Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #80 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Artwork: Brahm Revel
Colours: Ronda Pattison
Release Date: 28th March 2018

Finally, after what has felt (to me, at least) like a bit of a slog, the Invasion of the Triceratons finally reaches its conclusion, and does so with what is easily the strongest issue of the entire arc.

Things pick up significantly here; an uptick which, not by accident, coincides with the brothers finally being allowed to be the stars of their own series.  Sure, there’s still an alien invasion decimating downtown New York, but this issue is all about the increasingly fractured relationship between Clan Hamato and Splinter, and provides some fantastic character-based moments.

Leo gets a much-needed moment to shine, but it’s Mikey who steals the show during his tense, emotionally charged confrontation with his father.  It actually feels for a moment as though Waltz and co. are trying to soften Splinter a little here, making his motivations seem a little more relatable (albeit after the damage has already been done to the character in previous issues), but this approach sadly only lasts for a page or so before he unveils some genuinely horrifying tactics during his battle with the Triceraton leader.  Seriously, dude.  Not cool.

While Brahm Revel’s artistic style is definitely enjoyable during the action sequences, his detail-light approach simply can’t convey the necessary emotion during the dialogue-focused sections.  This means that, in spite of Waltz’s dialogue returning to its usual high standard here, a lot of the aforementioned character beats don’t quite resonate the way they should.

When the dust has settled, the whole invasion is wrapped up in an annoyingly convenient manner, as could probably have been predicted from the get-go, clearing the board and allowing things to get back to normal without any real long-team consequences. Well, aside from the continued splintering – pun intended – of our four brothers’ relationship with their father, of course.

The Triceraton Invasion arc has been, for me, a bit of an ordeal, but in its conclusion I’m left feeling positive again about the immediate future of the series.  The “Cosmic TMNT” diversion finally seems to be at an end, leaving us to focus once again on the street-based drama and conflict that has been this series’ defining quality over the last six years.  Plus, if this issue is anything to go by, the eventual showdown between Clan Hamato and the Splinter-led Foot Clan is going to be absolutely epic, and simply can’t come soon enough.

Rating: 3.5/5.


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