Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #49 (IDW Publishing)

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Click to enlarge.

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer(s): Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Artist: Cory Smith
Release Date: 19th August, 2015

With the previous issue ending on the latest in a long line of thrilling cliffhangers, this month’s installment of IDW’s ongoing TMNT series keeps up the momentum that this title has been building for years now with yet another tense, dramatic and – most importantly – fun issue.

Interestingly, this latest chapter features something of a departure from where I thought the creative team were going, taking the story in an entirely new and unexpected direction. While I should stress that I had absolutely no problem with where we ended up, I did find the transition somewhat jarring, almost as though the creative team had undergone a change of heart about the brilliantly set-up Stockman/Shredder partnership.  However, despite the abrupt change, my faith in this creative team remains pretty much absolute, and I have no doubt that everything will resolve itself beautifully before all is said and done.  Plus, the premise that’s introduced within these pages – a high-stakes, almost WWE-esque showdown for the ages – is difficult not to get really, really excited about.

Once again, Cory Smith is given ample opportunity to showcase his impressive gift for crowded scenes as the issue whips along from one mass brawl to another, each one filled with his trademark levels of detail and energy.  It also perhaps goes unsaid, but the subtle changes in the way he illustrates each of the brothers is truly brilliant, giving them their own individual style and expression.  Ronda Pattison brings her usual light, vibrant colours to the proceedings, and deserves every bit as much praise as Smith when it comes to the clear, distinctive nature of the sprawling battle scenes.

Perhaps more than other recent issues, this latest chapter adopts a far more focused approach. Gone for the most part is the flicking back and forth between different storyline threads, replaced instead by a smooth, coherent narrative where all of Eastman, Waltz and Curnow’s moving parts have finally come together, leading to what promises to be an absolutely spellbinding finale.

If you’re a TMNT fan and you’re not already reading this series, then you’re doing yourself a major disservice.  Equally appealing to die-hard fans and curious casuals alike, IDW’s stranglehold over the licensed property market remains firmly in place here, and with a mouth-watering double sized 50th issue coming next month, there’s never been a more exciting time to be a fan of this particular franchise. Cowabunga indeed.

Rating: 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: 576682_510764502303144_947146289_nCraig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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