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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #144
IDW Publishing

Comic Books

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ #144 review

It’s clear that the future of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is as bright as ever.

The latest installment of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles picks up right where the previous issue left off, and it doesn’t waste a single moment, plunging readers into the chaos and adventure that TMNT fans have come to love. This issue is a fitting conclusion to the “Damages Done” story arc, and it sets the stage for what promises to be an exciting future in the “Road to 150” arc.

SPOILERS AHEAD for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #144!

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #144
The issue opens with plenty of action
Credit: IDW

The story unfolds with multiple threads converging, and it’s Venus who takes center stage as she confronts the newly transformed Jasper Barlow. As Leo and Mikey face off against Leatherhead under the night terrors’ control, Mushroom plays a crucial role in telepathically snapping Leatherhead free from his torment. Leatherhead, Leo and Mikey are able to rip the dragon scales from the bodies of the night terrors, reverting them back to normal animals. It was a bit surprising that the dragon scales could simply be ripped off, as it appeared they were surgically implanted by Barlow, but that’s the power of magic I suppose.

The defeat of the night terrors kicks Barlow’s own chaotic transformation into hyperdrive and he becomes a huge multi-armed, multi-eyed, pink skinned rat-like monster. Now that the rest of the squad has been awakened from their nightmares, Bludgeon and Leatherhead are able to hold Barlow down while Venus (with help from Mushroom) casts a spell on him to end the chaotic transformation. Barlow’s dragon scales are gone, and he is nothing more than a large, talking white rat. This confrontation showcases both the physical and magical abilities of our heroes. Though the final battle against Barlow was entertaining, and his multiple transformations provided great opportunities for some good character designs, the fight was over pretty quickly and Venus (with the help of Mushroom) didn’t have much of a problem finishing him off.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #144
Mushroom attempts to free Leatherhead from his trance
Credit: IDW

As the issue reaches its conclusion, it segues into an epilogue, giving readers a taste of what’s to come. Sophie Campbell’s impressive run on the series is winding down, and this issue sets the stage for significant changes in the Turtles’ lives. Alopex’s decision to take the Weasels to Alaska for a simpler life in the wild highlights the theme of finding one’s path. Leonardo decides to make a permanent move to Northampton, recognizing that it’s okay for the brothers to go their separate ways. Donatello joins him to explore the thin places, bringing more intrigue to the series. Raphael, in contrast, embarks on a cross-country motorcycle journey to clear his head, a poignant character development moment. Mikey’s choice to stay in the city and continue his radio show emphasizes the significance of community and responsibility.

Campbell also explores some interesting themes with the character of Dr. Jasper Barlow. He’s a self-loathing mutant who was once an esteemed surgeon. His plan revolves around destroying all mutants which he sees as abominations. He even goes as far as to wish his own death when Venus magically changes him into a rat. Leatherhead had similar feelings about being a mutant, he was tricked by Barlow’s promise to use the dragon scales to return him to his original alligator form. Leatherhead comes to realize that what Barlow is doing is unnatural and not his own mutation. It’s an important lesson about accepting yourself for who you are, and not letting others dictate your own self-worth.

The artwork by Gavin Smith is stellar as usual. He creates some truly freaky character designs for Barlow’s transformations that push the envelope of what we’ve seen for mutations in this series. Ronda Pattison’s colors are fantastic, especially all of the magical flourishes between Barlow and Venus. The fleshy, pink color for Barlow is the perfect choice for a realistic and disgusting monster.

This issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles not only wraps up an engaging story arc but also promises fresh and exciting adventures in the upcoming “Road to 150” arc. The combination of action, character development, and the prospect of new beginnings makes this issue well worth the read. As we begin to bid farewell to Sophie Campbell’s remarkable run on the title, it’s clear that the future of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is as bright as ever.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #144
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ #144 review
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #144
This issue not only wraps up an engaging story arc but also promises fresh and exciting adventures in the upcoming "Road to 150" arc. The combination of action, character development, and the prospect of new beginnings makes this issue well worth the read.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.6
Good character development as the Turtles start to discover their own paths
Provides a satisfying conclusion to the story arc
Leaves a lot of threads to pick up on in the next arc
The final confrontation with Barlow was a little too easy for my liking
7.5
Good
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