COMIC SERIES: IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
WRITERS/ARTIST: Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman/Corey Smith
The battle against Shredder and the Foot take an unexpected turn as Karai sabotages her Grandfather’s and Stockman’s plans, offering the Turtles another way to resolve the ancient feud between their clans…..’The Gauntlet’.
With the double-sized Issue #50 in just a month’s time, this particular instalment really surprised me with the direction it ultimately took the story. I mean the final battle between our Heroes and Shredder’s forces began at the end of Issue 47, and I always thought that it would end in a big all out brawl (like back at the end of the City Fall storyline). So with everything now soon to be resolved via this ancient challenge, I have to give Waltz and Eastman credit for not going down path that I thought was going to happen and instead, giving us something that is tied to the very beginnings of this story with Yoshi and Saki’ previous lives back in ancient Japan.
I was also surprised to see how quickly Baxter Stockman was pushed out of the door, but he was only ever really a means to an end (that being the Shredder’s re-emergence in the story after the Technodrome battle) and I guess we will see him further down the line after Issue #50.
This whole instalment was filled with great character moments as the writers juggled it’s immense cast with such expertise, making sure that everyone got their time in the spot-light. We had Karai standing up for the honourable ways of the Foot as well as Shredder’s priceless reaction to her idea (I hope she truly gets to see just how opposite her Grandfather is to herself next month, I mean Shredder was not exactly hiding his true motives from her here, for it was plain to see to everyone else), we had Koya and Bludgeon discussing Rocksteady and Bebop’s lack of well…everything. We also once again had Michelangelo showing how he did not want to kill (as well as his joy at collecting a shark tooth), as well as Splinter explaining to his sons how he is willing to sacrifice his own life if it means giving them peace (though I highly doubt Shredder would leave them alone, even if he won the Gauntlet).
Also Angel’s desire to step in and help her friends, only for Alopex to stop her due to her own experience with the Foot. I also liked Kitsune’s presence and how she talked the Foot Leader into accepting Splinter’s challenge, knowing exactly what buttons to press in her Lover (I can’t help but feel that she wants Splinter to defeat Shredder…again this whole story has a wonderful intrigue to it with it’s shifting alliances etc). And there was also the Witch’s returning interest in Alopex, which is something I would love to see concluded next issue (though I guess it is something that will play out afterwards).
We also got to see exactly how Harold and Fugitoid plan to heal Donatello (I loved the exterior picture of the Technodrome on Burrow Island), only for the robot to question whether it is ethical to save his friend and doom the remaining Ultrons there while doing so.
Like I said, there were a ton of character moments in this Issue. But before anyone thinks that this instalment was mainly filled with lots of talking heads, there was also plenty of action to the balance the overall experience, what with the quick end to the Stockman Swarm and the first and bruising round of the Gauntlet. And again credit where credit’s due to Corey Smith for the great job he did in the Artwork department, bringing each and every page to life in a way that only one other person I know of can.
Overall this was another great instalment, one that continues to wet my appetite for next month’s landmark 50th Issue. And since it is going to be double the size of this one, I can only guess that we will get more than our money’s worth once more (like we have had with virtually every issue of this brilliant series).