Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (#66, IDW) – Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow

3 out of 5

Hey, there’s the ol’ melodrama I loathe!  ‘Twas a nice one issue breather, but welcome back!

I jest; I jest.  It’s not that bad.  Ever since Waltz and crew got their SUPER SERIOUSness out of the way with the whole City Fall crapslosion issue 50 megadeth madness, the series’ tone has become a bit more grounded.  The sap is still absolutely there, but it doesn’t seem to exist in ALL of the plots and subplots at the moment, so there’s that.

However, Mr. Waltz still writes with an unfortunate mix of too-many-words-to-say-nothing and no-one-speaks-that-way dialogue that makes for word balloon stuffed pages that are a snooze.  Seriously: Try saying some of this stuff out loud.  Plot narrating is a common comic trick, but it’s all the attempts at “real” talk that rankle: They are painfully unaware takes on teen talk.  Maybe Marvel and DC write that way too…?  But I don’t think so.  Not to suggest those are written well, but I think they’ve graduated past the 80s for “how the cool kids sound” references.

Anyhow.  We get some of that here as Nobody and Raph hop a Foot-provided helicopter to Alaska (sure, why not) to track down Alopex, thanks to a handy dandy implanted tracker.  They banter back and forth about feelings, but it’s kept at a minimum and so tolerable… except for the hints that they’ll be forcing Nobody into a relationship with Woody, because this comic needs more pointless boyfriend girlfriend drams.

Otherwise, we witness Alopex going through some Who Am I tribulations as struggled with Kitsune’s mind control.  It’s a well-paced astral plane battle, and I like the way Waltz didn’t overdo the resolution – what was needed to be said is said, they palette swap ‘Pex’s coloring for good guy colors (hilarious), and then we move on.

The bigger draw here, perhaps, is the return of Sophie Campbell on art.  Like Santolouco last issue, her style has appreciably matured: These aren’t the ootsey cutesy takes for which she became known; her style is now sketchier but weighty, and Alopex looks appropriately feral when needed.  Campbell’s layouts aren’t quite as dynamic as Santo’s, but with Ronda Pattinson’s colors, they render a snow-filled / white-fox-featuring issue as quite expressive and colorful.  It’d be cool to see Sophie on some city scenes.

Overall a stop-gap issue before the next arc, but by no means a waste of reading time.