If you know the IDW origin story for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, then you know having the group visit Feudal Japan is loaded with potential. Right off the bat, we know the team won't drastically change their ancient tale, but that doesn't stop writer Erik Burnham from making it a great ride that, much to my surprise, adds a surprisingly strong twist to their origin story.
First and foremost, this narrative is packed with fun and emotion. There's some really enjoyable lines as the team needs to rely on Michelangelo to communicate (he's the only one that can speak Japanese) and you can't help but appreciate the situation they've (unintentionally) gotten themselves into. Watching the group battle Foot ninjas is of course pure excitement, too. However, it's the raw amount of heart and passion behind this issue which really outshines all of the lightheartedness. Obviously, the group is faced with a major conflict, and one of the brothers decides they should do everything they can to alter their surprisingly dark history. This conflict produces a fairly predictable exchange, but that doesn't prevent it from being a completely gripping journey and it all ends on such a strong note. Plus, there's one very heartwarming albeit brief moment with Michelangelo.
Artist Charles Paul Wilson III and colorist Jeremy D. Mohler bring this distinct setting to life and pull us into it quite well. Whether it's a soothing and peaceful environment or pure ninja madness, we're able to fully appreciate and enjoy the tone of each setting. Sure, I have some gripes with the character work, but those aside aside, the panels are handled very commendably and they bring the character-driven bits and the fast-paced melees to life equally well.
Honestly, I'm not the biggest fan of how the Turtles' jaws and mouths are illustrated. They often appear a little too stretched out or like they characters are cringing.
This limited series' second chapter is every bit as entertaining as the first -- but for totally different reasons, of course! While the debut issue was adorable and pure fun, this one takes a bit of a more emotional approach while never truly losing sight of the franchise's lighthearted nature. The trip to Feudal Japan is a massively satisfying addition to the team's new mythos and the ending is sure to stun you. TMNT: TURTLES IN TIME sure is turning out to be a great experience.