Saturday, October 5, 2013

Chasing Shadows

Originally published in: TMNT Magazine (Panini) #1
Publication date: May 2 - May 29, 2013

Script: Landry Walker and Ed Caruana
Pencils: Ryan J. Neal
Colours: Jason Cardy
Letters: Alex Foot

“Chasing Shadows”


Down in the sewer lair, Donnie comes rushing to see April with great news.  He’s been scanning for energy spikes from Kraang tech (“Krenergy” as Mikey calls it) and says he found one.  It’s a long shot, but it may clue them into where April’s dad has been taken.

The Turtles and April crash a Kraang warehouse.  Leo and Raph take on the Kraangdroids while April, Donnie and Mikey search for clues.  Well, April and Donnie do.  Mikey gets thrown into a filing cabinet and gets a papercut (which April dutifully heals with her First Aid kit).  Once all the Kraangdroids have been felled, Donnie laments that he couldn’t find any leads.  Mikey begins cursing the paper which cut him and Leo notices that it has an address to a TCRI shipping facility.  The Turtles and April decide to follow the lead.

At the facility, they begin browsing through all the shipping containers.  They spot one which looks like a makeshift prison (with barred windows and massive locks).  Mikey and Donnie crack it open and step inside, but instead of finding April’s dad, they’re reunited with Spider Bytez.  They slam the door shut before the arachnid can spit acid at them.  Donnie theorizes that the Kraang must have him locked up for tests.  

Raph spots another container that looks like a prison and the Turtles try their luck again.  It’s empty, but a small device that belonged to April’s dad was left on the floor.  April says her dad designed it and that it’s part of a two-piece gadget.  The other half is still with her dad and the device left behind can track it.

They follow the signal to a Kraang stronghold.  Leo wants to do some recon, but Raph brashly plows through the Kraangdroids guarding the gates.  All they find inside is an empty interrogation facility and the other half of the tracking device, discovered and discarded by the Kraang.

Later, down in the lair, Leo valiantly promises April that he and his men will not rest until her father has been rescued and evil has been vanquished.  April breaks out laughing, having recognized Leo’s canned speech from an episode of “Space Heroes”.  April tells Leo that even though she misses her dad, she’s grateful that she isn’t totally alone; she has them.  Mikey, skateboarding, crashes into Don, holding a stack of papers, and is subjected to yet another papercut.  April unpacks her First Aid kit and tells the Turtles that they’re lucky to have her, too.

Turtle Tips:

*This story was published alongside “Takeout”.  The series continues in TMNT Magazine (Panini) #2.


“Chasing Shadows” is a victim of the setback I mentioned in my last Panini review: That these comics cannot advance any storylines in fear of contradicting the unknown future of the Nickelodeon TMNT cartoon.  Still, from the getgo there’s a self-awareness to this comic that the investigation won’t lead to anything more than a dead end.  The thing is titled “Chasing Shadows”, after all.

Walker and Caruana have thus far been really good at capturing the voices of the characters.  Mikey and Donnie are at the forefront in this issue and their banter feels really sincere and natural.  Not just Mikey’s habit of dramatically naming everything, but Donnie’s manner of passively humoring Mikey’s suggestions, too.  And again, Leo channels the attitude of his hammy “Space Heroes” idol and it’s a great little moment.  The “Space Heroes” stuff is best utilized in small doses, lest it get obnoxious, and so far the Panini comic has been wise enough to limit Leo to just one brief cornball outburst per story.

Even though I really don’t care much for Spider Bytez, his cameo was well executed; a quick little surprise that ends as soon as it begins.  He doesn’t stick around long enough for that stupid design to get on my nerves.  Although, I’ll admit that I’m curious to see how well the writers might be at capturing Lewis Black’s voice.

April, despite being the focal point of this issue, sort of plays second fiddle and hangs around while the boys do all the rough stuff.  I take it April’s more-or-less helplessness indicates this story takes place earlier in the first season than TMNT New Animated Adventures #1, where she’s already getting the hang of her kunoichi training.

Artist Ryan J. Neal draws a good April, by the way.  Brizuela’s April over at IDW adheres too closely to the animation model, which looks like a mannequin (or an action figure, I suppose is a more appropriate comparison).  Neal’s April is more angular and expressive and just livelier overall.  She may not really do a whole lot in this story, but at least she never stops the momentum dead by looking like a statue.

Grade: B (as in, “But those massive blocky feet of hers are still all sorts of crazy”)