Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #70 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Artwork: Mateus Santolouco
Colours: Ronda Pattison
Release Date: 14th June, 2017

IDW’s ongoing TMNT series reaches another impressive milestone this week with its 70th issue as the ‘Desperate Measures’ arc resolves itself in truly dramatic fashion.  This concluding chapter is based around the tense showdown between Old Hob, our brothers, Dark Water and the Earth Protection Force, and is every bit as gripping as you would come to expect from the extensive set-up.

The moral ambiguity that has become a bit of a thematic calling card for the series in recent months continues here, with Old Hob resorting to kidnapping and threatening civilians in an attempt to secure the return of his Mutanimal family members.  For me, Hob definitely feels like a character than has been somewhat under-utilized lately, so it’s great to see him featured front-and-center in the conclusion of this arc, with his chequered past and surly demeanour being offset by his genuine concern for the safety of his ‘family’.

Artist Mateus Santolouco’s work is as crisp and clean as always, with some pleasing visual beats along the way.  One of my favorites – and one of the only ones I can talk about without spoiling key moments of the issue – is the mirroring between Bishop and Slash as the EPF leader takes control of the brainwashed Mutanimal.  It’s perhaps a little detail in the grand scheme of things, but something about it really works for me in adding some extra energy to these sequences.  Oh, and should once again be taken for granted by this point, Ronda Pattison’s colours are on-point throughout.

As always, I’m not going to verge into spoiler territory, but the conclusion of the arc also provides something of a defining moment for our four brothers, whose relationship has been more than a little fractured over the last twenty or so issues.  Leonardo in particular, who has come across like a persistent wet blanket for quite some time now, finally steps up and shows some of the leadership that has been lacking from him, as well as a long-absent ability to make difficult decisions.

There are some loose threads of course, as is the style of this series, and when you consider all the other storyline arcs swirling on the periphery while this one is commanding our attention – Casey and the Purple Dragons, Splinter and the Foot, Kistune’s infernal machinations – you get a taster of just why this series is so damn special.  Eastman, Curnow and Waltz have created a living, breathing world around these characters filled with nuance and depth, why still managing to provide a quick fix of action, drama or excitement for any readers opting to dip in and out of the series.

Honestly, it seems like every month I come out and sing the praises of this series, not just for its impressive storytelling and artwork, but for the sheer consistency that has seen it maintain such a blistering pace for almost six years now.  If you’re not already on this bandwagon then you really need to remedy that, and if you’ve ever shown any kind of affinity or affection for the ‘heroes in a half-shell’, then this is most definitely the series for you.

Rating: 4.5/5.

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