See all reviews of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (45)

Bishop and his Earth Protection Force goons have declared all out war on mutants. Last issue, the Mutanimals got their tails kicked (and cut off) all over the place. This week, Old Hob tries to organize a counter strike. As you might imagine, it doesn’t go smoothly.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #68 (IDW Publishing)

Observations

  • Sorry Leo, but a baby dinosaur > tai chi.
  • Ugh. I hate when I agree with Raphael.
  • Old Hob once again demonstrates the diplomacy skills of toddler wielding a rusty broadsword.
  • Poor Herman 🙁
  • HA! Even in the direst of circumstances, Pete can still make me laugh.
  • …and now I’m sad again because of Seymour 🙁
  • Dang. I didn’t really feel one way or the other about Ray before this, but he might have just become my favorite Mutanimal.
  • Never cared that much for Sally and Mondo Gecko, either, but they just officially won me over.
  • HELL YEAH!
  • Ugh. Now I’m agreeing with Old Hob. Get it together, Leo.

The Verdict

Hats off to Tom Waltz for giving some the more underdeveloped Mutanimals some great moments to shine. Ray in particular proves himself to be not only a badass fighter, but a brilliant tactician, as well.

Please don’t hate me for saying this, but I’ve always found Mondo Gecko only moderately amusing and never cared one way or the other about Sally. In the space of a few panels, however, Waltz made both characters instantly more likable and exciting to read.

Waltz also does a great job making sure we realize that Colonel Knight is not just a walking broken soliders trope, providing a strong contrast to Bishop within the antagonists’ ranks—and perhaps the seeds of an ethical dilemma down the road.

Add in some heartbreaking moments (Seymour and Herman) and some exceptionally well-timed comic relief (via Pete) and the Mutanimal’s partial escape from the EPF’s facilities couldn’t have been done any better.

As expected on a big action sequence like this, Mateus Santolouco goes completely nuts, gorgeously choreographing both close quarters fighting and wide screen action. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how wonderfully he renders the quieter interactions, too. I mean, seriously—how many artists do you know who can make a giant stingray emote like that?

The only downside to this issue—besides the somewhat derivative ending—was watching Leonardo be such an incompetent mess. I get that they are trying to set up a leadership crisis in Splinter’s absence, but his total ineptitude (along with Raphael’s persistent whining) felt a little forced.

Otherwise, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #68 is fantastic. All the good stuff I mentioned before is wrapped inside a genuinely compelling story featuring more human drama than most books that feature actual human characters have. It’s the most I’ve enjoyed a TMNT issue in a long time—and hopefully a sign of things to come for the rest of the year.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #68
Is it good?
Mind-blowing action wrapped inside a compelling story with more human drama than most books that feature actual human characters have.
In the span of a few panels, Tom Waltz turns some of the more underdeveloped Mutanimals into much more interesting/exciting characters.
Mateus Santolouco goes completely nuts, gorgeously choreographing both close quarters fighting and wide screen action--along with a surprising amount of emotional intensity.
Leonardo's ineptness feels a little forced to fit the story.
The ending is a bit derivative.
9
Great
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