Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Free Comic Book Day 2017 – Tom Waltz

4 out of 5

Okay, kudos for delivering a fully realized FCBD experience: not only is this an original story with some worthwhile connective info for regular readers – which you could see as a cheap shot, but it’s well balanced such that if you miss it it’s not like you’ll be lost – it also fully functions as a jumping on issue by spending some time reviewing what’s led to this point.  And this point is a prelude to some Dimension X shenanigans, which will presumably have the Turtles splitting up (into the ongoing and another mini-series, sigh…) to protect some witnesses who are to testify against Krang.  …Which is a pretty silly plot, mashing up Earth conventions with the bobble-headed tunnel vision logic this series like to employ, but if I start going down that road with criticisms we’ll be here for a while.  Let it suffice to say that, whatever your reasons for being here (mine, for better or worse, are that I’m a lifelong Turtles fan), this style of setup is par for the course.  But anyway anyway, before we get to that revelation, Fugitoid is chilling with the Turts and fixing stuff, and they decide to talk about the recent adventures they’ve had, which gives us our review.  For other series, this might function as filler, but with Turtles, it’s actually pretty helpful – a lot of things go on at once in this book – and it’s an interesting reminder of how much they’ve accomplished during the IDW years.  This is then leveraged into the Dimension X conversation, which gets interrupted by a new baddie, meaning you even get a full-fledged fight in your FCBD, with awesomely energized art by Cory Smith – blending Santolouco’s detailing with some of the dynamism guys like Dan Duncan used to bring.  His page layouts and eye directions are sincerely a joy to withhold, and his balance of shading seems perfect for Ronda Pattison’s color work.

The star knock is… well, it’s down to Waltz.  To whom I end up attributing a lot of the book’s issues, for better or worse.  The dude just has no balance of show vs. tell, giving us countless panels where a character says out loud exactly what’s happening.  Since half of this is flashback and most of the rest of it is a fight, it’s not so bad here, but it still pops up in the small moments inbetween.  There are so many fun ideas in the book, I sorta wish we were saddled with a writer whose style I was a bit more in to.