Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Paul's Picks! - Dec. 7th

Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! And in celebration of this weekly, well, celebration, Paul is here to give you his favorite book of the week.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro Series #1 Raphael - by Brian Lynch and Franco Urro

Hello friends and readers! It's comic book day again, and I'm back in the cyber universe to deliver your weekly fix of fictitious favorites (overkill? my bad). It's week one of December's releases, and as usual DC leads out with some of their biggest hitters (Action Comics, Detective Comics) as well as the underdogs-that-aren't-really-underdogs (Swamp Thing anyone?). Earlier in the day, while I had a break between stressful end of the year finals, I found my way to a cozy seat and settled into my little bag of books. And so, without further ado, I give you my pick of the week... TMNT Micro Series #1 Raphael!

Tell me that's not Batman-esque.
I know, I know, it's a mouthful. I also know that this is the second time in two months that TMNT has made my pick of the week. But in my defense, this is actually an entry in a micro series, not the TMNT ongoing, so it's not technically the same... And besides, I DARE you to go read this book and tell me it's not fantastic! When I checked my upcoming pull list on Monday, I had no idea this little treat was coming. As a matter of fact, it was only after reading Seth's Buy This! yesterday that I became aware of it's imminent arrival. And so when I swung by the Great Escape Comics to pick up my pulls, I snagged myself a copy. And boy, was I glad I did! I've been following the recent ongoing that IDW have put out by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz, but believe me when I say this issue rivals any of those as the best yet.

While it's not directly in the ongoing, it ties in heavily, picking up somewhere after issue #4 left off (BEWARE, MILD SPOILERS AHEAD). Raph has finally been reunited with his brethren, and in this issue we see his point of view on his new life, along with his fears and concerns about the future. Where the ongoing has had the responsibility of making room for all four turtles plus Splinter, not to mention flashbacks and exposition to build the "refreshed" origin story, this issue has fun in its freedom to explore the here and now. The action and dialogue flow very well, and for a one shot it does a very good job of containing the story within the issue. Brian Lynch takes up the mantle with ease and delivers a fantastic issue. One thing I really love about this new series is that they're not afraid to make it their own. I mentioned way back in my first Pick's column that, as a long time fan of the Turtles, I'd love to see an origin for many of the regulars, like Shredder, Krang, or Rocksteady and Bebop. Well I don't wanna spoil anything too bad, but let's just say Lynch and Urro deliver a real treat for us fans.
Is it just me, or do those shades look familiar...

The whole issue was great, and the art seemed very befitting for a Raphael one shot: the perfect mix of smooth and gritty. But if I were to point out my favorite part, it wouldn't be the addition of an interesting new character, or even the comfortable interactions between Raph and Casey Jones (we've already had a good dose of that in the ongoing). The best part of this book is the ending. If you're a fan of the series, or even if you just used to watch the cartoon growing up, go pick up this issue! It's accessible enough that any new reader could start here, and if you can read those last few pages without going "Aaaawwww yeah!" and high-fiving the nearest person to you, then there's something wrong with you. Seriously, go check it out. It's Pure. Comic. Awesomeness.

All in all, I love this book. IDW is giving the fans something we've been wanting for a long time, and I'm all in. For those of you who may be skeptical about diving in, trust me, there's no reason to hold back. This micro series is just icing on the cake, with three more on their way featuring Michelangelo, Donatello, and Leonardo respectively. After a great kick-off issue, I have no doubt that these four are going to be something that no fan should go without. So go grab your copy today, if for no other reason than to experience that ending. Trust me, it'll give you goosebumps.

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