Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #7 finally reveals the identity of the mysterious General Krang, and yes, he is a horrible little pink brain from another planet. Also: mousers!
Previously, in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: With the TMNT family finally reunited with prodigal turtle Raphael, Splinter has revealed that they aren’t just a foursome of mutated turtles and one rat; they are also the reincarnations of a murdered samurai family from feudal Japan. But Baxter Stockman pines for his missing science experiments, and has devised a plan to retrieve the mutants before the mysterious General Krang comes calling for a return on his investments.
Last week, TMNT #7 was one of my staff picks, and I predicted that as part of the line’s re-imagining, Krang would no longer be a pink crawling brain in an android body. I am pleased to report that I was in grave error. In this issue, we’re finally introduced to General Krang, and yes, he’s a crawling chunk of gray (pink?) matter fighting a war on the Planet Neutrino. He’s also the money behind the mutagen project run by Baxter Stockman. Meanwhile, Stockman has unleashed the mousers on the sewers, under the control of that cyclopean, mean and mutated alley cat Old Hob.
OLD TURTLE, NEW TRICKS
A story about mutated ninja turtles and cats and brain generals can’t help be somewhat ridiculous, but Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz are crafting a story that resonates. Obviously, there are a lot of elements that will be familiar to old-time fans; mousers, rock soldiers, Neutrinos and more. Pizza is consumed and surfer lingo is uttered. All this makes it comfortable to someone like me, who grew up with the Ninja Turtles, but it should appeal to a new audience as well, with the reincarnation angle adding some freshness. This issue moves along at a quick clip. Waltz writes a script where each character has a distinctive voice and sound. The exposition and action are balanced, and the story tempers the more outlandish elements with a resonant, familial core and a cyclical reincarnation mystery. This issue is an enjoyable outing from what has from the start been a very enjoyable series.
TONIGHT I DINE ON TURTLE SOUP
Dan Duncan’s art recalls the chunky sketchiness of Eastman’s work, but with his own fresh spin. His characters are a little more rounded and fluid, with pleasing expressiveness and motion. Duncan’s skill is readily apparent in the final page, a well-rendered splash featuring an embattled Leonardo framed by the chomping chrome mouths of the threatening mousers. The page is full of drama, tension and emotion, and displays what’s making this book work. Although the “stone soldiers” aren’t as imposing as the rock soldiers I remember, the designs for Krang’s robot body is threatening and functional, and the mouser hordes look more menacing than ever.
IF YOU HAVE ANY INTEREST WHATSOEVER, CHECK IT OUT
At $3.99, I can understand how some people might be nervous about taking a chance, but every issue of this book has been, at the very minimum, solidly entertaining. This incarnation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is much more than a simple exercise in nostalgia. It stands on its own merits as a relevant, fun ongoing series that is well worth the attention of any comic book fan. And as an aside, I deeply appreciate IDW’s policy of keeping their advertisements on the back pages, as well as providing an ample letters page. It makes the read uncluttered and enjoyable, and I wish more publishers would follow suit. I am more willing to pay a higher price when my eyes are burnt by distracting adverts every three pages. Anyhow, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #7 is a bang-up issue, and it gets a well-earned four out of five star rating.