Publication date: August, 2005
*This story is continued from Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #13.
*100-Leo will return in the future-set story Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #41. The reason for his vow never to take a sentient life will be explained in that issue.
*A cat-person will appear in TMNT (Vol. 4) #11, however, according to Steve Murphy in the letters column of Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #16, that cat-person is unrelated to the ones which appeared in this story arc.
*This issue also included a bonus Professor Obligado story, “First Mud” by Murphy, Lawson and Talbot.
While the first half of “Loops” was more about watching the four different Leonardos interact with each other, the second half winds up containing the lion’s share of the plot. It can be a little awkward, as we’re very quickly thrust into long, ranting expositions explaining the political landscape of Feenosia and Pai-Doth Noor’s origin. Still, the pacing isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds and the pages of exposition are punctuated with a healthy serving of action.
Pai-Doth Noor isn’t so much a villain character as he is a delusional one, making the true antagonist of this piece a bit harder to nail down. Yes, Pai risks Leonardo’s life on four separate occasions to achieve his own end, but Leonardo agreed to the terms of the contract when he came to Pai for aid in defeating the Worm-Shredder. And Pai certainly plays everything square; there’s no underhanded trick in his mission and not only does he follow through with sending them home once they’ve succeeded, but he thanks them repeatedly. He’s certainly not a bad guy, by any means, even if his hubris proved his ultimate undoing.
That would make D’Gello the next candidate for the villain role, but he’s pretty much just your bland dictator type. He appears to facilitate some exposition and we never even see him get overthrown at the conclusion. Really, I don’t think “Loops” HAS a typical cut-and-dry antagonist character, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either. There’s plenty of conflict and action to move the story along, so it doesn’t require a “bad guy” to function.
For whatever reason, Remender was only able to pencil the first 9 pages of this story. Ink and toner Mike Manley completes the remainder and does a really good job. His style isn’t exactly congruous with Remender’s, as he takes a much less angular approach to the Turtles which I rather liked. On some pages he appears to be making an effort to mime Rememder’s look, but more often than not he does his own thing. I suppose if I had any complaint, it would be that he draws 8-Leo looking as old as his adult counterparts on many pages, with really defined musculature and facial lines. Still, his action layouts are great and the change in art isn’t jarring; his style is different but not radically, so you transition pretty smoothly.
All in all, “Loops” is one of my favorite Leonardo-centric stories. While it has nothing on “What Goes Around… ...Comes Around!”, it beats the heck out of “Blind Sight”. If you don’t like Leo, I doubt this one will change your mind about him, but I think even his disparagers can appreciate “Loops”.
Grade: B (as in, “Brizuela’s frontispiece for this issue is worth picking the book up all by itself”.)