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TMNT Comic Review: Casey & April

 

Today marks the fourth and final issue of the most recent IDW miniseries, Casey & April. This miniseries was a wonderful journey of character development for the two iconic Turtles characters, which is something we have not been able to truly focus on. Keep reading for a full summary and review of the miniseries:

Writer’s Note: Spoilers Ahead

In TMNT #46, we received an exciting explanation from Dr. Miller, describing how an ancient Foot Clan scroll spoke of animal-esq humans, magic powers, and the manipulation of human history. But, what did this scroll mean? Determined, April takes the scroll to Splinter, looking to learn more. In Casey & April, the two characters go on their own journey trying to uncover more of the scroll’s mysteries in hopes of learning more about the Foot Clan.

The series parallels the main IDW storyline quite well. The most recent TMNT arc leading to issue #50 has been a whirlwind. From Donnie suffering his tragic battle to Casey’s father, Hun, at full strength, it has been a stressful time for both of these characters. This miniseries was a charming change of pace from the main story. With the story setting in the American southwest region, life moves slowly, so readers were able to enjoy dialogue instead of straight action, although plenty of action still occurred.

As we started the four issues, the staunch differences between Casey Jones and April O’Neil were clearly apparent. Casey’s “slow” brain and hot temper did not seem to mesh well with April’s quick intelligence and confidence. The two begin to bicker and our newly lovebirds seem too different to ever function as a healthy couple. After rear-ending an old man’s car, Casey and April are forced to split up and leave off a in pseudo-argument. Casey takes the scroll and a motorcycle to investigate an ancient armory in the region, while April takes the van to deliver a message to the sister of the person they rear ended. That’s when we discover that the old man is actually the infamous Rat King…something seems fishy.

When Casey arrives at the location of the armory, he actually discovers a men’s club that advocates peace and tranquility. They are able to sense Casey’s built-up aggression and encourage him to understand that anger “is a mask we hide behind”. Leaving, he calls April on the phone, who has just entered the trailer of the sister she is delivering the message to. Upon entering, she phases out of the normal world and into a labyrinth. Casey rushes to her aid.

The two end up meeting up in the labyrinth. They are near each other, but there is clear symbolism that both characters must overcome their own obstacles to  be “together”. The “only way out [of the labyrinth] is in”. When they officially reunite, they are not alone. They are led to a room with the Rat King and a new character, Aka, who explains the two are in a liminal space (a place of transition). Casey and April learn that Rat King, Aka, and Kitsune are immortal siblings that are able to take on an animal form via shapeshifting. Rat King emobodies the Rat, Kitsune the fox, and Aka (pictured in cover) the bird. The immortal family is gathering for a new war, which could be a clue to a future storyline post-issue #50. Aka privately whispers “you are a beginning” to April, which is indicates some type of future importance. Casey and April return to reality and drive off with their newfound knowledge and understanding of more than just what it takes to make a relationship work.

The story for Casey & April was done by Mariko Tamaki, artwork by Irene Koh, and colors by Paul Reinwand (#1) and Brittany Peer (#2, #3, #4). We discussed Tamaki’s great use of capitalizing on a character development story, especially since the main TMNT story has been filled with action lately. Although important for the story, Casey & April, like most IDW miniseries, is not a necessary read to understand the main Turtles title. I would have liked to see more information about the scroll, itself, but perhaps that is to come in future issues. The only questionably negative thing I saw from this series is we see very vulnerable aspects of both characters. Particularly with April, we discover that her constant studying of science created a somewhat stressful childhood, but this appears inconsistent since it does not appear that April has indicated any issue with her studies in the main storyline. I did really like how Casey, who is usually a strong character, showed his vulnerable side and needed help from a friend.

The artwork and colors worked really well for me. Koh is a great artist, and is different than many of the current TMNT artists, which adds some individuality to the series. I especially enjoyed Koh’s use of full-page artwork (e.g., when Casey and April meet in the labyrinth). Koh pairs wonderfully with Reinwand/Peer’s colors. The coloring in this series appears intentionally dulled, which really makes the reader feel like they are in the slow-moving southwest.

All in all, Casey & April was a refreshing miniseries and comes with our stamp of recommendation!

The Author

Ian Gaudreau

Ian Gaudreau

Goongala! My name is Ian Gaudreau and for the past few years, TMNT has become a serious hobby of mine. I have been a fan of the Turtles since I was a kid, but I became attached to their fascinating comic book history. I am a huge comic book fan, and the Turtles are my all-time favorite story. My primary focus is the current IDW publishing run, but I am familiar with most TMNT iterations. My job here is to share all that I have learned and give you my insight and opinion to the monthly comic books! If you would like me to review something, I would love to know what it is!

You can read me @iangaudreau

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