Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #84 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Artwork: Dave Wachter
Colours: Ronda Pattison
Lettering: Shawn Lee
Release Date: 25th July 2018

The latest issue of IDW’s ongoing TMNT series sees our four brothers finally confronting the sadistic Rat King, armed with the mysterious information Leo seems to have gleamed from their meeting with Manmoth.  Meanwhile, Baxter Stockman has taken April’s advice and unleashed his Flyborgs and Mousers to help bring New York’s out-of-control rat problem under control.

While it doesn’t quite hit the heights of the previous issue with Manmoth, Waltz does a cracking job of wrapping this story up in genuinely satisfying fashion.  The showdown between Clan Hamato and the Rat King is brilliantly structured, and manages to showcase the strengths (and weaknesses) of our four brothers to perfection.  The Stockman/April exchanges serve as a nice counterpoint to the final battle, sowing the seeds for what promises to be a genuinely intriguing situation as Baxter shifts further and further into the limelight.

It’s safe to say by now that every issue of this series Dave Wachter draws further cements his place in the upper echelon of TMNT artists, and this latest offering is no different.  Boasting immaculate, detailed pencils and a real sense of dynamism and expression throughout, his take is easily the most quote-unquote “realistic” version of the TMNT in recent years, an approach which adds an extra layer of menace to Rat King and his (lest we forget) orphan-killing actions.

The strength of IDW’s TMNT series has always been the way Waltz, Eastman and Curnow manage to keep so many different storyline plates spinning at the same time.  And while an eventual showdown between Clan Hamato and the Splinter-led Foot Clan is clearly on the cards, it’s likely we’re not going to be digging into this particular situation too deeply until we’re closer to issue 100.  In the meantime however, the final page of this issue provides an immediate new threat, and there are so many interesting subplots surrounding the Turtles themselves that the writers have to be pretty much spoiled for choice in terms of deciding where to go next.

A pleasantly focused conclusion to what has been a solid, enjoyable arc, then.  And, in spite of the Pantheon’s involvement, this has felt like a far more grounded, far more Turtle-focused chapter of this ongoing saga, and a welcome departure from the silly, spacefaring shenanigans of recent months (Hakk-R notwithstanding).  More of this, please!  And more Dave Watcher, while you’re at it.

Rating: 4/5.



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