Tag: Oroku Saki

Legend of the Shadow Clan #2

Publisher: Aspen
Writer: David Wohl
Artist: Cory Smith
Release Date: Mar. 6, 2013

 

shadowclan2I would like to apologize in advance if I seem hyper during this article, but we were just gifted with a new coffee maker after being without one for a week. Suffice, to say, I’m making up for lost time in the coffee-drinking department. In any case, ONWARD to the review!

They’re baaaaaaaaaaack!

In this second installment of the series, we pick up right were we left off at the end of the first. When we last left the Himura family, it was after witnessing Richard–the mild-mannered, hard-working patriarch of the family–taking out a ninja assassin with the skill of a well-seasoned professional even though he had never done anything remotely like that in his entire life. Issue #2 opens up in the Manhattan penthouse of Koji, the man pulling the assassins’ strings, and as you can imagine, he is none too happy upon learning of the “failure” of his men.

Failure?

Yes, failure, because even though the assassins got what they came for, they did not “fade away without a trace” (to quote my favorite sensei).

What of Richard, you might ask? Well, we find him in an interrogation room at the police station. Of course he tells the truth, but the police don’t believe him. In all honesty though, can you blame them? Even Richard isn’t surprised by their lack of faith. However, just when things look as though they’re going to take a turn for the worst and Richard is going to end up being thrown into the Clink, Richard’s father shows up to save the day. Right off the bat, it’s obvious that while there is love between them (after all, they are father and son) their relationship is strained at best, and just when you think Richard’s father is about to explain everything, Richard cuts their reunion short and the two men go their separate ways.

Frustrating, yes…but a useful plot point that keeps the reader coming back for more.

After that, things seem to go back to normal for the Himura family–or as normal as can be considering the circumstances. The obvious example of this would be Brayden suffering through detention after school (something that seems to be a regular occurence for him). However, this “normal” routine changes when the teacher leaves the Detention Hall to answer Nature’s call and Brayden gets coaxed out of room by the Twins–two very attractive twin girls who up until that moment have never given Brayden the time of day. Like his father the previous night, Brayden finds himself innately able to perform feats as though they were second nature to him as the Twins goad him into racing across the rooftops of the school and balancing upon wires and narrow ledges. Being the red-blooded teenage boy that he is, Brayden is quick to give into the Twins’ peer-pressure to impress them, but finds himself abandoned by them the second his foot slips…literally.

What do we learn from this, boys and girls? Giving into peer pressure is bad!

Fortunately for Brayden, his sister Morgan comes to the rescue.

This however begs the question…what is up with the Twins? They are obviously skilled and trained, and no doubt their story will come to light in issues to come.

What else happens? Well…you’re just going to have to buy the issue to find out!

Now, maybe it’s just the fangirl in me, but I’m getting a definite TMNT vibe from this comic (and NO, I’m NOT saying that the writers at Dynamite Entertainment ripped off my favorite comic, so don’t even think that’s where I was going with my thought). In one corner we have Koji (the Oroku Saki/Shredder character) and his minions, and in the other corner we have the Himura family (the TMNT family)–two ninja forces that seem destined to be at odds with each other because of bad blood.

However, similarities aside, this series is shaping up to be a very strong and well-written story in its own right, and I find myself already itching for the next issue even though I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an advanced copy (one of the many perks of this job)!

Due to hit the shelves of your local comic book shop on March 6th, 2013, be sure to pick up your copy! If you haven’t already, add it to your Pull-List while you’re at it!

 

Have you hugged your nerd today?

TMNT: Issues# 10 & 11

Hello once again, fellow TMNT fans!

In my effort to play catch up with the reviews of my favorite comic book series, I’m combining the review of two issues in this particular post, so bear with me.

Issue # 10

After nine issues of hinting and foreshadowing (not including the micro-series), we finally come face to face with none other than the Shredder.

This plot point ties in perfectly with the Splinter issue of the Micro-series (which is the starting point of issue 11). The ‘A plot’ of this issue revolves around Splinter and his confrontation with Karai, the Foot and the Shredder–at the end of which, Splinter has revealed to the Shredder that he is the reincarnation of Hamato Yoshi. But it’s not as simple as all that.

It never is, is it?

