Retro Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #8 (Volume 2)
The four Turtles are reunited, as Donnie shows up to bring the fight to Baxter Stockman. It’s an action packed installment of Volume 2 that’ll make readers want the next issue in their hands right away.
RETRO REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #7 (VOLUME 2)
(W/A) Jim Lawson, (I) Eric Talbot, (C) Eric Vincent, (CA) Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
This issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a perfect blend of the animated series’ high jinks and the weirdly dark nature of the Mirage Studios branding. Full of kick-ass action and snappy dialogue, this is arguably the most fun of the “canon” Mirage issues to date. What really ties it together is the creative team’s characterization of Baxter Stockman.
When this issue was originally published in 1994, Stockman’s most prominent appearances had come in the original animated series, which to this point had 7 seasons. And that version of the character was a far cry from this. Whitewashed and then mutated into a fly, animated Stockman was genius, but also a sniveling little coward. The character was popular, yes, but no one ever took him seriously. Writer and artist Jim Lawson does something about that here.
Throughout Volume 2, Baxter Stockman – now a robot – has been a lumbering force of nature with little personality until now. Engaged in battle with the TMNT, he unloads a series of snarky quips that are as brutal as his physical attacks. He also proves to be full self-serving, with respect for no one but himself. These traits that are fully defined here have been a staple of the character ever since (except for, of course, the movie TMNT: Out of the Shadows).
The action itself moves at a brisk pace without sacrificing the sense of high stakes. In fact, the battle ultimately ends with Raphael being thrown from the rooftop battle, leading into the issue’s surprise cliffhanger. It also showcases the full capabilities of Stockman’s upgraded form, as well as some weaknesses. Overall, these are some welcome developments.
If there is a flaw, it’s that the issue goes by too fast. You can read this at a casual pace and be done in about 5 minutes. This is in part because of the clunky rush to the cliffhanger ending. Also, the colors by Eric Vincent and inks by Eric Talbot make this issue very dark. It’s difficult to figure out what’s going on at times, but that is more likely and issue with paper aging over time.
TMNT #8 is a highly entertaining installment in Volume 2. It’s worth the (very short) time investment to check it out.