The Turtles are pursuing Dr. WhereWhen when they are suddenly taken to Feudal Japan, where they meet Usagi Yojimbo. Check out this encounter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo: WhereWhen #1 by IDW Publishing!
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES/USAGI YOJIMBO: WHEREWHEN #1
Writer: Stan Sakai
Artist: Stan Sakai
Colorist: Hi-Fi Design
Letterer: Stan Sakai
Editor: Scott Dunbier
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: April 12th, 2023
Previously in TMNT Usagi Yojimbo: Check out the new crossover between TMNT and Usagi Yojimbo. This is a joint venture between IDW Publishing and the new Dark Horse imprint, Dogu Publishing! This title is written and drawn by Usagi’s creator Stan Sakai.
THE INITIAL MEETING
TMNT/Usagi Yojimbo: WhereWhen #1 starts with Miyamoto Usagi hearing about a kappa drowning villagers. He manages to convince Lord Noriyuki to allow him to go and check it out, but the Lord believes this is a waste of time. Tamoe, Jotaro, and Yukichi accompany Usagi, and they split up to try and find the kappa. Tomoe Ame and Usagi intensely discuss Ame’s marriage before they see the kappa and quickly dispose of it.
In the modern day, the Ninja Turtles sneak into a warehouse where they find Dr. WhereWhen, a time-traveling robotic scientist. The turtles dispatch WhereWhen’s henchman before WhereWhen time travels. The Turtles chase him through time, and Donatello sets the coordinates to feudal Japan. The disoriented turtles arrive face-to-face with Jotaro and Yukichi, who declare them kappas.
TIME TRAVEL SHINANEGANS
I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this title. I don’t know much about Usagi Yojimbo, nor have I followed the recent TMNT line. So I approached this as a new reader only familiar with the title. TMNT/Usagi Yojimbo: WhereWhen #1 introduced many Usagi characters quickly without that much context. I ultimately turned to Wikipedia to try and catch myself up.
Additionally, we see quite a bit of character moments for the Usagi side, and the TMNT characters don’t get the same attention within those first issues. I think that had a lot to do with Stan Sakai being the creator of this miniseries, where we will see better care for Usaji than the turtles. Hopefully, we can find a little more balance in future issues.
The art style is standard for Stan Saeki, but seeing the turtles and New York in the Usagi style was engaging. Sakei’s technique worked well for Modern New York and was great to look at. Great work here.
BOTTOM LINE: NOT SOLD YET
I am on the fence about TMNT/Usagi Yojimbo #1 because I spent a lot of energy focusing on the story’s context. Now that both character groups are brought together, I hope we take more time to explore the turtles’ place in this world, and I can take the role of a reader instead of a researcher. This comic gets 3.5 out of 5 stars, and I will pick up the next issue.
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo: WhereWhen #1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo: WhereWhen #1 plays to Stan Saeki’s strength, which is the characterization of Usagi and his crew.