By Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz, Cory Smith & Ronda Pattison
This issue is the precursor to the conclusion of four years worth of TMNT stories (the series is not ending!). The Turtle family, along with Nobody and Alopex, continue facing off against Baxter Stockman’s forces, until unlikely aide arrives. The centuries-old grudge between the Saki and Hamato clans looks to be on the verge of a decisive end. This book focuses on the nature of honor and bonds, familial or otherwise, which have been present since the premiere issue. No doubt the creative team will deliver intense blows in the follow-up!
Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz and Bobby Curnow continue to show their readers how well they know these characters and what a true Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story is and all it entails, particularly in this issue. The writing team could have easily just had an all-out brawl between the turtles and their allies and all their adversaries, which is what it was looking like initially. Instead, these men decided to pull the reins in and focus on the core of this narrative and the principles the Turtles and the Foot follow. They knew what the fans wanted and deserved, without them even realizing it. Due to this, the audience will be given a more satisfying battle, while keeping several storylines open. It is also nice to see a another fan-favorite character make an appearance (the full reveal is yet to come), who was hinted at a while back.
Cory Smith just knows how to draw the TMNT villains; his interpretation of Shredder and his mutants are perhaps my favorite depictions. Smith brings such a detailed unease and grit to the material that just builds upon the gravitas that the writers have on the page. Ronda Pattison, colorist extraordinaire, is given the opportunity to enhance both quiet and action-fueled scenes. She handles both beautifully by adding such flare to the image, whether it be the background, outfits or the characters themselves. There are plenty of outstanding panels in this issue, which speaks to the varied page layouts and designs, but arguably the most defined and interesting is the very last one with Kitsune…just stunning!
This series is almost 50 issues in and practically all have been must-reads. There are very few series currently that can maintain that level of longevity, especially a title that isn’t from one of the “Big Two.” IDW Publishing took this licensed property and breathed such fresh and reverent life into it that old and new fans alike pine for more. For a while, people were worried because issue 50 was rumored to be the end of the series, thank the lord that isn’t the case. I honestly dread when this series comes to an end, in the meantime though, keep picking up this intelligent, thrilling comic.