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'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin –The Lost Years' #1 review
IDW

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‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin –The Lost Years’ #1 review

The Lost Years #1 promises to show us the long and arduous journey Michelangelo went on to find the motivation to go on without his family.

For many folks who grew up with the Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin was a godsend in bringing back what made the characters so cool while reminding us of its harder-edged origins. It was also a bold concept formulated by the original creators, that both matured the series and made it feel new again. A huge success, it returns this week with a new prequel miniseries Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin –The Lost Years. It aims to show us how the last remaining Ninja Turtle wandered about, looking for vengeance in the past while progressing the story further in the present, where The Last Ronin left off.

It’s worth noting you should read The Last Ronin first before diving into this prequel. It’s not so much that it can’t be read in its own right, but that it spoils some things for the epic that was released in the collected format last July. Juggling two plots, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin –The Lost Years opens with Michelangelo taking a beating. It’s a few street-clothed jerks with half the skills he has, but Michelangelo is in a place where he just wants to give up. He’s alone and a bit lost in his journey.

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Smash-cut to now, where we meet Casey Marie Jones, who is trying to train four kiddo turtles to be ninjas. Some are getting the hang of it, but others just want to eat or are uninterested in fighting. Casey is young herself but doing her best. Writers Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz connected the stories by showing Casey aren’t going to give up on her students, and Michelangelo can’t give up on himself. One gets the sense this is the start of a possible next series as it’s not the focus and more of a taste of what might be coming.

The art by Sl Gallant and Maria Keane in the flashback scene is fantastic, with great inking that brings out the details of the turtles. There’s great coloring by Luis Antonio Delgado, which brings out some subtle details in each of the turtles.

Kevin Eastman also supplies a page of black-and-white art in his iconic style. The page features Splinter’s journal, which also connects both stories.

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin –The Lost Years' #1 review

Michelangelo is going through some dark thoughts on this issue.
Credit: IDW

Most of this issue is about Michelangelo thinking back to the time he was cowardly and learning to live with that while also finding a new gear to motivate himself to continue and not give up. There are key moments to when all four Ninja Turtles were still alive and their horrible deaths recounted. Michelangelo is reeling from their loss and seems to want to give up on himself.

The “now” scenes by Ben Bishop hammer home Michelangelo’s anguish. You feel for him thanks to the good character acting while also delivering a decent level of detail with many characters per panel, depending on the page. These scenes have some action, but it’s mostly about Michelangelo being down in the dumps. Action is good, although this issue is more about his dismay and need to find motivation rather than intense choreography or splashy pages.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin – The Lost Years #1 promises to show us the long and arduous journey Michelangelo went on to find the motivation to go on without his family. Meanwhile, it hints at the future of Ninja Turtles that fans won’t want to miss. Prequels can be hard, though, and you might find yourself wishing for more positive hope of the future turtles rather than most of the narrative being stuck in the dark past.

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin –The Lost Years' #1 review
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin –The Lost Years’ #1 review
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin –The Lost Years #1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin –The Lost Years #1 promises to show us the long and arduous journey Michelangelo went on to find the motivation to go on without his family. Meanwhile, it hints at the future of Ninja Turtles that fans won't want to miss. Prequels can be hard, though, and you might find yourself wishing for more positive hope of the future turtles rather than most of the narrative being stuck in the dark past.
Reader Rating1 Vote
8.6
Exciting to see the potential for future stories post Last Ronin
From the art to the story, they put you right there with Michelangelo in a defeated place that he needs to move on from
Michelangelo's story is so entrenched in sorrow this issue you'll be hoping for a turn around fast
Action in the past scenes can feel a little stiff with little choreography in the fight scenes
8
Good
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