Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Urban Legends #6 Review
• Gary Carlson (Author) • Frank Fosco (Pencils-Cover)
• Get it now (Amazon)
TMNT Urban Legends is a strange footnote in Ninja Turtle history. It began as a canonical continuation of the original Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird series from the 80s and early 90s. It's pretty much forgotten that Image Comics produced a volume of TMNT comics. It is probably even less notable than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. The most talked about aspect of the series was how dark things got for our heroes.
Donatello's shell was destroyed leaving him in a Cyborg body. (They did it first) Raphael's face was horribly disfigured in the first issue leading to him wearing one of Casey Jones old masks. Eventually, Raph takes on the mantle of Shredder, leader of the Foot Clan.
Leonardo loses his hand in battle and Splinter undergoes further mutation transforming into a giant bat. Michelangelo is the only character to escape the series relatively unscathed. The series was canceled with little fanfare before the final storyline was even completed until IDW picked up the license and decided to reprint the series and finish the story.
I have the entire series but I figured here was as good a place to start with the beginning of the second arc.
Splinter is gone and Donatello is adjusting to his new body. Donny is nervous about his consciousness potentially being overridden by his cybernetic mind. Leo goads him into a sparring session. Donatello proves to be seriously upgraded and quickly overwhelms his brothers.
All goes well until Casey Jones shows up. Casey sees the fighting and immediately rushes to defend the turtles not remembering that Donatello is now cybernetic. He lands blow after blow until Donny's self-defense protocols kick in taking over his mind and moves in to execute Casey. The turtles manage to talk Donatello down resulting in a close call and uncertainty in Donny's ability to trust himself.
There is a sub-plot in Michelangelo having one of his poems published. The comic ends with him babysitting Casey and April's daughter and her being kidnapped while he sleeps in the other room.
Once you get past how jarring some of the changes are for our heroes the story isn't bad. The turtles, Casey, and April all feel familiar which is a hallmark of all TMNT series. The action is goes from playful to intense really quick leading to uncertainty. One thing that the series has going for it even with the initial release back in the 90s it is not afraid to take risks. So when Donatello threatens to blow Casey's head off, the possibility is firmly established that he may do it.
The downside of the issue is that I'm not a fan of the art style. This will probably be an issue throughout the series so I won't mention art going forward unless something really jumps out to me as appealing or egregious.
That being said, adding color to this series was a godsend. Some of the detail is lost but the color makes it a lot easier to understand what is happening on the page. This was a chief complaint I had with the 90's series. I don't really like dumping on anyone's art as they probably can produce a better book than I ever could nevertheless, I don't like it and I won't lie about it.