Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Secret History Of The Foot Clan TPB (IDW)

I love a good back story.  I have always enjoyed “finding out” origins of characters in comics that may not have an established beginning.  It was one of the reasons […]

I love a good back story.  I have always enjoyed “finding out” origins of characters in comics that may not have an established beginning.  It was one of the reasons I jumped at the opportunity to read IDW’s ‘The Secret History of the Foot Clan’.

For those unfamiliar with the Foot Clan, they are a ninja clan led by Oroku Saki, aka the Shredder, and are the main antagonists to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Admittedly, most of my knowledge about the Turtles has come from the late 80’s cartoon series as I have only read a handful of their comics.  However, the cartoon was enough to give me the background information needed to not get completely lost or confused by Mateus Santolouco’s and Erik Burnham’s story (with art also done by Santolouco).

01coverThe Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began in May 1984, when co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, offered up to folks walking around the Comic Book Convention at the Portsmouth, NH Sheraton, the first glimpse of the Turtles.  Started as sketches and parodies of popular comics (Daredevil being a major influence), the two friends first issue of TMNT was published by Mirage Studios and was a run of only 3000 copies (now a CGC first print #1 TMNT graded at 9.8 can fetch over $5000*).

Needless to say, what started with two friends having fun and drawing a book they never really thought would do much, turned in to a cultural phenomenon during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.  The Turtles have been a part of toys, live action movies,  cartoons, breakfast cereal, video games, and one of the catchiest (if not most annoying) theme song of all time.

As I said, I’m a sucker for a back story and if you happen to be a fan of TMNT then ‘The Secret History of the Foot Clan’ is one well worth reading.

Mateus Santolouco and Erik Burnham crafted a story detailing who, what, where, when, and how the Foot Clan began.  The art by Santolouco is spot on, especially the detail he included in to the fight panels.  Joao Vieira’s colors help to add depth and emotion to each panel.  Secret01-02The reader learns about Takeshi Tatsuo and his role as leader of the Foot Clan as well as a view of Oroku Saki prior to becoming the Shredder and the events that led up to his transformation in to that identity.  We see Master Splinter as Hamato Yoshi and we get plenty of butt kicking from our favorite anthropomorphic reptiles.  April O’Neill and Casey Jones are also in the book but not in the same roles as from their cartoon counterparts (which if you are reading the comics probably comes as no surprise).  There is even have a cameo from Krang (who is unnamed and drawn purposefully vague but distinct enough to be recognized) who plays a rather important role in the Foot Clan’s history.

Overall, the 110 pages of the trade paperback moves quickly.  The action is fast and furious and captured perfectly by Santolouco’s art. the-ninja-turtles-casey-jones-april-and-splinter-fight-shredder-and-the-foot The story, which is told through flashbacks and present day, does so seamlessly and quite interestingly. The story’s main stumbling block, if you would call it that, would be found in the names.  If you are unfamiliar with the characters, the Japanese names can become confusing about who is who, especially when the writers introduce Oroku Saki being the reincarnation of Takeshi Tatsuo (through dark magic, a little help from Krang…you know what, just read it).  However, it is not so much that it hinders the impact of the trade.

The story is undeniably more mature than kids who may be watching the cartoons and playing with the toys should be reading.  Some of the violence is inferred but most of it is out in the bloody open.  Parents who are looking for TMNT books for their young kids to read may want to steer clear of this story until their kids are a little older.

Otherwise, for other readers and fans of TMNT, ‘The Secret History of the Foot Clan’ scratches that origin story itch and would make a welcomed addition to your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle collection.

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*Value from recalledcomics.com :: http://www.recalledcomics.com/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1.php

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