Donnie Battles The New Metalhead In TMNT Macro-Series – Donatello #1

by James Ferguson

Despite his smarts, Donatello feels like he has a lot to prove. He’s not as capable a fighter as his brothers and we’ve seen how that played out in the latest crossover with Batman. Here he’s on a mission to see into the future in an effort to better prepare for threats before they come. Donnie is haunted by his past shortcomings, such as his near-death experience at the hands of Bebop & Rocksteady. This is what drives him and what has caught the attention of Metalhead, who is still out there in the city with the mind imprint of Donatello from his brief stint in the robot body.

In some ways, Metalhead represents a version of Donatello without a moral compass. He sees the world in black and white through his robotic eyes. This becomes almost Terminator-like as he approaches Donnie in slow, methodical fashion, like an animal stalking its prey.
The new Metalhead is massive and impressive. Artist Brahm Revel makes him look like something out of a Transformers story. Imagine facing this giant wall of metal with nothing more than a wooden stick. That’s the situation Donnie finds himself in. Revel really highlights the inhuman qualities of Metalhead as the robot stares down at his creator without a lick of emotion.

Although the look of Metalhead is top notch, Revel falls short in design for Donatello. I’ve pointed this out when Revel has filled in on the main Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic. The version on display lacks form and looks more like an incomplete sketch than a fully fleshed out individual. Donnie is made up of a circle for a head, an oval for the shell, and a four sticks for his limbs. This stands out even more in this issue as he’s put next to the impressive Metalhead.
Cris Peter’s colors amplify the Terminator feel as Metalhead first appears in the shadows with nothing but the glowing red diodes of his frame and eyes peeking through. When the light hits him, it gleams off his metallic body, once again highlighting the inhuman aspect of the character.

This is also shown in his speech. Letterer Shawn Lee uses a blocky font where all of the letters are exactly the same size. It’s what you would expect from a robot.
Donnie does eventually get a glimpse into the future. If even a fraction of what we see comes to fruition, the next year or so of TMNT comics are going to be pretty action-packed and interesting. There are some major hints dropped and I’m looking forward to seeing this play out.

Writer Paul Allor definitely gets the Ninja Turtles and their personalities. He brings out the core essence of the characters and that is definitely the case in this one-shot focused on Donatello. It explores the Turtle’s flaws and insecurities in an intriguing and exciting way. Donnie’s strength lies in his intelligence, but he sometimes needs help realizing that. This was a great way to play with that concept.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Macro-Series – Donatello from IDW Publishing is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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