It’s been a hot minute since my last look at IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but we’re back at it today with a look at the latest issue from Sophie Campbell and her creative team. The previous handful of issues have been a subject of praise from me, thanks to their knuckling down on larger plot threads after so long. While this issue isn’t quite as good as those last couple, it still does what it needs to do to move things along at a good pace.
Plot wise, we get Sally Pride’s mutant rally, something we built up to over the past couple issues. Not all is well though, since the Mutanimals have started acting without Hob’s orders, and attempt to assassinate the main characters alongside Sally. We learn that it’s really because of Man Ray, who’s been undercutting Hob’s authority to further whatever his own agenda is.
It’s actually really interesting to see this kind of subterfuge in the Mutanimal ranks, which has been a team that’s felt fairly on the same page this whole time. This new angle showing the extremes some of them are willing to go, even beyond their beloved leader’s wishes, is really enticing and I’m excited to see where it’s heading.
We also get a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment of Shredder being spotted by Raphael, which he seemingly chooses to ignore for now. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s probably going to come up again at some point very soon, and I’m excited for the reunion of the Turtles and their former enemy.
There’s also another plot point lightly touched upon with a reporter that’s been hunting for a Mutant Town story, leading to the capture of some of the Turtles’ mutant pupils at the hands of Hob’s goons. I have a feeling that this will be paid off next time, so I’ll hold off on going into detail and just say it’s good for ramping up the tension in the fight against the Mutanimals.
The characterization in this issue feels a tad… off, in my view. Casey saying something boneheadedly chauvinistic and getting a light jab and maybe even an eye roll is pretty standard Turtles fair in most media, but I’m surprised that it’s what caused such a bitterly angry reaction from Raphael, a character who’s always been pretty much on the same page as Casey this entire book. Him getting defensive over his girlfriend is totally within character, but upsetting him enough to ditch Casey outright and bitterly telling the others to “forget him” feels a little out of character for Raph, even if Casey did deserve a chewing out.
That being said, perhaps this reaction is supposed to be indicative of a deeper anger growing inside Raphael (who threw a bit of a private violent fit right after), or the slipping towards morally ambiguous activity that Casey was going through before the creative team shift. I don’t want to decry it completely, because I think having the two best friends argue could lead to some real juicy character stuff down the line. Here’s hoping!
This issue has art by Nelson Daniel, who’ve I already expressed previously is far from my favourite artist for the book. That being said, the way he draws most characters who aren’t the Turtles themselves is really good, with them all being well rendered and expressive. The thing that I have a hard time getting over is how he draws the maskless faces of the Turtles, which will just never look right to me no matter how many times I see it.
In conclusion, it’s a pretty middle of the road issue. The problems I have could easily be explained away later down the line, but for now the oddly bitter spat between Raph and Casey doesn’t feel organic to their characters in this series up until this point, so the whole scene dragged the issue down for me somewhat. Other than that, it’s a pretty good read. Everybody else feels on point and the art, while not my personal favorite, is still pretty good and does the job just fine. Not the strongest entry we’ve had lately, but completely serviceable as an entry in the ongoing story.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!