Here’s my look back at the ten best single comic issues from the past year. Including ongoing series, one-shots, and mini-series, the only limitations I put on this list was that the comic had to have been released in 2013 (no reprints) and I limited myself to only a single issue from any one title. Because I was focusing on standout issues rather than consistently strong comics every month several of my favorite series missed the cut, but, if time permits, I may work up my regular list of best comic series of the past year as well.
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“City Fall” concludes as Splinter, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael fight to free a brainwashed Leonardo from the Shredder‘s control. Things were looking pretty good for the group, at least until the arrival of Karai and her two new mutant soldiers Rocksteady and Bebop. With the help of Angel, Casey, Old Hob, and Slash the Turtles are able to reunite their family but their small victory is overshadowed by the Foot Clan‘s larger victory and total control over New York City.
Leo returns to his family, thanks in large part to Raphael, but the scars of his time of his brainwashing look like they may take quite a long time to heal. Karai proves her worth as he finally earns the role of Chunin, but all is not perfect for The Foot as Rocksteady and Bebop are unable to prevent the Turtles escape and Alopex seizes the moment to take his revenge (leaving the future of the character very much up in the air).
With The Foot in control of New York and the Turtles in exile to lick their wounds and put their family back together the series moves forward into its new arc beginning next month. Worth a look.
When Fishface attacks a cruise ship looking to get his hands on his former partner-in-crime Victor Sousa, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello show up to save the day. For the first time the Turtles find themselves fighting the fish-mutant in water, and Fishface turns out to be far more trouble in his natural habitat.
Raphael questions putting their own lives on the line to save a gangster (which turns out to be prophetic as Victor eventually turns on his would-be rescuers). Although the ship is sunk, the Turtles eventually are able to stop Fishface and turn Victor over to the police allowing Leo to show his brother that saving a criminal doesn’t mean letting him go free.
Of the characters created for the new animated show, Fishface is one of the oddest. I haven’t been the biggest fan of his, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures #5 uses the setting to the character’s advantage, making him a credible threat given the circumstances the Turtles find themselves in. Worth a look.
Things are looking bleak for the Turtles and their friends. The city has fallen to the Foot Clan, Leonardo is still under the control of the Shredder, and Angel has lost control of the Purple Dragons to Casey‘s father Hun, who like all the other gangs still standing have sworn allegiance to the Foot.
On the night of celebration, Shredder demands the mandatory audience of all the gangs to witness the public execution of the Savate. However, just as Shredder begins tightening his grip on his new spoils small cracks begin to emerge such as possible collaboration and ulterior motives for Alopex and Kitsune and the increasingly conflicted nature of Leonardo.
With the help of Old Hob and Slash, Splinter, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael crash the party to rescue Leonardo. However, they don’t plan on Karai showing up with her two new mutant soldiers: Rocksteady and Bebop. Now things are gonna get interesting. Worth a look.
The latest issue of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Villains Micro-Series turns its attention to the powerful, but rather dim, pair of mutants created by the Foot Clan to battle the Turtles. Issue #7 gives us a brief glimpse of the lives of the pair of street punks before they prove their worth to Karai who chooses to transform both into mutant warriors under her command.
As fans of the old television show may expect, the first big mission for Rocksteady and Bebop doesn’t go exactly as planned. Still not used to their new enhanced strength, and overconfident with their enhancements, the pair accidentally start an all out war in the compound of a rival gang Karai is there to negotiate with on behalf of the Shredder.
The timing works out well as the pair made their debut in the recent issue of the ongoing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles title, and this one-shot helps fill in the basics for those unfamiliar with Bebop and Rocksteady whose mix of power and dumbassery seems to have survived this transition into the new Turtles comic universe. Worth a look.
Lured into a trap by the Foot Clan, Raphael is hit with a dart containing a rare hallucinatory and deadly poison. With their brother slowly slipping away, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Donatello take a page from his book and go on the offensive against greater odds to get him the cure.
To get the cure the three Turtles will have to battle the Foot Clan as well as Dogpound who likes his odds now that there are only three Turtles left to deal with. Despite the odds, the threesome is to get the cure and reunite the entire team.