Before Splinter makes this revelation, he does battle with Karai and another member of the Foot. Suffice to say, tensions run high whenever the story comes back to this particular plot point, and it serves as a good counter-balance for the lighter, ‘B plot’ that revolves around April, Casey, and the turtles.

In the ‘B plot’ of the issue, we continue follow the turtles in their quest to rescue their abducted father, and we also continue to see homage paid to early incarnations in the franchise.

Such as?

The Second Time Around antique shop.

For those of you keeping track, this is the antique shop that belongs to April’s father–the shop she lived above in the first film. As in the first film, this building acts as a temporary shelter (courtesy of April, of course) for the turtles while they contemplate their next move. However, unlike the film, no one lives in the apartments above the shop, so the turtles have free run of the entire building for the length of their short stay. As has been the case in previous issues, Donatello continues to be Leo’s foil.

Issue #11

This issue picks up right where the Splinter issue of the micro-series left off, and once again Splinter has to fight his way through a gauntlet of Foot before he’s able to face off against the Shredder. As tired as he is from this entire ordeal, Splinter nevertheless rises above his weariness and perseveres through all the challenges Saki throws at him and manages to make it to the final battle.

How does the battle end?

We’ll have to wait until the next issue to find out!

In the ‘B plot’ of this issue, Donnie finally stops locking horns with Leo over the idea of reincarnation when he is presented with tangible evidence that it actually occurred, but that’s not all that happens.

We’re presented with Angel and the Purple Dragons…well, a small group of them in any case. This is just another bit of homage that is paid to the ‘old’ parts of the franchise and mixing it in with the ‘new’.

As with the previous issues, those at IDW continue to impress with their work, and do a great credit to the intrepid heroes in a half-shell by capturing the essence of not only the characters, but also of their world. Though I’ve said it before, I’ll say it yet again…

Keep up the good work, IDW!!

Until next time, peace, love and cookies.

Nerd up!

TMNT Micro-Series Issue #5: Splinter

Hello again, fellow TMNT fans!

I know it’s a month late in coming, but between giving birth to GG2.0, and thereby taking care of said helpless infant, I simply haven’t had the time to go to the comic book shop. So, suffice to say that when hubby came home today with a pile consisting of two months worth of comic books, I did as close to a victory dance as I could manage while holding my dozing daughter…especially when I saw not one but three TMNT comic books in the pile.

The reviews for the other two issues will of course be up soon, but before that, I would like to talk about this particular gem.

Think you know everything there is to know about Splinter?

Guess again!

In this newest installment to the “B Plot” of the TMNT reboot, we get a look into Splinter’s mind that we’ve never before seen.

Seriously, think about it…the films, various cartoons as well as the original comic books never really explore Splinter’s psyche. Regardless of his origins, he was always simply Splinter…teacher and adoptive father to the four turtles with wisdom to spare and patience beyond that of a saint.

However, in this issue, we see that there are hidden depths to Splinter that were never even hinted at in previous incarnations of the character. We learn that as Hamato Yoshi, he had a volatile temper as well as deep-seeded anger issues that would put Raph’s to shame.

We also see just how far back the rivalry between Hamato Yoshi and Oroku Saki goes. As a result, we get a chance to see just how strong Splinter’s desire for vengeance against Oroku Saki is for what he did to him and his family. Not only that, but we also get a peek into just how difficult it is for Splinter to control that driving desire even in his reincarnated state.

I personally loved this insight into the character as well as the development that came from it. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the story is what really matters to me. I can overlook disliking the artwork of an issue (which was not the case in this instance, by the way) so long as the story is well-written and compelling, and this story did not disappoint me. As with three of the four micro-series issues that came before it, it further added to the plot of the main comic book series as well as expanded upon a much beloved character from my childhood.

Both the story and the artwork are well done, and I give this issue two very enthusiastic thumbs up!

Nerd up!

