The Turtles and their friends are on their way to rescue Raphael. The result is a high-octane, action-packed issue that sees the series tie into one of the TMNT’s earliest stories.
RETRO REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #11 (VOLUME 2)
(W/A) Jim Lawson, (I) Eric Talbot, (C) Eric Vincent, (CA) Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Volume 2 of Mirage’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been, to put it kindly, an uneven ride. This is partly due to series’ writer/artist Jim Lawson still developing as a writer at this stage of his career. However, the series has managed to overcome this shortcoming to provide readers with questions and their subsequent answers. And in this issue, Lawson and his collaborators answer the burning question, “what would it be like if the Mirage Casey acted like an Arnold Schwarzenegger character?”
The creative team has Casey acting like the former governor of California (under the influence of his neighbor/ally Lou) for the majority of the issue, and while the gimmick is initially entertaining, it wears out its welcome very fast, especially when Casey begins pulling of physically impossible feats. It isn’t believable, particularly when Casey has been portrayed as a strong, but relatively normal guy. With Casey pulling off the “impossible” feats normally reserved for the Turtles, they are left with little else to do. The idea of a Casey-centric issue is not necessarily a bad thing, but for a series that has been careful to ensure that there are real stakes and actions have consequences, this whole sequence (which takes up about 2/3 of the issue) is less TMNT and more Looney Tunes. It’s action-packed, but absolutely ridiculous.
They ultimately rescue Raphael, and in the process discover all the other creatures that DARPA has been accumulating over the years. One of these creatures is a Triceraton. Not just any Triceraton, but one of the three Triceratons that were transported to earth back in Volume 1, Issue #6-7 (1986). In all honesty, this would’ve been a good place to end the issue. But it doesn’t end. Not for another few pages. When the final page comes, the story is just cut off suddenly, without warning. It’s so clunky and unnatural, I had to read over the last few pages to be sure I didn’t miss anything. But I didn’t. Issue #11 just stops dead in its tracks.
Issue #11 of Volume 2 had all the potential to pull this series out of its funk, but instead a series of bizarre creative decisions will leave readers scratching their heads. It’s not a bad issue, but it isn’t necessarily a good issue either – a problem that has persisted throughout Volume 2. And unfortunately, it doesn’t appear likely that the final issues will be much better.