Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Artwork: David Wachter, Ronda Pattison
Release Date: 23rd November, 2016
Hey TMNT fans, remember last issue when I applauded the moral ambiguity at play in Splinter’s somewhat questionable leadership of the Foot Clan? Welllll, it turns out that I may have spoken too soon, because that ambiguity is removed in emphatic fashion here as everyone’s favourite rat sensei erases all doubt about just how far he’s willing to go in order to the ensure the survival of his Clan. It’s not pretty, and the brothers react pretty much like I’m assuming most readers will – with a mixture of shock and revulsion – but dammit if it doesn’t make for one hell of a gripping storyline.
The specifics of Splinter’s ‘line in the sand’ are probably best experienced first-hand, but suffice to say that this issue serves to cement just how seriously he takes his new role. The schemes and machinations all come to a head here as the brothers – and their new-found allies – lead an all-out assault on the Street Phantoms and their leader Lupo, with some suitably elegant action sequences interspersed with moments of genuine emotion. A significant chunk of that emotion comes from the showdown between Harold and Libby, with the former refusing to forgive the latter for her betrayal, in spite of her seemingly heartfelt and genuine desire to make amends.
I’m also really intrigued by the decision to have Casey Jones step us as the de facto leader of the Purple Dragons in a move that feels a little like a stripped-down version of the Splinter/Foot Clan dynamic. It’s going to be interesting to see if Casey’s approach to leadership deviates from Splinter’s, and whether he can prevent himself from falling into the same moral black hole as his rodent father figure.
Once again artist Dave Wachter cements his TMNT credentials here with another dynamic chapter packed with action, gravitas and solemnity, and while it’s going to be great seeing TMNT mainstay Mateus Santolouco making his return next issue, it’ll also be more than a little sad to see Wachter stepping away after stamping such an emphatic mark on the book.
Overall, it’s great to see the storyline which was set in motion all the way back in issue #50 finally starting to pay some real dividends, and with what could potentially be viewed as a massive paradigm shift taking place in this issue, I’m genuinely excited to see how this fascinating yet uncomfortable situation is going to play out.
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