“A final battle looms as Karai decrees a “Gauntlet” battle between ancient foes Splinter and Shredder but first the Turtles must defeat the Foot mutants— Koya, Bludgeon, Bebop & Rocksteady!”
Though this issue is hugely riveting, with great art and a thrilling conclusion, I couldn’t help but come away amused by it all. That may be an odd thing to say when the stakes are so high and we’re so close to the issue 50 ‘conclusion’, but my amusement stems from one idea.
The idea that Shredder is getting shafted from multiple angles.
Full of brains and brawn, he’s quite rightly a formidable foe. But he does seem very prone to outbursts and not always seeing the bigger picture. His rage and ego allow him to be controlled by those close to him. It’s going to come back on him, soon hopefully, and I’m expecting to really enjoy his realisation that those he holds in high regard might not be as good for him as he thinks.
If you’ve been following IDW’s TMNT from the start, you’ll find this a very tantalising issue. The threat of The Foot has hovered over Splinter and his sons over two lifetimes now, with their clashes generally interrupted by other forces or ending in stalemate. Finally there is a chance to settle it once and for all. Starting with the clan members facing up to each other (which seems pretty unfair based on size), we’re left looking forward to the big dookaroo of Hamato Yoshi v Oroku Saki. I can’t wait to see it!
But, and this is a HUGE but…can anyone really die? IDW got pretty close with the horrific beating of Donatello, but he was back quickly in some form or another.
Shredder’s possible comeuppance may have me rubbing my hands with glee, but what of our heroes?
Michelangelo has always had the most empathy among his brothers (one of the reasons he is now my favourite IDW turtle, sorry Leo), and his concern over actually having to kill someone, enemy or not, is a legitimate one. Splinter’s explanation as to why he may have to however is convincing. Layers of history and characterisation that have built up over the last four years add up to make these paternal scenes shine.
There is a lot of dialogue and moving pieces into position this month, but don’t fret; it’s all so well put together that it pulls you in and involves you. All you’ll be wondering is how crazy this is going to end up.
I may have ruined my usual spoiler free take on things as it is (apologies) so I’ll wrap this up. Next month’s issue #50 is a double size story that claims to conclude long standing story arcs. If we go by issue #49 it’s going to be awesome. If you’re not reading this series you really should be.
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