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Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Director’s Cut #1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Director’s Cut #1

As a kid who grew up in the 1980s and a fair amount into the 90s, I saw where cartoons evolved and newer ones launched making a splash. I grew up in a time when shows like He-Man and The Masters Of The Universe was everywhere and everything to kids. I remembered asking my parents to go to Toys R Us back then to pick up my favorite character’s action figures. This was also true for shows like G.I. Joe and Robotech. They gripped my imagination in ways that they still d. Eventually, those shows faded into memory and newer shows would take their place.

We went from watching shows like those mentioned on Saturdays to watching after school every day. One of my favorites being Gargoyles and the another being Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I found out The Turtles’ stories were much darker in the comics and actually were a precursor for Marvel MAX in so many ways. The creators of these beloved characters return in a story that only they can put together. Now, the hit debut gets a “director’s cut” in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Director’s Cut #1.

We are taken to the not distant future, where NYC is deeply polluted, and human survival is pretty scarce, where we find Michaelangelo, without his brothers and Master Splinter, who all have died because of some mysterious circumstances. As Michaelangelo makes his way through what used to be his home, the sewers, he is met by fully integrated robotic security, as a man named Oroku Hiroto, the master of The Foot Clan, who now rules what used to be known as New York City. As Michaelangelo dismantles the security every step of the way, he gets closer to Hiroto’s lair, as Hiroto uses every contingency to delay Michaelangelo’s progress. By the issue’s end, before Michaelangelo can get any further, he gets badly injured, by Hiroto’s security, and gets aided by an old friend.

The comic is an expanded first issue. It not only comes with the excellent story but now also features notes about the comic itself. Expanded material features script information, sketches for characters, and rough page layouts. They add to the depth and excitement of the series.

Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Director’s Cut #1 is a timely yet worthy story added to TMNT’s canon, while this edition, gives fans a peak into the creative teams’ process, and more than elevates the franchise. The story by the creative team is harrowing and powerful. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, probably one of the best books of 2020, and with this edition, gets the Criterion Collection treatment for comic books.

Story:  Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz Script: Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman
Layouts: Kevin Eastman Pencils/inks: Esau Escorza, Isaac Escorza Page 39 art: Ben Bishop
Colors: Luis Antonio Delgado Color Assistance: Samuel Plata Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow Additional Editorial coordination: R.G. Llarena
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.8 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: Zeus Comics

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #2 Delivers IDW’s Highest Comic Print Run Ever

Building on the success of its highly-anticipated first issue, IDW Publishing has announced that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #2 has achieved an astounding new milestone: the largest print run for a single comic book in the company’s 22-year history, with over 130,000 copies printed!

Out in comic shops today, The Last Ronin #2, set in a dark possible future for the TMNT, delves deeper into the tragic history of the last surviving Turtle, and delivers one of the most heartrending scenes in TMNT history: the final moments of a beloved character! Longtime TMNT fans and newcomers to the comics alike will not want to miss this new chapter’s twists and turns as The Ronin’s mission of vengeance becomes all the more clear.

In anticipation of a rapid sell-through of issue #2’s first printing, IDW has already committed to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #2 Second Printing featuring new cover artwork illustrated by the Escorza brothers. Slated for release on March 31st, the Second Printing is now listed via Diamond for retailer pre-order (Item Code: DEC209476, UPC 82771401991900212).

Three decades in the making, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin is based on an unpublished 1987 story concept by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird; with script by Eastman and Tom Waltz; layouts by Eastman; pencils and inks by Esau EscorzaIsaac Escorza, and Ben Bishop; colors by Luis Antonio Delgado, and letters by Shawn Lee.

The Last Ronin is a five-part comic book miniseries shipping quarterly, with each oversized issue measuring 7” x 11” and 48 pages in length. The high demand for issue #1 has led to multiple printings and over 200,000 copies in the market. A special 64-page Director’s Cut edition will be released on March 17th, including the full story from issue #1 plus bonus content (character designs, script pages, and much more).

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Gets a Director’s Cut

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1 Director’s Cut

The debut issue of the epic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin is one of the biggest comic events of 2020 with more than 180,000 copies in print! IDW Publishing is releasing a special behind-the-scenes look at the creation of this instant classic with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1 Director’s Cut, due to hit stores in March 2021.

Featuring never-before seen layouts from Kevin Eastman, story notes that date back decades, character designs, script pages, and much more, the Director’s Cut delves deep into the lore of The Last Ronin’s future New York City, where a lone surviving Turtle goes on a seemingly hopeless mission to obtain justice for his fallen family and friends. This 64-page special issue is a must-have for any TMNT aficionado who wants to discover the story behind the story!

Originally an unpublished 1987 story concept from the minds of TMNT co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter LairdThe Last Ronin took shape as a comic book miniseries in 2020 with a script by Tom Waltz; layouts by Eastman; pencils and inks by Esau EscorzaIsaac Escorza, and Ben Bishop; and colors by Luis Antonio Delgado.

In addition to the news of issue #1’s Director’s Cut, IDW is announcing the revised on-sale date for the next eagerly-awaited chapter of TMNT: The Last Ronin. Issue #2 will be available on February 17th, with a story that reveals more dark secrets of The Ronin’s past and sets him on a path alongside an unexpected new ally.

