The name of this new arc is “Attack on the Technodrome”, so you can probably guess where the story is going.
Is it good?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #41 (IDW Publishing)
The issue begins with a (completely badass) shot of the Technodrome running some tests on Burnow Island. Back inside the island base’s main lab, Fugitoid and Baxter Stockman fret in completely different ways over what Krang’s ultimate weapon of destruction will mean for the rest of earth.
…besides a re-release of the Ninja Turtles toy I always wanted!
The robot with the heart of gold is horrified by the massive genocide it will cause, while Baxter thinks it sucks that he might die. But that still puts them on the same side of the issue, leading to a very uneasy (and strange alliance).
Meanwhile, Donatello continues his parlay (via Metalhead) with Shredder, where they come to an uneasy alliance against their shared alien enemy.
“Before we continue our discussion, I need to update my firmware.”
Are you starting to see a theme here? Good, because we’re going to keep on going with it. After the Turtles (sans Donatello) get through a successful training session with Hob’s mutant army, tensions are raised, but it’s not the one-eyed cat’s fault this time. Instead, it’s the half shell heroes who come off as jerks, blowing off their new allies as just a means to their ends rather than a true part of their mutant family.
Back on the Casey/April front, a new subplot is introduced involving a character from the excellent Secret History of the Foot Clan miniseries. There’s also a great scene with Donnie and Harold testing out the teleporter that shows us a much friendlier side to their friendship (and references the currently running/very good TMNT/Ghostbusters crossover miniseries).
But it’s the last few pages that really steal the show in this issue, giving us a rare glimpse into what it looks like to see Krang show unbridled joy and happiness…and it’s quite unsettling.
Is It Good?
I’m running out of ways to praise this series.
If my recap made this one sound like there wasn’t a lot of action, then prepare to be blown away by the Hob Army training sequence. But even if you took that wonderful scene out of the issue, it still would have been good.
There are multiple (and very strong) subplots being masterfully woven by Tom Waltz into one cohesive, over arcing theme about loyalty. All of it is wonderfully accented by great character moments, accessible references to past mythology, and of course, fantastic action sequences.
As if all that weren’t enough, we exchanged one brilliant artist in Mateus Santlouco for another in Cory Smith. Not only are the action sequences handled beautifully, but the scene at the end with a gleeful Krang is perfectly balanced so that it never feels ridiculous (which is no small feat when you’re drawing disembodied talking brain).
The Stockman/Fugitoid scenes are the only thing in this one that feel a little tedious, but Waltz still manages to take making their partnership feel organic and believable.
This book just keeps getting better with time and shows no signs of slowing down. Balls to walls action, well-themed and constructed plots that are still accessible, complex characters on both sides of good and evil, and a rotating team of top flight artists. This isn’t just TMNT comics done right; it’s comics done right, period.