Created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird
Story by Kevin Eastman
Script by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz
Illustrated by Kevin Eastman
Letters by Robbie Robbins with Shawn Lee
Covers by Kevin Eastman
Published by IDW
the three cents.
This self-contained, king-sized story is Eastman’s first go at a truly solo story in many, many years (if ever), and it reads smoothly. Actually, it’s a surprisingly great example of a round robin folding circle narrative done right. The tale centers on Raphael and Casey Jones, but with a huge cast of characters that results in what may literally be the biggest game of keep-away I’ve ever seen in comics.
Set in the continuity of IDW’s in progress updating of the characters and their world, Eastman does his best Tarantino impression in telling a Mexican standoff yarn involving the Turtles, the Foot, the Savate and the Purple Dragons, along with an assortment of NYC locals, crooked cops and bums alike. He works the plot by constantly looping back on itself, showing scenes from the perspectives of other characters, constantly expanding the POV while the one core thread reaches so many different players for entirely separate reasons. It’s all really brilliant, fast-paced and action-filled storytelling, with fun dialogue and several in-jokes by way of very familiar names from Eastman’s personal list of friends and influences.
The artwork is black and white and gray, with potently strong compositions and layouts. The panel flow is articulate and measured and loaded out the arse with personality. It may have been awhile since he last illustrated such a sizable story, but we are quickly reminded just how iconic his style has honestly become over the last quarter century. Seriously, without tracing photos, how many artists today could so easily portray so many distinct characterizations in black and white? And Eastman infuses these pages with energetic bravado at that. The lettering held its own against the art, with minimal need for elaborate SFX though thoughtfully giving the few mutants in the story balloon designs of their own, to insinuate the obviously inhuman voices. This comic is just insanely well done from start to finish and everywhere inbetween.
I do confess to having qualms with how IDW is handling the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles branding, with the clear need for additional sub-branding of the assorted reprints of Mirage and Archie materials so as to better differentiate the books for new readers. The core TMNT ongoing (which this book does fit somewhere into) may be reinterpreting the past, but these are all very different comics in both content and aim. This book however, is by far the most radical of the newer material, and boldly stands as a great accomplishment for a modern pro. Especially with the plot here being such an exquisite crime (melo)drama, maybe it’s even time to finally let him have a go at Daredevil…