Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (also known as TMNT; Ninja Turtles, or “the Turtles”) are a media empire that began with characters created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird for the comic book, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (cover dated: May 1984). Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael are four teenage anthropomorphic turtles who walk and talk like humans.
An anthropomorphic rat, Master Splinter, adopts them and becomes their sensei. He trains them in the art of ninjutsu. The Turtles live in the sewers of New York City and battle every bad guy, from petty criminals and overlord-mastermind types to alien invaders and mutated creatures. Many of their adventures have been chronicled in comic books, with IDW Publishing current holding the license to produced Turtles comic books since 2011. IDW'S Ninja Turtles comic books have essentially rebooted the TMNT franchise.
The trade paperback, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Volume 16: Chasing Phantoms, reprints IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #61-65. Issue #61 opens in the wake of the surprise attack that exposed the weaknesses in the Turtles and Splinter's defenses. Now, an ambitious crime lord, Darius Dun, and his technologically-equipped gang, the “Street Phantoms,” move against them. To maintain his advantage, Dun has Harold Lilja, the inventor who equips the Turtles and Splinter, kidnapped and demands that Lilja serve him.
Meanwhile, the Turtles and their allies prepare to fight back with the help of familiar allies, including Casey Jones. However, the Turtles discover that Master Splinter considers this dispute with Dun to be a war, and they are shocked to learn just how far Splinter is willing to go to win... or just how many secrets he is keeping to himself.
THE LOWDOWN: Prior to reading Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Volume 16: Chasing Phantoms, I think that I had read only two TMNT comic books in well over a decade. I was surprised that I enjoyed Chasing Phantoms, although I was not looking forward to reading it after IDW sent me a copy for review last year or so.
The conflict between the Turtles and their Master Splinter is quite potent, but I don't know how long the secrets and lies have been happening. Perhaps, it is less of a big deal for regular Turtle fans if this is a long-simmering plot thread. That said, I found myself shocked, titillated, and all-around entertained. In fact, all the conflicts, especially the Darius Dun-Harold Lilja-Dr Libby Meitner (“The Inventor”) dynamic, are particularly engaging.
I am recommending this trade paperback to readers familiar with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If you want to read a good Turtles comic book, I recommend Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Volume 16: Chasing Phantoms. Also, issue #65 is a Christmas issue, so...
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of IDW's TMNT comic books will want Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Volume 16: Chasing Phantoms.