TMNT Villains Micro-Series: Karai

 “Karai, a deadly assassin, is the embodiment of the Foot Clan. But it was not always that way! Explore the shadowy history of this complicated character and see exactly how far her ambition takes her! Secrets from the past and present revealed!”

The fifth issue in the Villains series does exactly what it says on the tin. Fortunately it does it in such a way that not only kept me on my toes, but made for an entertaining read. Not having particularly strong feelings about Karai either way makes it all the more impressive.

Not only does the story explain how Karai came to be, as well as her current motivations, but it also ties in strongly to the main title’s story arc. Snippets of thought and dialogue here will surely have large ramifications for everyone involved. I found that her lack of pettiness, and strong sense of duty led to me actually quite liking her! She may be on the wrong side and may have played a part in corrupting my favourite turtle, but I see her point.

Cory Smith has performed admirably here, with his art of a similar standard to that set by Mateus Santolouco in the main TMNT title. His placement of panels, and the ease in which they flow into one another is a joy to follow. The amount of thought no doubt put into their composition results in an easy to follow piece.

Sequences set in either the past or dreams are distinguished strongly by Ian Herring’s colours, which compliments the art extremely well. The Shredder appears suitably cold and aloof in particular.

This is one of the most dialogue heavy comics I’ve come across, and Shawn Lee impresses with his lettering, fitting it all in whilst keeping clarity and style intact. Having this much monologue and explanation is no bad thing, but it could easily have overpowered the images.

Whilst I’d be stupid to spoil anything, I have to mention that there is a treat in store for anyone who grew up with the Turtles and watched the 90’s cartoon. Really looking forward to how it pans out.

As I said earlier, I haven’t had any strong feelings about Karai as a character. Upon finishing this issue however, I am intrigued as to how she will feature in future stories and how exactly she will move on. That’s a win right there as far as I’m concerned.

Writer Erik Burnham and the team have pulled off a fine juggling act here. They gives us everything we expected, plus a whole lot more. After my trepidation with the first few issues, I’m now a fully paid up fan of the villain series, which has me excited not only next months installment, but also TMNT #25.

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