Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Macro-Series: Donatello (#1) – Paul Allor

4 out of 5

Paul Allor was an appreciated addition to the IDW writers’ stable. While certainly capable of his own clunky narratives to match Tom Waltz’s / Kevin Eastman’s stiff prose, his success rate at finding emotional hooks – and writing those emotional hooks well – has been pretty good, and on this macro-series entry, he takes one of the many, tired IDW character relationships – Donnie and cranky scientist Harold – and gives it some dimension and maturity.

Donnie and Harold have always been at odds, and the macro picks up at a point where Donnie’s fiddlings with Metalhead have failed (M-head having become autonomous, and something of an enemy), and our fretful turtle now seeks Harold’s assistance in developing some early warning tech to predict and prevent future problems. The two scuffle in a familiar way, only for the conversation to be picked back up… by Metalhead itself, who’s tracked down Donatello and agrees to help out for unclear reasons. Inventin’ proceeds: cue a humorous montage with a robot continually making fun of a fleshy-type for not being as intelligent as it is, and interesting similarities are drawn between the way M-head and Donnie each approach things, bringing them – we think – to question their contentious relationship.

The story navigates its way to a forced scuffle, and the dialogue / tone could’ve done with a bit more differentiation between its three voices – Donnie’s, Harold’s, and Metalhead’s – but the triangle drawn around the three, comparing and contrasting their attitudes and drives, was a good idea, and makes for an intriguing read.

Braham Revel proves why he’s been a recent superstar of TMNT, rendering both talking head moments and action with incredible litheness and life. Cris Peter’s bright and blocky colors are a great complement as well, allowing Revel’s simplicity to do its thing while also keeping the pages flowing, but affecting the right kind of sober tone for the issue.