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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Deviations #1 Review

Comic Books

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Deviations #1 Review

IDW’s series of Deviations one-shots continue with a look at a crucial point in time for the Ninja Turtles during the brilliant City Fall story arc.

Is it good?

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Deviations # 1 (IDW Publishing)


The Plot

  • Kind of wish we got to see HOW the Turtles were captured (so they could be brainwashed), but this is still pretty cool.
  • Poor Master Splinter ☹
  • teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-deviations-1-splinter

  • Evil Mikey is all types of unsettling. Still has a happy-go-lucky attitude while trying to kill his dad.
  • Ummm…not that I want Splinter to die, but that does seem like the smart move here.
  • Been a while since Casey’s dad was a sympathetic character.
  • HELL YEAH! SLASH AND HOB! (…but their timing is a little ridiculous).
  • And here comes Mr. Jones and his crew. This is getting crazy.
  • Wait…what the heck is happening? I mean, it looks cool, but this doesn’t make any sense.
  • Ah, I see now. Deus ex machina. Bleh.

Is It Good?

Let’s talk about the art first, because there’s no question about quality there. Zach Howard (with an assist from Cory Smith) does a masterful job handling a fight scene that is absolutely nuts—and awesome. There’s a ton going on, but the action is always clear and incredibly brutal. There are also some really beautiful panels of Splinter and Kitsune battling on the astral plane (?) woven seamlessly throughout the brawl.

Unfortunately, that’s a big part of where the story starts to go off the rails.

If the book’s script could be distilled into dialogue, emotion, and action, it would be near perfection. Unfortunately, there are some major narrative issues that make all the beautifully drawn carnage feel kind of hollow.


For starters, I would have liked to see how the Turtles were captured, but that’s a forgivable omission. Waltz had one issue to tell the story he wanted and it wasn’t at that point in time. Fair enough.

But then we get Shredder making the lamest super villain trope decision ever. I won’t spoil it, but lets just say that James Bond’s rogue gallery would be proud.

Then, we have Old Hob and Slash busting into the fortress like homicidal Kool-Aid Men (awesome) at the exact moment before Shredder finally does what he should have in the first place (lame).

Later, we get that weird scene with Splinter and Kitsune having some mental fisticuffs. It’s a bit weird, but also drawn so gorgeously that we’re cool with it…until another characters comes in out of nowhere to turn the tide. And yes, I know she’s appeared before, but her sudden entrance here feels incredibly cheap.

Even with all that, this issue is still a lot of fun. Waltz hits all the right notes for an alternate reality story (major deaths, organically shifted character arcs, etc.) along with providing an ending that packs a genuine punch to the heart. I just wish the road we took to get there hadn’t also landed those strong jabs to my brain.


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