Sunday, September 1, 2013

TMNT (Dreamwave) #6

Publication date: November, 2003

Written by: Peter David
Pencils by: Lesean Thomas
Inks: Erik Sander
Colors: Shaun Curtis, Rob Ruffolo, Ramil Sunga, Winter Bell
Flats: Kenny Li
Letters: Matt Moylan
VP/Editor in Chief: Roger Lee
President: Pat Lee
Cover: Lesean Thomas, Erik Sander, Rob Ruffolo

“Bend it Like Turtles”


While in Central Park, teenage martial artist Dheeraj protects his crush Jaya from a gang called the Thoogs.  He wins the day, but unfortunately for Dheeraj, it’s all just a dream.  April wakes him up, telling him that he’s helped enough around the antique shop for one day.  Dheeraj tells April good night and heads home.  After he leaves, Leo steps out of the shadows and asks April about him.  April says that Dheeraj is a good kid who gets straight-As and is a black belt.  Leo fears that good kids like him often wind up dead in this city.

Down the street, Dheeraj sees Jaya being bullied by several Thoogs.  Dheeraj comes to her rescue and tells the Thoogs to leave her alone.  The lumbering Heramba intimidates Dheeraj and he freezes in the middle of the fight.  Dheeraj is pummeled and the Thoogs only leave after a nearby shop owner (Mr. Chen) calls the police.  Jaya tries to help Dheeraj up, but he refuses her and hobbles away in shame.

He makes it back to the Second Time Around shop and April helps him up into her apartment to rest.  Once Dheeraj gets his head together, Leo reveals himself to the teen.  Leo tells Dheeraj that having knowledge of the martial arts is meaningless if you lack confidence.  He tells Dheeraj that he’s going to stab him with his sword unless he does something about it.  Leo swings his blade and Dheeraj manages to instinctively kick it from the Turtle’s hand.  Leo compliments Dheeraj’s move, but warns him not to get overconfident, as his opponent may have a second blade (as Leo puts his second sword up to Dheeraj’s neck).

The next day, Jaya is talking to Mr. Chen when they’re both approached by the Thoogs.  The Thoogs aren’t happy that Chen called the police and they want to send a message.  Suddenly, Dheeraj arrives and tells the Thoogs to leave.  Heramba steps up to him and Dheeraj begins to get jittery.  He spots Leo on a rooftop watching him and regains his confidence.  Dheeraj takes out the Thoogs with ease and they run away.

Later, Leo tells Splinter of what he taught Dheeraj and is confident that Dheeraj’s troubles are over.  Splinter scolds Leonardo, saying that such troubles are rarely resolved so easily.  Indeed, as elsewhere, the Thoog leader tells his underlings that they’re going to offer membership to Dheeraj.  And if Dheeraj should refuse, they’ll kill him.

Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT (Dreamwave) #5.  The series concludes in TMNT (Dreamwave) #7.

*In the letters column, Matt Moylan claims that this issue contained a special foldout poster for “T4: The Turtlenator”.  That poster was actually included in the previous issue, as this issue contains a Transformers Armada poster.


People often say that the Dreamwave TMNT comic improved once it “came into its own” and began featuring original stories, but then I read shit like “Bend it Like Turtles” and wonder what they’re talking about.  For whatever reason, Peter David’s idea for a TMNT comic was to do an anthology not about the Ninja Turtles, but about the people whose lives they’ve made an impact on (be it intentionally or accidentally). 

While that’s certainly an unorthodox approach, the end result is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic that isn’t about the freakin’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  It’s about everyone BUT the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  When the Dreamwave series began as adaptations of the 4Kids cartoon shown from different POVs, you could almost forgive the approach, but even with free reign to tell any kind of story he wants, David STILL eschews telling stories focused on the Turtles.

And I just don’t care about these brand new characters David is introducing.  Dheeraj is so incredibly bland.  A straight-A student with a black belt in martial arts and a heart of gold whose only weakness is that he’s just too nice… Oh yeah, what a fascinating character.  Truly enthralling.  And of course, Leonardo teaches him to overcome his one character defect in this story, so by the end of the comic he’s absolutely perfect.  How boring can you get?

And jeez, I’m sick of whining about Lesean Thomas’s terrible art.  Instead, here are some selections.

Way to stay on model between panels, April.  Also, Dheeraj can see in two directions at once.  Is that a ninja move?

Behold!  Lesean Thomas: Master of the ctrl+c ctrl+v maneuver!  And it would be nice if he’d settle on a shape for April’s eyes before penciling the issue instead of experimenting with every variety from panel to panel.

Scale?  What the fuck is scale?  Either that or Dheeraj is 2 feet tall.  Or maybe Heramba is 15 feet tall?  I sure as hell can’t tell.

God dammit, he even draws the PIZZA separately in his tablet and then pastes it onto the characters?  Can Thomas actually draw people holding stuff or not?  And, again, what is up with April’s eyes?

I’m not sure what cards Lesean Thomas played to get into the industry, but this stuff is Amateur Hour, plain and simple.

Everything about the Dreamwave comic is bad.  Except for the fact that it’s almost over.

Grade: F (as in, “For maximum hilarity, check out the Dreamwave Mega Man comic advertised in the back of this issue.  It’s the second worst Astro Boy adaptation ever created!”)