Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures (#13 – 16) – Various

3 out of 5

Highlights:

-Dario Brizuela is really starting to bore me

-Landry Q. Walker, of the Panini mags, can be pretty funny

-Chad Thomas should illustrate everything

Another set of Animated Adventures, another set of wishy-washy stories.  This is the lower end of a three star rating, as there’s not much that really stands out in this set, but each issue is average enough – and each with one story that tips into good – that it eeks it out above a two-star.

We start with a pretty standard stupid story where school field trips apparently end sometime after 6pm and ‘five minutes till closing’ at the zoo means the zoo either closes at like 9:45 or maybe 7:55, depending on how you read the clock Brizzy draws.  I’ve said before and here it is again: Dario Brizuela is offering us workman-style art for this series, something around 80s / 90s Archie digest levels in terms of slapdash, to-the-point construction with only enough details and shading for context.  It’s admirable, but boring to look at, and using that clock as an example, when details exist they’re only for a joke or because someone’s pointing at something.  Jackson Lanzing & David Server give us a tale where April has to save the boys by hitting a big, red button that says ‘release.’  Thankfully, Landry Walker to the rescue for the issue’s second half, with wonderfully anime-influenced art by David Alvarez that breathes such insane life into the page as compared to Brizzy.  The tale is silly (I mean, they all are), and, uh, I guess Mouser heads work even when detached from their bodies, but it’s silly-entertaining with some good slapstick gags.  This issue also features the final part of the Lego adapatation, which I believe I spoke about in detail in last collection’s review.

Issue #14 is a double-dose of Walker with two of the better artists from the TMNT Animated ring – Chad Thomas, who draws his panels with a Looney Tunes glee, everyone adding antics to the moment such that the art supports the gags instead of just trailing behind them, and Marcelo Ferreira, who uses figures similar to Brizzy but with much more personality and a bit more evolved sense of action and detail.  His style is similar to Dan Duncan’s  enigmatic approach, where panels are always zooming with motion.  The first story is actually pretty inventive and funny and keeps one-upping the gags successfully – Donnie tries to invent a love potion which instead attracts bugs – while the back-up overlooks how glaringly stupid it would be to leave an access panel inside of a trap with wiring that controls the trap, but the bit moves along briskly to get to its last-panel expected chuckle.

Issue #15 goes ADD with three stories.  Walker’s weakest contribution to this bundle is ‘training trap,’ where Leo’s training exercise gets overtaken by Fishface, but it gives Dario a lot of characters and varying action to work with.  Matthew Manning and Ferreira prove that Ice Cream Kitty should have some type of ongoing feature forever, with their couple page send-up of Kitty’s adventures when the freezer is left open.  And Bobby Curnow teams up with my lover Chad Thomas for a genuinely funny bit about Master Splinter getting obsessed with a martial arts video game.

And Issue #16 is just sort of, like, inoffensive.  Matt Manning and Chad Thomas get the boys into hijinks following Splinter one night, and Paul Allor and Ferreira do an uneven story – that probably could’ve worked better if extended so that the beats could be more thoughtfully applied – where a homeless dude helps Donnie fix the Shellraiser.  Neither story is good or bad or funny or boring, they just is.

Need I say more?  No?  Kay.

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