Last month, things got freaky and weird with the Rat King before leaving us with a heck of a cliffhanger: Krang and Shredder having a parlay to discuss a possible alliance. In this issue, we get to see how that goes. Is it good?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #37 (IDW Publishing)
The meeting begins with both villains referencing prior run-ins with each other in the past (and in another miniseries). Shredder then proceeds to spit a bunch of flawed supervillain logic about how they should help each other.
“Maybe we should kiss to break the tension…”
While this is all going on, a bunch of weird stuff happens with Alopex (seriously… its placement in the story felt that random).
“I am the spirit of plot progression, grinding completely to a halt.”
Back at the meeting, it looks like we’re about to have a cartoonishly contrived alliance between the two entities of evil. Much to my surprise, however, Krang laughs in Shredder’s face. That sets off a chain of events that leads into one of the most incredibly badass fight scenes imaginable. When two of Shredder’s mutants enter the fray (including a brand new one), it gets even better.
By the end of the issue, we’ve been treated to a massively entertaining brawl, the fallout of which will be huge going forward.
Is it Good?
It’s strange having an issue that doesn’t have the Turtles in it, but writer Tom Waltz still turns in one of the very best issues in IDW’s stellar run on the franchise.
I must admit, however, that the story’s tone had me worried at first. But Waltz uses the familiar tropes of a supervillain team-up to pull the rug out from under us… although it really shouldn’t have been a surprise. A creature like Krang would never bow to a human, even if he is immortal.
Fortunately, Shredder isn’t just treated like an afterthought. In fact, the fight between him and Krang shows why he truly is in the same class as the super powered extraterrestrial. He’s also shown to be a capable leader, earning loyalty from his mutated goons through a combination of intimidation as well as respect.
I also cannot say enough about the artwork by Cory Smith. Both the tension filled first half and the explosive, action packed second half were handled superbly.
I only had two minor quibbles with this issue:
1. The scene with Alopex felt completely random and shoehorned. I’m sure Waltz and Eastman have a good plan for it, but it brought me out of the story a bit (although Smith’s rendering of the scene was absolutely gorgeous).
2. The issue references a lot of mythology from the IDW era. If you’ve read all the miniseries as well as the main one, then it’s great. If you haven’t, then it was probably a little confusing. It’s something I often chastise another IDW series, Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, for doing.
Note to IDW: Right about here would be a great time for an editorial footnote/trade paperback advertisement.
But aside from those minor issues, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #37 is a smart and thrilling entry into Waltz’s impressive run on the title. Don’t waste your money seeing the cinematic abomination of this franchise that’s in movie theaters right now. Instead, go buy this comic and read it a few times. It’s infinitely more worthy of your time and money.