Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Urban Legends #1
Writer: Gary Carlson
Artist/Cover: Frank Fosco
Publication Date: May 23, 2018
Publisher’s Summary: This is it, fans! You demanded it, and IDW Publishing listened! The entire Image Comics TMNT run (a.k.a TMNT Volume 3) reproduced for the first time ever in full, four-color glory! Join creators Gary Carlson and Frank Fosco as they take the Heroes in a Half-Shell on some of their most amazing and dangerous and bizarre adventures ever… culminating in three brand-new issues by Carlson and Fosco to properly close out this long-beloved storyline at last! In this premiere issue, the TMNT and Master Splinter are attacked in their lair by a group of cyborgs led by the female ninja called Pimiko. Before the attack is over, one family member will fall… and one will be lost! Don’t miss your chance to get in on the ground floor of the entire TMNT Image experience!
Returning to complete the ‘90s series, writer Gary Carlson and artist Frank Fosco bring the TMNT series to a close after it was abruptly cancelled in the ‘90s. Opening on an action sequence, the issue is unpredictable and suspenseful, as the heroes are immediately set in deadly peril. The issue starts with the Turtle’s birthday celebration being interrupted and their lair infiltrated by cyborgs lead by Pimiko, a female ninja. Donatello is shot and kidnapped and Master Splinter is drugged and taken. The story is dark and particularly bleak, as the fate of all four TMNT and Splinter hangs in the balance.
Heavy on the suspense and action, Carlson taps into the darker side of TMNT comics, with Donatello seriously injured and Master Splinter kidnapped. Carlson painstakingly works to make mortality and death major themes. First with Donatello’s gunshot wound, then with a flashback to a conversation between Master Splinter and the Turtles, and, lastly, when Raphael’s face suffers a serious injury.
For me, the real standout for this series is artwork, specifically the color. Fosco’s art perfectly mirrors the tone of the issue. His images range from gritty to clean, dark to vibrant, capturing the mood of each scene. This storyline is extremely grim, and Fosco’s art captures all the painful moments. The original series was published in black and white, a homage to the original comics. Adding color to the issue brings each page to life, creating stronger emotions in this eventful first issue.
The Bottom Line:
Fast-paced and action packed, with a ‘90s vibe and a unique storyline, this series is sure to live up to the hype. The artwork adds dimension to the original storyline, building on the Carlson’s writing.