Tuesday, October 25, 2011

¡Paul's Picks!

I'm sure many of you faithful readers have recently been asking yourselves, "I wonder what books have been Paul's favorite this month?" Well, for all of you curious readers, I'm finally coming around with my weekly picks for this month! Okay, so maybe I'm a little behind on the "weekly" part, but going forward I will be faithfully posting my weekly favs and reviews for you all, starting now!

(Wednesday the 26th). When I grabbed my pulls for the day, I knew it was going to be a tough choice, with 7 great titles to read. With a lot of DC #2's like Flash and Superman, I was more than excited to get my stack home and power through them.

However, while Flash and Aquaman were both fantastic, I must admit they were beaten out by a very narrow margin by the one comic I'm pulling outside of the Big Two (*that's DC and Marvel, for those rare non-comic readers that happen to be reading this): Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3 from IDW.

For those of you that may be skeptical, let me just say that this decision was not made on a whim. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm typically a DC fanboy, but even with the incredible art by Ivan Reis and the really fresh look into Barry Allen's mind by Manupal and Buccellato, I had to give it up for the "Heroes in a Half Shell." (Alert: Some mild SPOILERS ahead!!)

I have loved the Turtles since my preschool days, and I am so thankful for what Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman have given us here. This is a teenage-mutant-ninja-origin-story for the ages! Many of us might ask, why do these guys need an origin? We've all seen the movies, we get it. Turtles go in the ooze, get big, and have a natural affinity for pizza and butt-kicking. But what Waltz and Eastman have created is much more than that. There is the skeleton of the original story, with all new twists, and a great look into what made them who they are today.

Throughout the first three issues, W & E have been weaving the story back and forth between present day and flashbacks to the when the Turtles and Splinter were mutated. They manage to work between three different points of view seamlessly, masterfully employing the "show-don't-tell" that others often fail to accomplish. A couple of reviews online stated that they found this issue confusing, and that they had trouble figuring out where the authors were going with this. Personally, I found this issue to be the best out of the first three easily. Where there was some uncertainty before about Raphael and why he is separated from the other three with no knowledge of who he is or where he came from, we finally get a good view of the story from this one.

The dialogue flows great, with some funny moments between Raph and Casey

Jones, off on their own vigilante spree. On the other side, we see some great characterization between Donnie, Leo, and Mikey. If there was a fault in the first two issues, it was the shortage of characterization for the turtles (apart from Raph, who doesn't even know who he is). W & E hit their stride in issue three, giving us some very sincere dialogue between the brothers, slowly revealing to the readers (both old and new) what makes them who they are.

Of course, any comic reader knows that a book can't stand on words alone: the art needs to ROCK. And Dan Duncan draws the TMNT like no one else! His art is gritty but beautiful, creating a world that is absolutely perfect for these characters. This is my first run around with the guy, but his art is reminiscent of some of the pencillers with a more distinct art, like Francis Manupal and Scott Kollins. As a matter of fact, I'd say he's kind of a blend between the two, but still making his own distinct print.

Even in a week with heavy hitters like Flash and Aquaman, TMNT #3 stands out as an issue that heralds an amazing story ahead of us. For the old fans, we have a rare opportunity to see this world reborn in a way that I've personally been wanting for years! Right now we're seeing their beginning, but what next? An origin for Rocksteady and Bebop? Baxter Stockman? Crang? And if you don't know any of these characters, now is the perfect time for a new reader to order a pizza, grab this fantastic book, and watch as these guys raise some shell.

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