So soon after the last issue, we get another installment in IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, helmed by Sophie Campbell. I had high praise for the last issue, as I felt that it was the jolt that the book really needed to start kicking into high-gear once more. This issue isn’t quite as gung-ho, but it is still good nonetheless.
Our primary focus is on Oroku Saki, aka the man formerly known as the Shredder, the Turtles’ greatest enemy. But after the events surrounding issue #100, he’s no longer their foe, but rather their silent protector. The book shows us what he’s been doing in the background since Campbell’s tenure started, helping improve the lives of the Turtles in small ways at the behest of the time traveling Lita. It’s really cool seeing this alternate perspective on the stories we’ve been following for the last two years, and it retroactively makes Saki’s scattered cameos a lot more meaningful.
Apparently all of his actions were to make sure a dark future never comes to pass, but it’s also just a nice insight on how Saki has changed as a character. He’s become a kinder, softer man since finding redemption, and it’s good to see this longtime classic villain now on the side of good. I hope it sticks, especially since the IDW universe has plenty of potential options for a NEW Shredder to take the reins, without negating the character growth Saki has been given.
The rest of the comic shows whats been going on with Baxter Stockman, another long standing and classic TMNT bad guy, who’s become Mayor of New York City since the creation of Mutant Town. We’ve only seen glimpses of Stockman in Campbell’s run thus far, mostly just to show how hard he’s working April (who’s been his assistant, in order to keep an eye on him). We learn that he’s been using the Slithery (a mutant eel from earlier in the run) to breed mutant attack animals for his own personal use, and now that April knows about it, she’s officially just outlived her usefulness.
What follows is a scene very familiar if you’re savvy on Turtles lore, with a helpless April stumbling through the sewers trying to find help, only to be saved by… Oroku Saki, once again looking out for the lives of his former enemies. Thanks to his help, she manages to make her way to the Turtles’ home in Mutant Town, battered but still alive. Not a bad way to end things, and much like the original story it’s emulating, leaves you wanting to see what comes next. Solid all around.
The artwork is pretty good, but not quite as polished as when Campbell herself draws the issues. Nelson Daniel certainly isn’t a poor artist by any stretch, and the art is great on this book pretty much all the time, but I’m not a huge fan of how he draws the Turtles’ maskless faces. Every other aspect of his art is solid, however, and I love how he draws Saki and April’s scenes in particular.
Overall, not a bad issue at all. I enjoyed the look we got at Oroku Saki, and seeing Stockman being his usual cunning scientific conman self again is very much welcome. The bits with the Shredder were the highlight, in my opinion. It’s always nice to see a story you’ve been reading be given a new perspective, making you go back and think about what you may have missed the first time around. Much like the last issue, pieces are starting to fall into place and the story line is ramping up on all sides, leaving me excited to see where it’s all going.
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