Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – New Animated Adventures Volume 1 / Author: Kenny Byerly / Artist: Dario Brizuela / Publisher: IDW / Release Date: January 21st
The renewed interest in everybody's favourite heavily mutated, martial arts-practising amphibians has lead to some rather interesting re-interpretations of the source material. For example, IDW has released some brilliantly rendered origin stories that add a level of depth to the original rather tongue-in-cheek material.
However, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures Volume 1 is not one of them, and yet it is no less charming because of this. As you may be able to guess from the title, this book is based on the cartoon of the same name and it’s all aimed firmly at kids. No dark re-interpretations of Krang as some sort extra-dimensional alien horror or Shredder as a reincarnated psychopath who has haunted mankind through the ages; instead what we have is the tale of four brothers who like eating pizza, telling jokes and kicking ass, and it’s all the better for it. There is no complexity to this, but the raw appeal of the original show shines through, and you can almost hear the theme tune to the slightly crappy 1980s cartoon play as you read about their various adventures.
The art helps the light-hearted mood of this book. The turtles look like smiling children for the most part, and April O’Neil is a young girl, rather than a sassy woman. The art is bright, loud and simple, as is the storyline. They are some nice nods to the source material (including a fun little sight gag about news reporters), but this is a book that is all about the fun, rather than cohesive storytelling. The plots don’t go far beyond ‘get this thing’ or ‘hit this baddy’. They are some new monsters introduced here, which is handy as the Turtles have always had a rather slim roster of villains and though they aren’t that interesting, these gross caricatures are entertaining. (It will be interesting to see if giant plant people and mutant dog-men make it into the more mature versions of these books, however.)
Over all, if you find yourself with a hankering for the kid-friendly Turtles adventures that sprung up during the last bout of TMNT-mania, then you’ll be very pleased with this. Those expecting blood and darkness however, should check out the material that isn’t based on a Nickelodeon show. If you’re desperate to get your kids hooked on martial arts movies though, this may be your first step.