Metalhead 2.0 brings back the well-known character, but re-establishes him in a different way. Those who remember Metalhead from an earlier incarnation remember a cartoonish robot. Those who know him from this storyline remember Metalhead as an adaptation for a severely injured Donatello.
In this new storyline, Donatello reboots Metalhead, only to discover that his old personality is still inside the machine. Metalhead is no longer a replacement for Donnie; he is Donnie. He is not Donnie. He has all of Donnie’s knowledge and personalities, but he has to confront the reality that there is a real Donatello—and it’s not him.
Ferrier creates a deliberately flawed character in “Metal-Don.” There is no way for the robot to reconcile all of “his” knowledge and feelings with the inescapable truth that his memories, experiences, emotions, knowledge, skills—everything that makes him a unique individual—are copies.
The robot goes through serious changes proportional to his understanding of his situation. As he fully embodies the contradiction that is his existence, the existential quandary is more than Metalhead can handle.
Donatello goes through a different range of emotions. Initially, he is surprised that the reanimated Metalhead is sentient. That surprise moves through amusement to an avuncular, almost parental concern. This turns to the realization that Metalhead’s personality—his soul—has a darker side.
Ferrier’s writing is fascinating here. He uses the fantastic to pose one of the core questions: What makes an individual unique? Science fiction and the fantastic are at their best when writers use impossible situations to explore such issues. Ferrier rises to the occasion. This is a two-part story; it will be interesting to see how he resolves the questions he is posing here.
Adam Gorham is confronted by the character of Metalhead; bringing a range of emotions and motivation to a character without mobile facial features is very difficult. He has to strike the balance between nuance and breaking character. He does an admirable job.
In “What is Ninja?” an unnamed Foot Clan Ninja contemplates the parallel histories of the Ninja and the Samurai. While watching one of the Turtles on his crime-fighting patrol, his musings and things he sees provide a reciprocal contrast/commentary on the “modern” and honorable Ninja ethos espoused by Splinter and the Turtles and the opposing “by any means necessary” philosophy of the Shredder and the old Foot Clan.
Brahm Revel’s artwork is very old-school. He is in a stylistic groove here; in choosing to narrate a story with zero dialogue and minimal plot, he must focus on the ideas. Each scene—every detail must be selected to support the musings to the unknown narrator.
It’s an understated but very well-crafted example of the power of graphic storytelling. Revel simultaneously tells two different stories, and succeeds with both.
This is definitely an issue for any and all TMNT fans, so get out to your local comic shop and give it a read!
Written by: Ryan Ferrier & Brahm Revel
Illustrated by: Adam Gorham & Brahm Revel