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'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' #141 sheds light on the mutant murder mystery

Comic Books

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ #141 sheds light on the mutant murder mystery

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ #141 delves deeper into the personal struggles and evolving dynamics of Clan Hamato.

In this issue, Raphael finds himself in a tight spot due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is now suspect number one in the string of mutant murders plaguing New York. Will Raphael be able to clear his name? Will the turtles continue to drift apart and go their separate ways, or will a common enemy unite them? Read on to find out more.

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' #141 sheds light on the mutant murder mystery
Raphael getting the Law & order treatment
Credit: IDW

Lucky for Raph, he’s got friends in high places. Kara Lewis is now the precinct chief and pulls some strings to get him out on bail. There’s a nice moment when he slips out of his handcuffs, emphasizing his ninja training. He calls Jennika to bail him out, and because of Jennika’s many run-ins with the law in her human life, she’s very blasé about the whole situation, acting more like an older sister than a concerned parent. She even tells the officers she’s there to bail out her little brother.

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What follows is a series of great character moments between the two. Jennika is playful and teasing with Raph, really playing up his first arrest, saying he’s a man now. Raph acts exactly how you would expect a teenager to react to being teased. He lashes out. Jennika knows him well enough not to take it personally, though and quickly switches gears to being understanding of the anxiety Raph is feeling over the shifting status quo post Armageddon Game. It’s easy to forget that the turtles are only teenagers. They’ve been through so much loss and trauma in their short lives.

Back at the lair, Leonardo is showing Bob, a potential student, around and making introductions. We finally get to see what Donatello has been obsessing over since the previous issue and why he’s been so aloof. In a Pepe Silvia like sequence (corkboard diagram and all), Donnie enlists the help of Mona to figure out complex physics equations in the journals he took from his future self. Even though Mona is a physics grad, she can barely begin to understand the full implications of these bleeding-edge scientific concepts. Eventually, she’s able to suss out that they relate to quantum entanglement and, most perplexingly, mutagen.

Donnie’s facial expressions in this sequence are great; you can tell he’s been obsessing over these journals and probably isn’t getting much sleep. He looks haggard and manic. Empty tea and coffee cups, along with soda bottles throughout his lab, add to the general disarray and feelings of desperation. Donnie is desperate to figure this out in a way that he can explain it to his brothers so they don’t just brush him off. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Donnie is trying to prevent the Armageddon he witnessed sometime in the future.

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' #141 sheds light on the mutant murder mystery
Jennika and Raphael acting like siblings.
Credit: IDW

Michelangelo is also in the lair, but he quickly blows off Bob to answer a call from Seri. She’s traveling the world, spreading the message of mutant, Triceraton, and human cooperation with Sally Pride and Pete. Her talks of sunny LA really resonate with Mikey, and he starts considering what life would be like outside of New York away from his family since “everyone seems like they’re doing their own thing.” Once again, we’re reminded of Lita’s warning from past issues about the future of the Ninja Turtles and their eventual drifting away. Campbell finds ways to make us believe that perhaps the Turtles may not be together forever, and this could be the beginning of when their paths diverge.

Switching back to Raph and Jennika, they explore the crime scene and follow a trail of blood to a meatpacking warehouse, where they encounter the weasels sans Alopex. Things take a turn when the weasels suddenly attack, but the real danger comes out of the shadows. Long-time readers could have probably guessed that it was Leatherhead behind the murders, but this issue confirms that our centuries-old mutant alligator friend is back and just as terrifying as ever. Instead of Krang living in his stomach, there is a bright red skull, almost like a tattoo or brand, with glowing red eyes that radiate red electricity. Perhaps this is why the weasels attacked Raph. His red bandanna reminded them of Leatherhead’s glowing eyes.

After a few blows are exchanged, Jennika and Raph manage to escape, but Leatherhead kidnaps Mushroom. In hot pursuit, they run right into Leo, Mikey, and Bob on patrol, which causes a fight between Leo and Raph. Both accuse the other of going it alone and not consulting the others. They eventually agree to tend to Jennika’s wounds and then figure out what to do next. In a cliffhanger ending, we learn who is controlling Leatherhead, and another character we haven’t seen in a while is poised to make a return.

Campbell manages once again to deftly write these mutant animals with humanity and make them genuinely relatable. We can feel for Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael and their anxieties. Donnie is desperately trying to solve this problem on his own, Mikey feels isolated and distant from his brothers, and Raphael is trying to process the loss of Alopex and all the drastic changes brought on by the Armageddon Game. There’s not as much focus on Leonardo in this issue, but we know he’s trying to keep up with patrolling the streets and keeping mutants safe. There’s real potential for an implosion amongst the brothers, and it’s not clear if they’ll survive as a cohesive family unit.

The artwork by Gavin Smith is once again on point. The gritty, realistic style is perfect for the more down-to-earth story beats so far, but he’s also able to amp up the horror vibes. A great panel shows the weasels hunched over a slab of ribs, chunks of meat in their hands, bloodied faces, and teeth bared. The design and effects around Leatherhead are also fantastic. Kudos to colorist Ronda Pattison, the red electricity gives a sense of power and energy that’s equal parts sinister and creepy. It will be interesting to learn the story behind this menacing power controlling him. For a moment, the electricity seems to fade, and Leatherhead becomes more coherent, but it doesn’t last long before he runs off with Mushroom as his hostage.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #141 delves deeper into the personal struggles and evolving dynamics of Clan Hamato. Campbell skillfully captures the anxieties and vulnerabilities of Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael, reminding us of their humanity amidst the chaos. Donnie’s relentless pursuit of knowledge, Mikey’s yearning for a life beyond New York, and Raph’s efforts to adapt to the aftermath of the Armageddon Game create a palpable sense of tension and potential fragmentation within the brotherhood.

The artwork by Gavin Smith continues to impress, seamlessly transitioning between the grounded moments and the chilling horror elements. Smith’s attention to detail, coupled with the atmospheric coloring by Ronda Pattison, enhances the eerie presence of Leatherhead and the unsettling power emanating from him. I am looking forward to learning the origins of this malevolent force controlling Leatherhead and whether or not the Turtles will be able to survive as a cohesive family unit.

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' #141 sheds light on the mutant murder mystery
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ #141 sheds light on the mutant murder mystery
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #141
delves deeper into the personal struggles and evolving dynamics of Clan Hamato. Campbell skillfully captures the anxieties and vulnerabilities of Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael, reminding us of their humanity amidst the chaos. The artwork by Gavin Smith continues to impress, seamlessly transitioning between the grounded moments and the chilling horror elements. I am looking forward to learning the origins of this malevolent force controlling Leatherhead, and whether or not the Turtles will be able to survive as a cohesive family unit.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Great character development and storytelling
Artwork is top notch with realistic, horror elements
Would have liked to see a bit more Leonardo, but understandable not every main character can get a spotlight
8.5
Great
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