by Dan Gehen

Team Turtles recover from Baxter Stockman’s attack on April and determine that it’s time to go on the offensive. The brothers and Casey reunite because this time, it’s personal!


(W/A) Jim Lawson, (I) Eric Talbot, (C) Eric Vincent, (CA) Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman

In case you missed it, I found the previous issue – TMNT #6 – to be painfully mediocre. Thankfully, that hiccup in quality seems to have lasted only one issue, as TMNT #7 sees the series rebound with an engaging and action-packed installment. From start to finish, the creative team of Jim Lawson, Eric Talbot, and Eric Vincent captivates the audience with an issue that seems to combine the best of the Turtles franchise at the time.

Perhaps the best thing to come out of this volume of Ninja Turtles comics is the portrayal of Baxter Stockman. After the Turtles dealt with him way back in TMNT #2, he was absent from the comics until the Archie series, which was based on the popular Fred Wolf cartoon. That version of Baxter Stockman was a weak-willed lackey of the Shredder. Here, writer/artist Jim Lawson depicts Stockman as a self aggrandizing genius, which would influence the character’s appearances in both the 2003 and 2012 cartoons. This Stockman is not a capable villain, but his personality makes him a character readers can love to hate.

Baxter’s attack on April in Issue #6 sees Team Turtles thrust into action, with Casey Jones being the biggest beneficiary. Since the “City at War” prelude in TMNT Vol.1 #48-49, Casey’s character in the Mirage continuity had been neutered. Rather than get involved in whatever adventure the Turtles were up to, he was relegated to the sidelines to wallow in self-pity. But here, the attack galvanizes him, and we see a bit of vintage Casey, though he is still a far cry from the unhinged, hockey-masked vigilante we were introduced to in Raphael Micro-Series #1. Still, it is a welcome addition to a comic that had been a slog over its previous few issues.

Jim Lawson’s art is still kinetic and fluid, but the linework is not as crisp as it usually is. That falls either to him or inker Eric Talbot, especially in the issue’s opening pages. Though the problem seems to resolve itself as the comic progresses, it is an unfortunate first impression for an otherwise solid issue. Thankfully, Eric Vincent does another admirable job providing this issue’s colors, giving the book an overall unified look. He does a particularly good job with color gradients to depict various lighting schemes.

TMNT #7 is an overall pleasant read that should reinvigorate reader’s interest in the series. Not only is it well executed, but it sets several events in motion that will drive excitement for what lies ahead. Bring on Issue #8!

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