a major impact on the TMNT books, it does not excuse the bland plot. However, as a one-off tale, this is as accessible as they come.

Longtime readers may recognize Smith as the artist for the “Attack on Technodrome” arc. Smith’s artwork is perfect for this type of issue, as his style can look like a blend of all the other artists for the TMNT comics, including Mateus Santolouco, Dan Duncan, and Dave Wachter. It strikes the balance between serious and absurd – the perfect sweet spot for the TMNT. His clean, open layouts are inviting, making it easy for both experienced and novice comic readers to follow the story from start to finish.

Of course, no TMNT book would be complete without the work of colorist Ronda Pattison. As has been the case throughout her tenure as the TMNT’s main colorist, she adapts to best fit the style of the artist while simultaneously giving the series as a whole an overarching and cohesive look. Here, her colors shine when using a mostly flat palette that lets the Turtles stand out against the dark and murky sewers. However, this does not translate very well later in the issue as the action ramps up. The colors begin to blend together and look muddy, a rare misstep for colorist who is typically flawless.

Solid but unspectacular, this FCBD special is not an essential read. The story is thin, despite the efforts of the art team to elevate it. However, it is an excellent entry point for those unfamiliar or uninitiated with IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics.

Editor's Rating

7.0
Free? Why Not. 7.0

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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  • NUMBER ONE TMNT FAN

    It was very similar to the FCBD 2015 issue in my opinion. Great review!!!! FCBD is always a big deal in my family. We make a whole day out of it, so of course i picked this up! TURTLE POWAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!