Turtles Turn it up to 11 in "Sound Off!" #1

Written by Matthew K. Manning , Art by Chad Thomas , Colors by Heather Breckel, Letters by Christa Mesner.


Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sound Off #1 separates itself from the more mature flagship Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles book, but still offers plenty of action, albeit much more off-beat.


This book features all the characters you're familiar with, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, Splinter, and April O'Neil, with drastic departures from their usual design. This isn't a bad thing, it helps differentiate this universe from Turtles proper.


Manning takes a page from the Teen Titans Go! Playbook and fills this universe with lots of slapstick humor, and non sequitur pull aways, made famous by Family Guy. This style isn't for anyone, but as it's primarily targeted at children, the cartoon zaniness feels right at home.


The turtles act according to type, Donny, the gadget-obsessed intellectual, Mikey, the ever-loving goofball, Leo, the stoic reserved one, and Raph as an emotional powder keg. The dynamic is shifted slightly as Raph leads the team in conversation and battle, providing even more divergence by Manning.


One of the most engaging elements in Sound Off is the villains' use of their powers, resulting in a pretty unique reading experience. It won't be spoiled here, but when you read it, you might think there was a printer issue. It's definitely an eye-catching device, and one wonders if Manning has other tricks up his sleeve.


April provides a B-plot involving Master Splinter; it's purely low stakes, but perfectly in line with this universe. The comic follows the Nickelodeon show of the same name, as such April looks different than her 1980's counterpart. She's much younger, likely to appeal to younger readers, and thankfully injects the comic (and show) with diversity as well.


The pencils from Chad Thomas are edgy and exaggerated, again mimicking the show perfectly. Each Turtle is quite distinctive, you can tell them apart just by their outlines, no colored bandanna needed. The art and action both play loose, something in the vein of Invader Zim or the aforementioned TTG. Heather

Breckel's colors complement the narrative and art wonderfully. Everything is brightly hued, and colors splash across each page. If younger readers happen to stumble during passages, the colors will more than maintain their interest. It's practically a cartoon put to page.


With some innovative narrative techniques, bold, vibrant action, and colors that leap off the page, Sound Off cartwheels and kicks down the door to new, engrossing adventure. An adventure that won't leave the reader shell-shocked.

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