Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vol. 1 (IDW)

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are here, updated for the 21st century! Gone are those annoying catch-phrase shouting pizza-slurping turtles of the 90′s! Unfortunately those gritty, razor-edged turtles of the 80′s are not back either. Instead, we have a product that is a blend of the two. Not quite as annoying as the 90′s. Not quite as awesome as the 80′s.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles return to comics in their first IDW adventure!  It’s a different world for the Turtles. The group is broken as Raphael wanders the streets of NYC in search of food and shelter. His brothers and Master Splinter are on the search, but so far all they can find is trouble – in the form of mutant alley cat Old Hob and his gang of criminals!The very core of the Turtles family is at stake as the new origin of TMNT is revealed! Join Tom Waltz, Dan Duncan, and TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman for the start of a wild ride!

That first line of solicitation sets the tone for the book. It is a different world for the turtles. Gone is the awesome radioactive slime origin. Instead it is replaced with a modern genetic engineering origin. Gone is the extreme violence that was over and above anything being published in the 80′s. In its place is the same level of action and bloodshed that is in any other modern comic (complete with an admonition “not to kill” from Splinter). April O’Neil is back. But, instead of a plucky reporter, she is now an wide-eyed lab assistant.

The story is pretty good, if really only an origin story, and the art is a nice balance between the sketchiness of the original Turtles and the slick, polished look of the Archie Turtles. In short, you will believe a turtle can fight.  But, will you be excited about it?

This new version of TMNT will be satisfying for people who never read any of the original turtle books, but always heard how the heroes in a half-shell “used to be so much cooler”. These turtles have a harder edge and a meaner attitude than anything we have seen from them in a while. Unfortunately, these are still not the turtles I remember loving so much in the mid-80′s.

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