TMNT #22

“Trouble is brewing in the streets of NYC. Crime and gang warfare increase while different underworld factions jostle for power. Meanwhile, Shredder has found an old ally in Kitsune, a long-lost witch from Feudal Japan.” 

Reality rarely lives up to the anticipation. In the case of TMNT #22 though, not only has the anticipation been met, but it may lead to it being surpassed. Not only does this months’s issue kick off a new story arc, but we also welcome the return of Mateus Santolouco on art duties.

From the beginning I’ve enjoyed the artwork on TMNT, but Mateus’s detail and design is on another level, and elevates the issue as a whole. The title page alone, with a sweeping and amazingly detailed view of New York, lets you know you’re in for a treat. Then you get to the Turtles themselves. You can feel Raphael’s angst and Michelangelo’s naivety in such a palpable way that you could take away the colours and still know exactly who was who. The amount of emotion elicited from each Turtle’s face not only draws us into their feelings, but gives us look into each of their different psyches. His work on Secret History of The Foot Clan was marvellous and universally well received, so it’s high time he was handed a crack at the main title.

Prying myself away from the sumptuous artwork for a moment, the script by Tom Waltz doesn’t waste any time getting us into the thick of things. Not a word is wasted and though a lot is crammed in it never feels overpowered. It also leaves us on quite the cliff-hanger, and eagerly awaiting next month! I don’t like to wish time away, but June needed to be here yesterday!

But back to the artwork! Ronda Pattinson’s colours bring out of the best in the art’s lines and details, complimenting it perfectly. In fact there is so much detail and fine work here I have to wonder how the team will keep up with monthly deadlines. Here’s hoping they can stay as a team on the title for a long time to come.

Two points I have to bring up specifically. The first is someone finally making use of the Turtles “unique skills”, in not only a way that makes sense, but also looks damn cool. The second is Splinter. No other take on the TMNT has written him in such a thoughtful and deep way. He is not only a strong Father, but a wise master and a great warrior.

After their off-world jaunt and run-ins with other mutants, this is shaping up extremely confidently, and is the TMNT story it’s all the previous arcs have been building up to. Shredder is the most menacing he’s ever been, and the Turtles (and their family) find themselves in an extremely perilous position. Bandanas off to the IDW team. If the rest of the arc lives up to this first part, we are in for a treat.

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