REVIEW: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time #1” Dinosaurs, Dude!

Written by: Paul Allor

Art by: Ross Campbell & Bill Crabtree

IDW Publishing

$3.99

You know how the saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Well, I guess nobody told IDW Publishing that because they’ve bolstered their line-up with yet another fantastic TMNT title. While the main series is tackling more serious drama, it seems that Turtles in Time is going to be a mini-series content to be a fun romp through different time periods.

Whether this shift in tone from the main series will throw readers off or not isn’t clear but I certainly wasn’t fazed by it and, in fact, really enjoy this debut issue. It doesn’t try to do too much, which is really its only weakness, and instead relies pretty heavily on your pre-developed emotional connection to these characters. You can’t fault writer Paul Allor for that because he knows that a vast majority of readers are already familiar with the Turtles and don’t need much additional prodding to become invested in the story.

Starting the mini-series in prehistory seemed pretty appropriate. You can’t go farther back and have a compelling story and artist Ross Campbell alongside colour artist Bill Crabtree make it a visual feast for the eyes. The two manage to straddle the line between crystal clear detail and a minimalist approach. The result is a book that looks really excellent and the bright colour palette helped capture the tone the story was going for. Campbell’s ability to imbue humour onto the facial expressions of the characters was paramount to capturing the vibe Allor created with his dialogue and once again I thought this meshed quite well.

The light-hearted nature of both the script and the artwork can only take this comic so far, so even though I enjoyed it a great deal, the end never really being in doubt, prevents this comic from reaching the upper echelon of scores. So if the end wasn’t supremely satisfying, it’s safe to say that the journey was.

Allor and Campbell make use of the Turtles natural chemistry, their awesome ninja abilities and the setting, a prehistoric jungle, to tell a story that is just as at home on the comic book page as it is on your television screen on Saturday morning. “Turtles in Time #1” is nothing if not a hilarious and adorable romp through a dinosaur, and Utrom, infested jungle. From Raph’s pet baby dinosaur named “Pepperoni”, to Michelangelo’s triumphant shout “Turtles can fly!” a clever quip or homage to these classic characters is never far away.

Verdict

There is still a lot to learn about why the turtles are time-hopping in the first place but the fun journey was enough to ignore what we didn’t learn in this debut. Allor and Campbell will need to dig a bit deeper next time out to create a bit more drama. This issue did an amazing job of contrasting these characters. Scenes where they’re leaping into action are just as compelling as Michelangelo regaling stories of his own greatest over a plant and leaf pizza pie. Yet another excellent TMNT comic to add to your collection.

8.2/10

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