Publication date: July 23 - August 19, 2015
Originally published in: TMNT Magazine (Panini) #30
Script: Jennifer Keating
Art: Bob Molesworth
Colours: Kat Nicholson & Jason Cardy
Colour assist: Emma Learner
Letters: Alex Foot
"April on a Half Shell"
In the dojo, April and Raphael are having a sparring session, but Raph keeps tagging April in the back. Donatello calls the session off, worried that Raph is being too hard on April. April insists that she needs to learn her vulnerabilities so she can cover them in a real fight and leaves. Leonardo tells Donnie that April's right; she can't protect her back as easily as they can because she doesn't have a shell. This gives Donnie an idea...
Later, Donnie invites April to his lab to show her his latest invention: A shell! For her! April is awkwardly flattered and agrees to wear the cumbersome thing for their next training session with Master Splinter.
At the training session, April fails all of her tests, being unable to jump, run or conceal herself with the heavy thing strapped to her back. Splinter asks her to take it off, and when she does, she immediately succeeds at all her lessons. Splinter tells his sons that humans are naturally faster and more agile than turtles; the Turtles are skilled ninja IN SPITE OF their shells, not BECAUSE OF their shells.
As April leaves, Donnie apologizes and promises that he'll always have her back in battle. April offers the same promise, adding "what are friends for?" at the end. Donnie is so crushed by the word "friends" that he withdraws his head into his shell in humiliation.
*This story is continued from TMNT Magazine (Panini) #29. The story continues in "Master Splinter's Evening".
The plot of this one hinges on Donatello's romantic interest in April getting the better of him and his over-protectiveness forms the, uh, "conflict". If you can call it that. Donnie's outbursts in the script are weird, even going so far as to accuse Leo of being racist against humans when he brings up April's vulnerable flank. Donnie is just an overreacting loon in this story and the only way we GET a conflict is because he's acting so obnoxiously out-of-character. Yeah, he has a crush on April, but he's never this annoying about it.
Molesworth, I've been giving a lot of slack in these reviews, but he just isn't getting any better. His layouts have no panache and his characters always look static. They don't emote very well, either. Most of the time, the characters just look like they're standing still and directing traffic.
Yeah, the Panini TMNT comics have been in something of a slump, lately. They need livelier scripts and MUCH livelier artists (which is a shame, because for a while they were rivaling the IDW cartoon comics).