Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #22
Story: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art: Mateus Santolouco
Why in the seven hells can’t this series be bi-weekly? It’s too much torture having to wait a month between issues, this series is just that good. I am so happy with this series, it is my absolute favorite version on the TMNT. I thought the Mirage universe could never be topped, never have I been so wrong.
The reason I love this series is because it captures the essence of the original series and then blows it away with superior story telling, tighter action and well developed characters. My personal favorite thing about the Mirage comics were the basic ninja stories that pitted the turtles against Shredder and The Foot clan. The IDW series has been slowly building upon this conflicted relationship and with this issue we are finally entering the first major story arc with a bang called “City Fall”.
Shredder has amassed his army but lacks a competent leader to be his second in command for the upcoming war he plans to unleash on earth for world domination. Enter… Leonardo? Apparently Shredder believes him to be best suited candidate for the job, so he decides to recruit Leo by force. Obviously, Leo would never willingly betray his family for the man who once killed them all in a bloody act of revenge. So it begs the question, how exactly is Shredder going to convince Leo to actually join the Foot?
Almost immediately, the stuff hits the fan. Raph and Casey are ambushed by Foot ninja while on their nightly crime fighting routine. Soon, the rest of the gang learns of this attack and set out to get their family back. Shredder has obviously set a trap, which is triggered by Raph in a spite of rage and a scattered assault on The Foot is engaged. But Shredder only has eyes for one target and just as quickly as the battle began, it’s over with Shredder claiming his prize.
We are left with a hell of a cliffhanger as Leo is abducted and Casey Jones in critical need of medical attention. This arc is already shaping up to be the IDW’s answer to ‘’Return to New York’’, which was my favorite Mirage arc. I can hardly wait to see Dark Leo in action and I have always wanted to see him go “evil”, I wonder if this will bring Leo to finally Kill? He was pretty devastated by the thought of killing Slash, but what if Leo is not Leo and is in fact under some spell casted by Kitsume?
The whole IDW TMNT team have done an amazing job with this series and have set the bar high on my expectations with this story arc. To me, the greatest part of this arc so far is the art. Mateus Santolouco is hands down the best TMNT artist ever. Sounds like blasphemy I know, but the dude rocks. He gives each turtle their own personality just by looks. You can immediately recognize who each turtle is just by looking at them. It makes me sad that IDW had to do away with the red bandanas due to ignorant fans not understanding their meaning, the turtles are a clan and clans wear the same colors. I wish we could’ve gotten Mateus earlier in the series so those same fans could’ve seen his unique traits for each turtle and maybe we could’ve gotten to keep the red bandanas. Nevertheless, he also knows how to display action really well, the fights in this issue and in the awesome Foot Clan mini, are so energized you can almost feel each kick and punch. As always, this series comes highly recommended and I strongly urge you to pick this issue up, it works as a great jumping on point if you haven’t been following along.