REVIEW: TMNT ANNUAL 2022
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2022
Story by Juni Ba
Art by Juni Ba and Ronda Pattinson
Published by IDW
Released March 30th, 2022
The Turtles embark on a secret mission to their roots, but a mysterious creature hunts them relentlessly. The Turtles will have to find a new way to come together to escape their foe-and the pain that haunts them. A special story of remembrance and family written and drawn by acclaimed artist Juni Ba!
“I KINDA MISS THIS, GUYS…”
Leonardo confesses that as he and his brothers face a supernatural adversary that preys on insecurities. That’s what TMNT Annual 2022 is essentially about. Yet, it’s about so much more. It’s about facing loss, overcoming insecurities, and rising above it all. And it’s a short tale executed wonderfully by Juni Ba. I miss it too, Leo. I think a majority of TMNT fans do. And I’ll touch on that in the “notes”. I wasn’t expected much with the Annual…as last years had a great story of the Rat King that (so far) has led nowhere into the main title nearly a year later. But I was immediately hooked into Ba’s story as it presented something we haven’t seen in whats felt like forever: Direction.
Well, perhaps that’s harsh. But direction on brand with what IDW’s TMNT title has become beloved for. Ba leaves the furry fan fiction and aimless relationship drama in the sewers, and decides to paint us a picture (literally) of growth and determination. And Ba has said more in one issue than the two dozen of the mainline series.
- Juni Ba tells us a brief but beautifully strong story of grief, family, and teamwork.
- Ba and Pattinson’s artwork is unique and stylish that fits the mood of the story perfectly.
- The “Leech Spirit” is an interesting and creative “villain” built for character growth. You get just enough of it in this short story.
- The callback of the red bandanas when the TMNT finally are fighting on the same page, and speaking of the loss of their father was poignant and beautiful.
Notes: I have been unnaturally optimistic with Sophie Campbell’s current two year TMNT run. Maybe it’s because I grew up with these characters and refuse to simply “give up” on some uninteresting direction. The last few issues have been moving in a solid direction, yet when writing like this Annual comes along….you realize what more the title could be. Ba mentions how much has changed within the IDW TMNT-verse in the form of dialogue between the Turtles. The brother’s briefly reminisce about their “old” days (intergalactic travel, Triceratrons etc) as Mikey claims he misses the “fun”. So do we, Mikey. We have our four Turtle brothers practicing the art of Ninja, voicing their doubts…reflections…and grief. All while battling an interesting villain. A dosage of action. And overcoming the odds as a family. The use of Master Splinter in the last pages of the book are heartbreaking yet important. And it leaves a lasting impression of sadness…yet hope with an optimistic message. Maybe that’s why I’m so optimistic when it comes to TMNT. Because that’s what they’ve always taught me. If you’re going to want to read an issue of TMNT this year so far, pick up TMNT Annual 2022.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Annual 2022 is now available wherever comics are sold!