“Baxter Stockman is busy working for Krang on the Technodrome… or so it appears. Little does Krang know that Baxter has secretly been working on his own project that is both mutant AND machine! But when creation turns on creator, Baxter’s trademark smugness might be in short supply! Will Baxter come up with a plan B in time to save himself… and the world?”In the second issue of IDW’s look at the villains of the TMNT universe, Erik Burnham peers into the past of Baxter Stockman, whilst we discover more about his motivations and present situation. The backbone of the story details a series of chess games with his over bearing Father, in which Baxter is schooled in thinking several steps ahead, and not to get careless.
Wrapped around this is Baxter’s work on Burnow Island in the present (set after the Krang War for those who wish to know). Not only do we see a little more of the Technodrome, but we are introduced to Baxter’s latest side project (Krang humorously informs him he is tired of his meddling with mutants), which not only ties well into the story, but gives a nice knowing wink to fans, especially those who saw Baxter in the 90’s cartoon show. This particular side project reminded me (as it does Baxter) of Frankenstein’s Monster, with a very sympathetic bent.
Back for art duties after his brief stint on the main TMNT title, Andy Kuhn does a great job on the Father/Son sequences, with faded sepia tones subtly taking us back in time. It’s handled well, which I can’t say about the action in the present. Fight sequences that aren’t all that clear and a lack of detail harm what could have been a really cool sequence. Panels that should have conveyed a real sense or speed and strength fall flat.
The main problem I have with both this issue and Krang’s story in issue one, is that it doesn’t really add anything. It is cool to get a different perspective on things, and see what shaped these TMNT baddies (In both cases it’s their Dad!), but it doesn’t change anything. I don’t now look at them in a different light. If they were well intentioned or somewhat different at first maybe, but both strike me as willing to go down the wrong path even at a young age. It would appear that some seeds are being sewn for later stories, but if you didn’t pick these up I don’t feel like you would really miss anything.
Although each issue in itself is decent, what is the series adding overall? Bar some backstory and a few winks, not much.