Review – TMNT #51 (IDW Publishing)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Artist: Ken Garing
Release Date: 28th October, 2015

In the wake of the utterly shocking events of issue #50, things have taken a noticeably darker turn in IDW’s ongoing TMNT series.  With Shredder dead and the Turtles now grudgingly leading the Foot Clan, our heroes find themselves balancing their own misgivings about the situation with the need to avoid a power vacuum in New York City as word spreads throughout the criminal underworld that the Foot has been weakened by the loss of their leader.

As with pretty much every issue of this series, there are a lot of different moving parts here, but for me, the most interesting storyline thread at the moment is Mikey’s removal from the group.  Always the pizza-loving, wisecracking brother, for him to decide that he wants no part of the direction things are moving in speaks to the gravity of the situation, and this issue features a wonderfully nuanced exchange between he and Raph that I hope we’re going to see explored in more detail down the line.

New artist Ken Garing is also perfectly suited for the noticeable shift in tone, providing a darker, more heavily inked aesthetic that is vaguely reminiscent of Eastman’s own iconic style.  Santolouco’s crisp, clean approach really wouldn’t work here, so I’m glad that IDW has opted to use a different aesthetic for this particular chapter of the story.  He also proves himself more than capable in the action sequences, providing some fluid exchanges with suitably jarring impact as the brothers take to the streets to send their ‘message’.

I’ve been singing the praises of this series for quite some time, and – barring a monumental misstep in the near future – I honestly don’t see that changing any time soon.  Eastman, Curnow and Waltz have a firm, confident grasp of exactly what it is they want to do, and this latest arc promises to provide a far more personal, far more intimate look at how these iconic characters react when they find themselves in completely unfamiliar territory.  This issue serves as a powerfully dramatic shift in tone for this series, while still retaining the charm and warmth that has made it such a runaway success for the last four years.  Count me in for the foreseeable future.

Rating: 4/5.

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