Back when I was in my prime age of about 8 years old, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were my jam. I used to watch the television show, play with the action figures, and run around with a cardboard Christmas wrapping paper roll pretending it was a bo staff. Today, about 50% of my nerdy shirts are TMNT related. Heck, the drinking glasses in my apartment even have ninja turtle characters on them. I recently decided to crack open a can of nostalgia by reading Teenage Mutant Ninja Annual 2012.
Reading this comic was quite a trip down memory lane. Being an Annual, it is a fairly lengthy story, which helps justify the $8.99 cover price. What I liked most about this comic was its diversity of characters and conduciveness to new readers. Besides April, this story had all of the infamous TMNT characters I can remember. All of the turtles, Splinter, Shredder, Casey, and many others are highlighted in this tale. Not being familiar with the characters for a number of years, TMNT Annual 2012 was kind enough to provide little character captions, which gave a small description of each of the characters as they were introduced. If you have ever had any desire to check out a TMNT story or simply want to take a trip down memory lane like I did, then this is a great story to try out.
The story, written by Kevin Eastmen, primarily stars Raphael and Casey, who involuntarily cause a car accident when Casey drops his trusty baseball bat off of a building and onto a car. However, this car accident results in the recovery of a suitcase filled with stolen diamonds. As Raphael and Casey try to figure out what to do with the diamonds, the crime organizations that are behind the thievery catch wind of the missing goods. Once word of the diamonds hits the streets, the Savate, the Foot, the New York Police, and the rest of the Turtle squad get involved. This is surely a ninja-filled comic as it seems every organization wants to get their hands on the goods.
The art, also by Kevin Eastmen, presented a sort of double-edged sword for me. Contrary to the colorful cover of the comic, the art is a beautiful black and white scratch/sketch art. This gives an older aura of artwork and it really worked for me. However, the artwork was also one of the only things that I had a problem with. Being a solely black and white sketch book, it is almost impossible to tell characters apart. The defining characteristic of the Turtles (excluding weapons) is their colored bandanas, so I almost forgot who was who on a multitude of occasions. It is often difficult to see character actions because they blend into the background scenery, which is also black and white. Although it made reading the comic a bit more difficult, the artwork at its core is still really great. I highly recommend you check it out!
Overall Review: 8.5/10
And for my fellow long-time fans: