Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2012


(w) Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz (a) Kevin Eastman
IDW Publishing
$8.99, 64 pages
    I’ll start right out and say that I did not expect to see Kevin Eastman on art duties for this book.
    Eastman, along with Peter Laird, created the Turtles what seems like ages ago. Eastman did have a heavy hand in the latest relaunch of the Turtles. He has provided story for each issue, and he also had credits for art layouts for the first four issues. Turtle fans are now treated to an entire annual’s size of new Eastman Turtles art, which is sure to be pleasing just on that basis alone.
    But new Turtle art doesn’t exactly fill up the book. About half the book gives way to the reader learning about some new human characters in the new Turtles universe. There is a big climactic fight at the end of the book that does involve the Turtles, and Raph pops in and out of the story throughout, so if you are going into the book looking for the new Turtle art then there will be a bit of a wait. The ensuing fight at the climax of the story does justify some page time being given to the new characters in order for everything to payoff storywise.
      If you have been reading the Color Classics Ninja Turtles series, you will get a great idea of Eastman’s art style. The big step up from previous artwork to this issue is that Eastman is taking advantage of filling every panel with more detail, especially in the backgrounds, than he did all those years ago. Black and white art is used throughout the story, but I can’t help but wonder if that takes away from the story a little. If the full color cover is any indication, this book could have used a little help from that in the art department.
    There are a lot of new characters introduced in this book, and it can be difficult to keep track of who is who if you are trying to speed read through the book. Thankfully, just as the classic TMNT series, each character has a distinct tone of voice and characterization that comes through the words they speak. Also to help keep the characters in order are introduction boxes for each character when they first appear in the story, offering a joke or two about the distinct attributes for each character that makes them memorable in their own right.
    Shredder also manages to make an appearance in the story and gets about as much page time as Splinter. So if those are your favorite characters, don’t expect much outside of their directions to other characters and a couple of funny moments with Splinter.
    This comic comes with a pretty big price tag of $8.99, but for 64 pages of all new Eastman art, I’d say it is worth the deal. This is essentially two of the monthly comics in one with the same price tag, with Eastman art!