TMNT Color Classics Vol.3 #4 Review

Posted April 27, 2015 by Chris White in Comic Books

Written by: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Jim Lawson

Art by: A. C. Farley, Jim Lawson

Publisher: IDW

Originally printed in September 1992, this issue is part of the highly regarded story arc, City at War and follows the turtles as they struggle to find meaning in a world without their arch nemesis, the Shredder. Without their leader Splinter, the turtles are directionless and unsure of what to do next as the streets are quickly escalating into madness with the foot clan terrorising the citizens of New York City in the wake of their great master’s apparent death.

The idea to re-release the old comics was a fantastic one because for a huge turtle’s fan who loved the cartoon and the films growing up, I never really had a chance to read them due to the difficulty in tracking them down in the UK. As a child, I wasn’t really aware of their existence and not having the internet made a huge difference. Thankfully, IDW have made me very happy and from what I’ve read of the series so far, I can safely say that I’m in love with what I’ve seen.

There is such raw power in the artwork and the grittiness of the limited colour palette matches the sombre tone of the issue perfectly. Set almost completely at night, the shading gives the characters a great sense of mystery and hides their purpose just as much as it hides their faces. The dialogue is punchy and swollen with wit, giving the turtles I know a much added realism and sense of maturity. You feel for these guys; everything they had has gone and Eastman, Laird and Lawson convey their absent tenacity excellently. They wander the streets and rooftops, bickering with Leo, all scared and lost but not feeling like they can truly express this in front of each other; with every dialogue bubble, the subtlety of their insecurities are written well and it is clear that these guys are very close to the characters they created.

As for the story itself, City at War is going from strength to strength. The pacing is fantastic and each of the three main plotlines are given equal time to grow and shine in their own right. As previously mentioned, the turtles are still in New York but their close friend, April O’ Neil is staying in Los Angeles with her sister, Robyn and as much as she tries to move on, she can’t help but think about her friends and Casey Jones. It is good to see April in this environment; she is lost without them all, just like the Turtles and just like Casey and it is only a matter of time before she is reunited with the heroes in a half-shell (I hope). It is a nice touch on the story and as a reader you wish they were all back together like they should be. Casey is feeling bad after making a move on April and in his eyes, failing miserably. He goes to the farmhouse to find April but is greeted by silence and empty rooms. In a rage, he drives off to a bar, gets beaten up and is helped by a pleasant bartender called Gabby. I always remember Casey to be this hockey stick-wielding badass, so to show a vulnerable and emotionally unstable hero adds a depth that was always absent from other adaptations.

Let’s face it: these guys are pros. They created this legendary franchise and without them, all the other mediums and versions of the turtles you all know and love would never have seen the light of day. I for one love these comics and will continue to read them as the old classics get a re-release, especially with the sad developments of the current run of comics but that is a different conversation all together. For now, go and pick up these colour classics and read them as I did: with a warming sense of nostalgia and respect because this is how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were always meant to be enjoyed.

About the Author

Chris White

Rock n' Roll Nerd, Gamer, Writer, Lover and procrastinator.