Renet's time travelling madness brings the heroes in a half shell to the year 1726. Their location: a pirate ship! As expected, writer Erik Burnham embraces this premise with open arms and has plenty of fun with it. The dialogue is sharp and there's at least three lines that had me laughing out loud. Two involve how the pirates refer to their new allies and the other is something totally unexpected. Let's just say Michelangelo fans will be pretty happy with this one. There's one sequence I enjoyed quite a lot and it almost feels like a nod to the '90 movie. Basically, there's a bit of downtime on the ship and it shows how the turtles are spending their time and interacting with their new friends. Thankfully, Raphael doesn't yell "SPLINTER!" while standing on the mast. Last but not least, the new cast does have some loose connections to the mythos and the cliffhanger is pure fan service. Will we see that character appear in the regular series soon? After a teaser like that, I definitely hope so!
Ben Bates returns to the franchise and his artwork leaves a strong impression. The style works exceptionally well with the chapter's atmosphere and his close-ups of characters really impressed. Bates does a solid job handling the swashbuckling action (sorry, couldn't resist using that word). The sword fights feel every bit as fast, intense and precise as they should. I also appreciated how he captured glimpses of the characters during their downtime and these panels really pulled me into their individual activities. Donatello's made me smirk but Raphael's felt the most compelling and it's a really nice albeit short moment. Oh, and I won't spoil it, but I really like his work with a certain famous villain. He makes the fiend look very intimidating.
The first two chapters focused on teaching us about the new locations through the Ninja Turtles' experiences and interactions with the locations. This time, however, they seem to get less attention and it feels as though more time is spent fleshing out the pirate groups as opposed to showing how the team reacts to this new location. It's not like the focus on the humans is necessarily bad and it does have a nice link to the mythos, but seeing more from the heroes in a half shell would have likely been a more interesting experience. They're even removed from the big finale. Also, can you really blame me for wanting to see a little more of the team taking on some pirates?
The story over in the primary series is getting seriously intense and the stakes are high, so it's nice to have TURTLES IN TIME for an overwhelming amount of lighthearted goodness. Just like the previous two issues, the objective here is to shed a little light on the specific era, give it a link to the bigger picture, and, of course, deliver some laughs and action along the way. Chapter three does each of these well, but it is a little bit of a bummer how the Turtles don't feel like stars in their own limited series and we didn't see very much of them actually battling pirates. That said, the script is humorous and fun, the artwork is incredibly pleasant, and the cliffhanger is very exciting.