Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #69 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Artwork: Mateus Santolouco
Colours: Ronda Pattison
Release Date: 3rd May, 2017

With the Mutanimals barely managing to escape the clutches of Agent Bishop and the Earth Protection Force in the last issue, this latest chapter sees our “heroes in a half-shell” pinned down by Dark Water in yet another seemingly unwinnable situation.

This latest arc has done a truly commendable job of elevating the Mutanimals from comedy sideshow to legitimate characters in their own right. Hell, even Mondo Gecko feels a pretty bad-ass as he takes out an EPF scientist during the opening pages of this chapter, a real accomplishment for a character who has felt, at times, like the comic book equivalent of fingernails on a blackboard – to me at least.

The real star of this issue, however, is clearly Hob, who shines throughout with his sharp, witty dialogue and unapologetic approach to ass-kicking.  The character has always been a personal favourite of mine, and it’s great to see him being utilised so effectively here as both an antagonistic force and de facto saviour of our four brothers.

Let’s be honest, Mateus Santolouco’s TMNT credentials are pretty much unquestioned at this point, so it’s no surprise that he has been doing a typically stellar job of capturing the dynamic action that has been fueling this latest arc.  The “unleashed” version of Slash looks absolutely terrifying, and the scenes with the brothers and Hob going head-to-head with Dark Water are packed with energy and a flowing feeling of movement throughout.

He also, perhaps unexpectedly, does an equally impressive job with the emotional exchange between Bishop and his Alzheimer’s-ridden father, adding some much-needed depth to the Turtles’ current adversary and providing a little extra context to his ruthlessly ambitious demeanour.

As always, it’s the little things that makes this title work so well, and the action scenes here all feel like they’re delivered in furtherance of the story, rather than just as an excuse to draw cool laser guns and things exploding.  Things that happen in previous issues always seem to pay off somewhere down the line, rewarding eagle-eyed readers and drawing newcomers deeper and deeper into this richly realised world – a true testament to the ongoing efforts of Eastman, Curnow and Waltz.

This is yet another exciting, lively, action-packed issue, and continues what has been a surprisingly enjoyable Mutanimal-heavy arc.  Consistency has long been the calling card of IDW’s TMNT series, and this latest arc proves that almost six years on, it’s still setting the standard for licensed comic book properties.

Rating: 4.5/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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