Written by: Erik Burnham
Art by: Ben Bates
Published by: IDW Publishing
After brief trips to a prehistoric jungle and feudal Japan, the turtles are back and this time they find themselves on a pirate ship for some adventure on the high seas. This series has a whole lot of heart. There is a deeper message hidden here just like all of the good Saturday morning cartoons, but this story is first and foremost about seeing the brothers take on pirates. Indeed, so far this successful series has run with the formula of “what cool, but totally random thing, can we throw at the turtles next?”
Ben Bates has a unique artistic style which is always a plus for me. Art that looks a little bit different than most everything else is important but I’m not sure that his style was best suited to a pirate adventure. Generally we see those types of stories rife with rich colours and a bright palette. I’m not advocating relying clichés but the subdued approach to the colours and designs stood out as a little awkward. For those that played last year’s brilliantly rendered Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag you’ll know what I mean when I say that pirate stories should look something like that. Bates is a fine artist and his skill is easily appreciable; it just didn’t strike me as the best possible match for this kind of story.
This mini-series isn’t out to make a big splash or tie into the main series, but it is a fun book for those who are big enough Turtles fans to read it. The easy-going story doesn’t ever feel too preachy, and Erik Burnham manages to nail the characterizations of the Turtles as well as provide a compelling script for the (mostly) one-off story. The final page cliff-hanger serves up a twist that most fans probably saw coming and finally tied in a well-known character to the finale.
While it hasn’t managed to achieve a level of greatness on par with the main title, Turtles in Time continues to be a fun series for the die-hard fan. The art and script didn’t mesh very well for me this time around, which is too bad because both certainly have their merits. But this medium relies so heavily on collaboration that when it isn’t perfect it’s pretty noticeable. Perhaps the final issue will tie the loose threads of this story-line together, but even if it doesn’t this is still a decent enough read that you likely won’t have to regret buying it.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time #3” earns 7.0 / 10