Turtle Power!! A Retrospective Of The Series So Far

Cowabunga says it all! ;)

Between the move, having to find a new comic book shop, and then getting all my missing issues ordered in, I FINALLY got caught up on my beloved heroes in a half-shell last night, and all I have to say is WOW! Now, this isn’t just my fangirl excitement talking, because believe me, if IDW had done a bad job at rebooting TMNT, you would be reading a rage-filled rant instead of a happy and excited review. First of all, the way everyone is drawn (not just the mutants, but all the human characters as well) is VERY well done. The story pulls you in from the very first page of the first issue, and right off the bat it’s made obvious that the reboot walks the same line that the original comics did (the same grittiness is there, and no punches are pulled when it comes to violence. Simply put, these are not the “wussified” turtles of the 19080′s cartoons.

The first issue  opens up on a battle between the intrepid heroes (Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Splinter) as they face off against a gang of thugs headed by a mutant cat named Old Hob. It isn’t until after the battle that you the reader learns that Raphael is missing, and has been for a while. The first comic takes place in the middle of all the action and thereby sets the stage for the rest of the series–letting you the reader know right off the bat that something is amiss in the lives of the intrepid terrapins (moreso than usual). In the second issue, you learn that Raph has been homeless and living on his own because he has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. He and Casey Jones soon meet and form a fast friendship.

However, as I read the issues that followed, I could not help but feel that I had missed something because references were being made to past events that I could not remember from any of the lore (whether it be from the movies, the many cartoon incarnations or the original comics), and the timeline itself seemed off. However, I stuck with it because I was determined to figure out what was going on, and as I kept reading, all the blanks began to get filled in with a very Tarantino methodology.

While this is indeed a reboot of the original Mirage comic, there were definite changes made to the lore as well as to the core characters. For example, both April O’Neil as well as Casey Jones are college students–April exceedingly bright and majoring in one of the science fields (it’s never actually stated which one it is), and Casey is a jock with a heart of gold attending on a hockey scholarship which is currently on hold because he’s on academic probation. How do these two meet? April offers to tutor Casey in exchange for lessons in self-defense. While this is a change from the two characters we fans have grown to love, it’s only a small change and quite frankly I don’t see anything wrong with it. After all, how many professions has April’s various incarnations had over the years? She’s been a reporter, she’s been a lab assistant, she’s been an archeologist, so she’s obviously an adaptable character. In this instance, both she and Casey were made younger in order to appeal to a newer and younger crowd, and if that helps my favorite comic book get a larger and stronger following, then I’m all for it!

Another small change is the fact that Donatello is more of a foil for Leonardo at this point than Raphael is–the two of them often butting heads over logic vs. blind faith.

The main change made to the lore is the actual origin story of Splinter and the turtles. IDW took the origin stories of both the original films as well as the original 80′s cartoon, and gave them a completely different twist…

Reincarnation.

Now, don’t go rolling your eyes in annoyance. I know that the whole “reincarnation” thing is a bit old hat, but the writers at IDW made it work.

Trust me.

We find out through Splinter’s POV that he was in fact Hamato Yoshi in his past life, and when he was Yoshi, he lived in Feudal Japan. Now, I won’t go into too much detail in case you haven’t read them yet, but Yoshi was married to Tang Shen (remember her from the 1st film?), and they had 4 sons (see where this is going?) who remained nameless all throughout the recounting of that tale. What happened to them? Yoshi and Oroku Saki had a falling out, and Saki killed them all (again, I’m not going into too much detail here for the sake of spoilers). In any case, Yoshi gets reincarnated into the body of a lab rat in present day New York, and his four sons are reincarnated into the bodies of four baby turtles that are being held in the same lab–the lab in which April interns, by the way and which is run by none other than Baxter Stockman (original comics, sociopathic Baxter Stockman, not the sniveling 1980′s cartoon Baxter Stockman).

While Foot Ninjas have made an appearance, the Shredder has yet to make one. Krang–known as General Krang in this incarnation–was mentioned in passing by Stockman, but he has not yet shown himself; however, it was made clear by Stockman that Krang and the Foot (or more to the point, Krang’s competitor whom the Foot represent) are at odds with each other. Other nods to the ”old” that do make an appearance are the M.O.U.S.E.R.S (Stockman’s carnivorous robot inventions), as well as Bebop and Rocksteady (though with those two, you need to read the Raphael Micro-Series).

All in all, this reboot is an AWESOME blending of both old and new, and I would HIGHLY recommend this series for anyone to read.

Nerd up! ;)

UA-28050589-1