TMNT Color Classics Volume 2 #5

Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

SPOILER ALERT!

I will most certainly be SPOILING.

The words Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles inspire a collage of images in the minds of fans. For some, it inspires rage or excitement at the new movie being produced by Michael Bay. For others, perhaps the different animated television series, or even the short-lived live-action series that played on the FOX network and crossed over with the Power Rangers. Fans of the comics might see IDW’s current run of comics, or even the myriad of comic series that changed their mutations and put them on worlds full of mutants.

But some of you were there for the early years. The years before color, or at least before our favorite heroes in a half shell began wearing different colors. If I just described you, you may find that the TMNT Color Classics will find a nostalgic little niche in your comic collection.

Volume 2 issue #5 brings technicolor to one of the series most interesting story arcs, the “Return to New York.” The comic opens on a sleeping Raphael, who is positioned in such a way that the reader can’t tell if he is sleeping, or defeated. Quickly, we find ourselves focusing on the date of a discarded paper, which carries us four days into the past and into a flashback.

TMNT

The points of interest for this flashback are familiar to those of us who are fond of the mean green crime-fighting machines, but this does not take away from the drama of the moment. Michelangelo and Donatello are keeping themselves busy and Raphael is brooding, as usual, under the lack of action. The turtles, having been defeated by the Shredder have been hiding and training for over a year.

I am not sure if this is the source of beloved rivalry between Raphael and Leonardo, but the scene that follows seems like a test run for the several fights that would follow, including the fight in the digital film TMNT. Here, however is my only complaint in the comic. While the book is in color, the artists have continued to use just the red for the entire team’s mask color. Normally, when fighting a common enemy, the weapons the acrobatic amphibians use is enough to distinguish them from each other. This becomes much harder in an in-close fight between only two of the brothers, whom look almost identical.

TMNT

Just as in the cinematic TMNT, Raphael makes his point by winning, and leaving by himself to return to the city to confront the Foot Clan. Here we return to Raphael sleeping in the sewer, and he awakes to track a squad of the Foot deeper into the tunnels. After a portion of the comic being devoted to a series of cat and mouse hunts that end in Raphael applying his fist to the Foot soldiers, he is shocked to find…then the story switches to the remaining three brothers following Raph back into the sewers of New York.

The comic ends with the group coming together with one little surprise. Raphael found a Triceratron!

All in all this was a fantastic read, the only exception being such a large chuck of the action being a bit confusing. The drama in the story was solid and really showcased the dynamic of the two dominant brothers. I think the most interesting thing in this issue is that, without Raphael, the four brothers often find themselves lacking the passion to push forward, but also lack the recklessness to take foolish risks.

My rating: 4.5 / 5

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