By Erik Burnham, Charles Paul Wilson III & Jeremy Mohler
After escaping the Cretaceous period, the Turtles find themselves in feudal Japan; sounds familiar, right… Trust me; this story is much better than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. As the brothers gain their bearings in the new era, they become involved in the internal conflict of a shinobi clan.
Writer Erik Burnham puts a lot of focus on the turtles being reincarnated souls and how much emotional anguish and confusion that can cause. I won’t delve too much into this because it will fall under spoiler territory, but this book really develops the pathos of the four reptilian heroes. Also, the concept of fate continues to play an integral part of this mini-series. Donnie insists that they not interfere with anything because, as with most time travel stories, their actions may alter the future. Yet, their strong sense of justice and impulsiveness causes them to take action and become a part of history. The heart of the story lies in whether the brothers truly made a difference or where their actions are predestined. Erik is able to effectively blend intense character development with universal themes/concepts, while delivering some action-packed moments…and to think this is all in one issue!
Charles Paul Wilson’s designs for the turtles are a little jarring, initially. He renders them with very intense; intimidating demeanors, which some would argue is how they originally looked. To be honest, these appearances work in Wilson’s favor because when he draws a close-up, the sadness or anger in the turtles’ faces really comes off the page. Also, his action beats are very memorable. Charles renders the fighters in dynamic poses that engage the reader’s eyes.
Jeremy Mohler puts an impressive coloring stamp in this comic. He uses a lot of earth colors, to give the artwork an ukiyo-e-esque feel, which works perfectly considering the setting of the story. It gives the book more depth and shows how the artists wanted to match the excellent story in tone and setting.
This was a powerful follow-up to the lighthearted premiere issue. This is the type of TMNT story that people remember. The art team also adds some unorthodox elements that give the comic a little more spice. For fans, this is must read and for those who are just getting into the IDW TMNT-verse, this is a solid stand-alone story.