Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #79 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Artwork: Brahm Revel
Colours: Ronda Pattison
Release Date: 28th February 2017

The Invasion of the Triceratons trundles on in the latest issue of IDW’s ongoing TMNT series, with the pieces being gently nudged around the board and a major escalation of hostilities on the ravaged streets of New York City.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m not exactly a fan of this latest arc, and I’m sad to report that this latest issue does little to change my mind as the path towards the inevitable showdown continues to unfold at an almost glacial pace.

It probably doesn’t help matters that Tom Waltz’s usually crisp dialogue is legitimately cringeworthy at times here (“your claims to this planet are as extinct as we believed your kind to be”), making this arc feel more and more like a deliberately tongue-in-cheek B-Movie pastiche instead of the usual scintillating storytelling we’ve come to expect from this series.

While the somewhat aimless skirmish is going on, Clan Hamato have a fairly intense showdown with the Foot Clan, which leads me to my other main niggle with this latest arc.  Previously, Splinter’s motives for stepping in as the leader of the Foot Clan felt believable and were justifiably complex, but nowadays he seems to have just turned into a major league dick, which is disappointing to see.

I mean, it’s one thing seeing Splinter having to make tough decisions to keep the delicate balance of power intact, but it’s something else altogether to see him flat-out trolling Leo for Raph’s hot-headedness.  Don’t get me wrong, a gradual slide to the dark side leading to a tense and emotionally complex showdown between Clan Hamato and the Foot Clan would have been fun to see, but the jarring transition we’ve been presented with simply doesn’t feel natural at all.

This issue also features an artist change from Damian Courceiro to Brahm Revel, for no real reason.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, with Revel’s artwork feeling a lot more kinetic in the action sequences, even if a lot of the expression of the characters is lost as a result of his stripped-down style.

Thankfully, we finally seem to be getting somewhere worthwhile in the closing pages of the issue, with some of the promise of the arc seeming to be on the verge of being fulfilled.  It’s entirely possible that things could redeem themselves in the upcoming issues, and, given the pedigree of the writing team, that’s definitely not out of the question, but there’s no getting away from the fact that the series has definitely been treading water for a good few months now.

The defining characteristic of IDW’s TMNT run has always been, in my opinion, its consistency. So after almost eighty issues, it’s perhaps understandable that we’d eventually hit a low point like this.  On the plus side, the whole thing seems to be drawing to a close, which is definitely a welcome prospect at this stage, and the track record of the series still has me excited about what we can expect from it in the future.  Just no more space invasions, yeah?

Rating: 2/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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1 Comment on Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #79 (IDW Publishing)

  1. you’re definitely NOT alone in this opinion towards this arc. i’d even go as far to say that this series (which i’ve loved for years) has been slipping downward for a while now. there has been high points. but they’ve been getting less and less to the point were it is disappointing and frustrating. i just don’t like the fact that the Ninja Turtles no longer feel like the main stars of their own comic.

    definitely agree with you point about Splinter’s treatment of Leonardo. Splinter’s actions felt too sudden and overly forced just for the sake of plot.
    hopefully the next arc will be better. but truthfully i was all that thrilled with the last arc either.

    this series has been feeling tired and uninspired for some time.
    maybe IDW needs to give Tom Waltz a break from Tmnt and let Eric Burnham or Bobby Curnow take the reigns for a while?

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