Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Tournament

Originally published in: TMNT Amazing Adventures #6
Publication date: January 13, 2016

Story and art: Fabian Rangel & Billy Martin
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow

"The Tournament"


As the Turtles leave for their nightly patrol, Splinter warns them that they have been resorting to violence far too frequently as a solution.  He challenges them to use only their brains to solve any problems they might face tonight.

From the rooftops, the Turtles spot the Purple Dragons shaking down the owner of the Emporium Pizza & Arcade for protection money.  The Turtles swoop down and challenge the Dragons to a video gaming tournament: Loser has to leave the Emporium forever, winner gets free pizza for a month.  The Dragons agree.

First up is Donatello, who is challenged to arcade basketball.  Using his knowledge of geometry, he wins handily.

Second up is Raphael, who is challenged to skeeball.  His lack of patience leads to a loss for the Turtles.

Third is Michelangelo, who is challenged to a dancing/timing game.  Mikey dominates.

And last is Leonardo, who is challenged to a game of Space Heroes pinball.  His victory is so easy it happens off-panel.

The Dragons, having lost, leave the Emporium forever.  And the Turtles, having won, are given free pizza for a month by the grateful owner.

Later, down in the lair, Splinter compliments his sons on finding a non violent solution.  Casey asks April on a date to the Emporium and she shoots him down (much to Donatello's pleasure).  Raph then notices that Mikey ate the last of the pizza and tackles his brother, leaving Splinter to sigh that his sons still have much to learn in the ways of non violence.

Turtle Tips:

*The series continues in TMNT Amazing Adventures #7.


As far as backups that have to teach kids a lesson in non violent problem-solving are concerned, this one was... palatable.  When your story is about how "violence is always wrong, find a better way", from the getgo it's going to be a certain level of lame no matter how good you try to make it.  Rangel and Martin get a little fun out of it, though.

I kinda feel like maybe the Turtles and the Dragons should have tied 2-to-2 and then had to settle things with a tie-breaker, if only because the story could have used a smidgen of tension.  Then again, this was the backup so maybe there just wasn't enough room for five rounds (hell, Leo's victory happens off-panel).

The artwork is nice, though the Turtles have very defined... "cheekbones" in this aesthetic.  Actually, it looks like the artist inked too much of the structure circle when he really should have erased it.  Also, the letterer (Lee) makes another booboo (he made one in the other story in this issue) and attributes some of Leo's lines to Raph.  That never helps.

Anyway, I guess since this is the kids comic in IDW's TMNT line, they're obligated to include stories with a moral.  Though expecting a bloodthirsty street gang to accept your skeeball challenge and then honor the results is being perhaps a tiny bit naive.