Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Artwork: David Wachter, Ronda Pattison
Release Date: 27th July, 2016
[NOTE: Review contains minor spoilers for issue #60]
In my review of the previous issue of IDW Publishing’s ongoing TMNT series, I pointed out that it was about darn time we had a decent Splinter-centric story. Even the whole “death of Shredder” thing that culminated in issue #50 only really became a Splinter story right at the end, and since then the character has taken something of a back-seat to the Street Phantoms, Mutanimals, Leatherhead and others. Thankfully, this latest issue continues to focus heavily on Splinter himself, with everyone’s favourite rat sensei taking the fight to Kitsune and her nefarious mind control shenanigans.
Artist Dave Wachter does a stunning job from the very beginning, packing expression and dynamism into his characters and sequences. I’ll admit to initially having some mild apprehension about his Turtles themselves, but those qualms were quickly swept aside once things got going here. Once again Wachter’s masterful pencils and impressive level of detail add a sense of gravitas to the proceedings, something which really helps to underscore the importance this particular story and prevent the whole “mind control” thing from ever feeling too hokey.
However, for all its strengths – particularly on the visual side of things – there are a couple of unavoidable niggles that are preventing me from getting too excited about this issue. Firstly, the fact that the seemingly shocking cliff-hanger at the end of the previous issue is dismissed in such a blasé fashion feels almost like a middle finger to the reader. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting Splinter to be dead or anything, I was just hoping for more actual peril or consequence than the “lol Kevlar” resolution we got here four pages into the issue.
Secondly, after the impressive build-up to Kitsune’s escape and the initiation of her bold master plan, the whole thing is rendered effectively meaningless by an oh-so lucky “magic bullet” that just happens to show up at the right time. While I’m sure this isn’t the end of Kitsune’s story – far from it, in fact – the way her plans are effortlessly quashed here feels more than a little lazy, and makes the Turtles and Splinter feel like little more than inconsequential secondary characters in the process.
After sixty issues, it’s almost inevitable that IDW’s TMNT series is going to have the occasional wobble, and sadly that’s exactly what we have here. It features fantastic artwork from start to finish, but this an issue which is marred by a couple of storyline concessions that are a little difficult to swallow. Once again, it’s worth noting that there are numerous seeds being planted for future stories, but it’s also fairly disappointing to see one of those very same seeds that had previously been cultivated so lovingly wither on the vine here.
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