Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Artwork: Mateus Santolouco, Cory Smith, Ronda Pattison
Release Date: 7th October, 2015
That’s all I can say right now. Just… wow.
After four years of top-notch storylines, twists, turns and character development, IDW’s ongoing TMNT series celebrates its 50th issue with a double-size spectacular, featuring an epic showdown between Team Splinter and Team Shredder. Epic is most definitely the word too, as our heroes find themselves locked into a frenetic four-on-four battle with Shredder’s elite henchmen, culminating in Splinter and Shredder finally settling their lifelong issues in an utterly jaw-dropping finale.
I’m not going to even hint at any spoilers here, but suffice to say that there no less than three individual moments during the course this issue that have to be considered absolute game-changers, not just for this particular storyline but for the entire future of the series. Yes, it’s that kind of an issue, folks.
It isn’t just about the big stuff though, as the all-star writing team of Eastman, Curnow and Waltz make sure to throw in all manner of subtle moments and sly nods along the way. The individual exchanges between the Turtles and their adversaries are all brilliantly structured, and the sheer amount of storytelling packed into what is essentially a forty-odd page fight scene is truly impressive.
Mateus Santolouco continues to cement his place in the annals of all-time great TMNT artists with one stunning performance after another, and the way he captures the action and emotion of this monumental issue is truly worthy of extra praise. As with previous issues, he manages to keep everything flowing smoothly and clearly in spite of the high number of characters on page at any one time, and the sheer energy he manages to pack into his panels makes this book an absolute visual delight.
This issue also sees the triumphant return of artist Cory Smith, who handles the ‘flashback’ scenes with his usual serene style and high level of detail. Serving as a stark contrast to the chaos of the present day, his pages examine the relationship between Oroku Saki and Hamato Yoshi from its infancy, adding a deeper sense of resonance to the events unfolding in New York City. It’s also worth mentioning the typically stellar work of Ronda Pattison, whose colours only help to emphasise the difference between the two artists’ styles.
I’ve been on board with this series since IDW released the very first issue back in 2011, and I’ve enjoyed the frequent highs and (very) occasional lows along the way, but I can honestly say without a shadow of a doubt that this the best issue of the series so far. Packed with emotion, drama, humour and stunning artwork, this series continues to redefine the Turtles franchise, setting a new bar for excellence and consistency in licensed properties.
To messrs Eastman, Waltz, Curnow, Santolouco, Smith and anyone else who has worked on this series over the last four-plus years, I tip my hat to you. You guys and gals have put together something truly special, and I hope you realise how much us Turtle fanboys and girls out here appreciate it. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I absolutely cannot wait to read the next fifty issues. Turtle power!
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