Pull List Evaluation – TMNT

SPOILERS for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2011) the ongoing series if you haven’t been reading along, or you’re one of those people who wait for the trades to come out so you can binge a few issues at a time.

Personally I am a huge Ninja Turtles fan, I’m just the right age to have experienced the fever pitch of Turtle fandom and the merchandising avalanche that followed. My interest in the franchise has never really gone away, but has definitely dipped to some serious lulls over the years (I’m looking at you, Next Mutation!), but it’s always a franchise or series that I come back to. 

As you may remember from Episode #11, I recommended TMNT #101 as a good starting point for the series because issue #100 completely changed the atmosphere of the setting by creating an entire area of New York populated with new mutants, it was the culmination of the “City at War” story arc, and since then, I’ve continued to buy and read the regular on-going series as part of my Pull List, but now it’s time to EVALUATE! And decide whether I’m going to keep picking it up every month.

From issue 101 until 105 we have been introduced to the new norm for the life of the Brothers Turtle (and their new sister). It’s a life that in many ways is reminiscent of their life at the farmhouse after being defeated by Shredder (see issues 10 and 11 of the original Mirage Studios run of TMNT).

Similarities between the original comic and the current run could be in part because 101, 102, and 103 all spend some time at the farmhouse before the Turtles head back to the city. Each Turtle is given some pages to allow us to explore their individual personalities a bit, and have each of their characters develop and mature in some logical ways. The character progression and arc for each of the Turtles makes sense, even for a fan that is returning after several decades.  So, issues 101 through 105 I’ve really enjoyed, and 105 ended with an interesting cliffhanger that posed the beginning of an interesting plot thread. In a single panel I was thrown back to the excitement of the early 90s cartoon and the hot rodding teenagers from Dimension X or the time that Usagi Yojimbo showed up.

For a month now I’ve been eagerly awaiting the next issue… Out today, it was the first issue in my stack that I read.  

Sadly there are no signs of “future Lita.”

There are some good character moments in 106, but none of them that quite approach the same level as the past five issues. Leonardo is evolving as a teacher and slowly taking up the void left by Hamato Yoshi’s death, and with the mutagen bomb transforming an unknown amount of citizens into mutants of their own personal variety, the ranks of the Splinter Clan are starting to grow, but the story in this issue seems to have taken a step backwards rather than forwards.

Sure, the Turtles look awesome in their new ninja gear, but there are other comics out there that might not be meandering so much.  I can’t wait for another 6 issues to get a major payoff. I need to care about their journey now, the story needs to have more gravity and connective tissue.

New Ninja Threads

For all intents and purposes, you can entirely skip issue 106 and not miss a damn thing. Realistically, you can even skip most of issue 105, with the exception of future Lita’s reveal.

TMNT is coming off my Pull List. I’ll thumb through issue 107 from the rack to see if it has made good on the promises that have been made thus far, but if it hasn’t I’ll be moving on to other series that could use my attention, and my hard earned dollars.

EVALUATION CONCLUSION: If a multi-issue story arc falls flat in a single issue, don’t be afraid to dump it from your Pull List. Look for something else until an issue hits that is worthy of your time.