Writer Erik Burnham steps in with this issue and the comic doesn’t miss a beat as it continues to have the same feel, pace, and humor of the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. Aside from the action, the issue also teaches lessons to both Raphael (to not be so quick to run head-first into action) and his brothers (who need to adopt Raphael’s reckless style to save him). Worth a look.
- Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Ultimate Showdown
- wiki: link
The two-disc Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Ultimate Showdown set collects the final dozen First Season episodes of the current Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon including more of the Turtles battling Shredder (Kevin Michael Richardson) and his mutated warriors Dogpound (Clancy Brown) and Fishface (Christian Lanz) as well as the two-part finale “Showdown” where the Turtles attempt to stop the Kraang invasion and the arrival of the Technodrome on Earth.
Other highlights from the two-disc set include Michelangelo (Greg Cipes) fighting off his brothers who have all fallen under the control of a giant wasp, Karai‘s (Kelly Hu) attempt to kidnap April O’Neil (Mae Whitman), Baxter Stockman‘s (Phil LaMarr) Maze of Doom, Donatello (Rob Paulsen) going on a solo rescue mission to save April’s father (Keith Silverstein), the introduction and return of The Pulvirizer (Roger Craig Smith), and Karai and Leonardo‘s (Jason Biggs) failed attempt to work together to stop the Kraang.
As “City Fall” continues Splinter is forced into a dangerous bargain with Old Hob and Slash which could cause all kinds of new problems for the Turtles down the line as the sesei procures mutagen for Old Hob in exchange for his help with the brainwashed Leonardo.
The rest of the Turtles seek for answers and assistance from various sources. Michelangelo hits up his old pizza buddy, Donatello and April look for help from a crazy inventor, and Raphael gets an offer of help from Angel (but learns the rest of the Purple Dragons are involved in their own issues).
As his brothers try to gather intel and resources, Leonardo leads the Foot into battle taking down the Savate and bringing the city one step closer to being completely under the Shredder‘s power.
Things are certainly looking bleak for our heroes as Leonardo (still struggling a bit against Kitsune‘s brainwashing) continues to help Shredder with his master plan. However, it appears Karai (perhaps with the assistance of Alopex) may have plans of her own. Worth a look.
Unable to sleep after his zombie marathon, Michelangelo leaves the sewers and hits the streets of New York only to find actually mindless zombies doing the Kraang‘s dirty work. At first his brothers are far from receptive to the idea, but under Splinter‘s orders Leonardo, Raphael, and Donatello follow their brother topside to find out just what the hell is going on.
Although the aren’t exactly zombies, the turtles are forced to deal with hundreds of New Yorkers sleep walking and delivering technological components to the Kraang. Without doing too much damage to the brainwashed sleepwalkers, and rescuing Dr. Sloane (the scientist whose research the villains from Dimension X have corrupted for their own purposes), the Heroes in a Half-Shell will set-out to save the day once more.
Any issue that forces the other turtles to take Mikey seriously is a good one. Although they aren’t really zombies, Mikey’s knowledge of the walking dead not only discovers the problem but helps the turtles defeat the Kraang. Worth a look.
“City Fall” continues as the Foot Clan goes to war with the Savate and all sides deal with fallout of Leonardo joining the Foot as the Shredder‘s new second-in-command. For April and Casey that means getting a little closer, for Raphael it means hitting the streets (and anything else that gets in his way), for Karai it means growing dissatisfaction with her diminished new role, and for Splinter it means seeking the help of an untrustworthy enemy.
“City Fall” continues to deliver as we learn more about the limits of Kitsune‘s control of Leonardo’s mind (laying the groundwork to bring the Turtle back to the Light Side) as well as Karai’s contingency plan concerning a pair of classic TMNT characters finally making their first appearance in the comic.
With the promise of the addition of Rocksteady and Bebop, and more of Alopex and Karai, the full roster is filling out nicely. My only real complaint with the comic is the inconsistent art from artist Mateus Santolouco whose style is at time distracting. Worth a look.