No One Wants To Go To New Jersey In Rise Of The TMNT #2
by James Ferguson
Master Splinter has gotten a little too lazy lately and the Ninja Turtles want to get him out of the house…err…sewer. They get the bright idea to send him to a hypnotist show from a guy with the not-at-all-weird-sounding moniker of “Dr. J.R. Fakename” only to face a zombified audience under the spell of the dread Hypno-Potamus. The Turtles will have to act fast to stop this new threat and save their father.
I love everything about that description. If you’re not excited about all that, I don’t know what to tell you. Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reaches this super fun all-ages spot in the TV show and that has definitely translated into the comic. This issue has a great flow to it as writer Matthew K. Manning juggles multiple threads before tying them all together in a great bow, while also moving the overall plot forward.
Hypno-Potamus’ plan is simultaneously brilliant and hilarious. The long and short of it is that he’s trying to get people out of New York City so he hypnotizes them and makes them walk to New Jersey. The Turtles are all in agreement that that’s a punishment worse than death, but get sidetracked with Splinter’s growing laziness.
We’ve seen Splinter as a wizened old ninja warrior. This one is a little, fat old man. He’s already proven himself in martial arts and he’s earned some time to relax. All he wants to do is eat some food and watch some TV and that’s something I think most of us can get behind. Artist Chad Thomas has a great look for Splinter that captures a lovable quality the character has rarely seen. You could totally see this Splinter wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
Although he’s a bit more rotund than usual, Master Splinter is still every bit the skilled martial artist. This makes for some humorous fight scenes as this chubby rat flies into action with a series of devastating punches and kicks.
The dialogue between the Turtles, especially when their in the midst of a fight, is fantastic. Manning fills this with silly arguments and fun gags. They’re teenagers, after all, so they’re easily distracted and they fight about the dumbest stuff even when they should be focused on the very real danger that’s in front of them. In this issue, Raph and Mikey get into an argument about monster names that spills out into several pages and is always hilarious.
This issue also sees the introduction of a worm newscaster named Warren Stone who narrates the opening battle. He serves as a critical and judgmental voice where we’re used to the Turtles high praise of themselves. It’s like a tiny worm version of J. Jonah Jameson. Letterer Christa Miesner breaks up Warren’s narration boxes and the Turtles’ word balloons to give us both sides of the story. Warren’s words are usually delivered in this dramatic fashion that comes through in his balloons, too.
I’m still in love with these new designs for the Ninja Turtles. They seem more colorful than previous incarnations. The whole world of Rise of the TMNT is very vibrant and makes for a great reading experience. Colorist Heather Breckel creates a wide-ranging palette that lends itself to the crazy world these characters inhabit. Anything can and will happen here, even hypnotist hippos.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a solid all-ages comic that is approachable for new or old fans of the characters. The basic elements of each Turtle are on display with some fun new spins on them. The jokes as fast as they are numerous and will definitely bring a smile to your face. This is a great book to read with your kids.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 from IDW Publishing is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.