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1

Spoiler warning: This review contains mild spoilers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1

Sometime in the future, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are no more! Decimated by a third-generation foe, one turtle has survived and seeks his revenge. This is the tale of The Last Ronin, who travels a futuristic New York and stops at nothing and no one to avenge his fallen family. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1 is the highly-anticipated reunion of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. You might have seen this reunion hinted at on Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us. I know I was excited about this book.  I have very few complaints about The Last Ronin. Let’s get the good stuff out of the way first.

It’s an exciting story, fast-paced, gritty, and heavy on the action. We don’t know yet how Splinter and the Turtles died and it’s not necessary for the first issue to show all of its cards yet. Instead, this issue focuses on our survivor and how there are not many obstacles that will stop his justice. It’s a bit difficult to get too much into who the Ninja Turtle is but I figured it out really quick and I feel like the reader will, too. And in saying that, there’s a tiny amount of hardship in talking about this book without taking away the surprise from those experiencing it. I was very happy that the one I wanted to be the surviving Turtle was the one who stars in it and it ends up feeling like the best-case scenario. And no lie: it’s great to know that Eastman and Laird were able to both come back for another TMNT project. Eastman has always been here but both creators have history, maybe had too much, but it’s good to see them going all-out with this project.

Stories like this always run the risk of being pretty much worthless and just throwing a ton of future versions of legacy characters at the hero. I don’t know what the next few issues are going to be like but I don’t see new versions of all of the big bads being represented. Visually, I think it looks great for a TMNT book. Not knocking previous artists who have worked on the various Ninja Turtles books, but Eastman and Co.’s art style fits perfectly with the story. The colors are on-point and the lettering isn’t blocking anything critical. I liked the art more than the writing, but not by much.

My negatives would be that it’s so action-packed that it almost feels like a fight for nearly the entire issue. Having read this issue twice, I’m just not sure how to feel about it. It just seems like at some point in The Last Ronin that one issue is going to have the burden of explaining a lot about what went down. Another thing is that there’s a feeling that I’ve seen this play out before in other books. It doesn’t reek of 100% originality. The Last Ronin really feels like the Turtles are back to their original inspirations and it has a bit of a Dark Knight Returns feel to it. I’m actually trying hard to be overly critical because of how I felt about this. Maybe I’m being nit-picky.

Point blank reaction: I enjoyed the hell out of this book. I’ve started reading through IDW Publishing’s TMNT books and while I haven’t read it all, The Last Ronin reads like one hell of a sendoff. I do wonder how hard this will be to actually get. Word is the print run was cut short and some shops think their full orders won’t be filled. There are also around 70 variants out there for this book. This is definitely a read but I think it’s good enough to purchase. I feel like a lifetime of enjoying the various incarnations of the TMNT, whether it’s been comics, cartoons, or movies, has prepared me for this moment where they are down to one against all the evil in the world. Maybe it’s cliche but The Last Ronin is an absolute blast.

Story:  Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz Script: Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman
Layouts: Kevin Eastman Pencils/inks: Esau
Escorza, Isaac Escorza Page 39 art: Ben Bishop
Colors: Luis Antonio Delgado Color Assistance: Samuel Plata Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow Additional Editorial coordination: R.G. Llarena
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindle

Preview: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Macro Series

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Macro Series

Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, Paul Allor, Sophie Campbell, Ian Flynn (w) • Sophie Campbell, Brahm Revel, Michael Dialynas, Ben Bishop (a) • David Petersen (c)

First, Donatello understands that more is at stake than his brothers realize and in order to prepare for the coming conflict, Don will aim to repair his relationship with his mentor, Harold… and his malicious robotic counterpart, Metalhead! Then, Michelangelo’s deteriorating relationship with his father, Splinter, reaches a point of no return! Will Mikey fight those he loves to save those who need him the most? Next, Leonardo seeks refuge in Northampton, but danger follows—in the form of Koya and Karai! An epic throwdown will result in Leo making a drastic decision that will quickly alter the course of TMNT history! And finally, Raphael is pushed to his breaking point as he is separated from his brothers and forced to endure an onslaught from the nefarious Bishop unlike anything he has experienced in the past!

TPB • FC • $29.99 • 188 pages • ISBN: 978-1-68405-483-1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Macro Series

Check out a New Trailer for Canto, Out this June from David M. Booher, Drew Zucker, and IDW Publishing

In a world where love is forbidden and hope seems lost for a race of enslaved tin people, a new hero must emerge to save the life of the one he loves. His name is Canto and he is the star of his own eponymous all-ages comic series arriving June 26.

Inspired by the cinematic scope of such fantasy classics like The Wizard of Oz and Labyrinth, co-creators David M. Booher and Drew Zucker invite you into a beautiful new world filled with heroism, hidden danger, adventure, and wondrous landscapes.

Canto is written by Booher with art by Zucker, colors by Vittorio Astone, letters by Deron Bennett, with covers by an array of talent including Nick RoblesMorgan BeemJorge CoronaPhillip SevyBen Bishop, and Roberta Ingranata.

Check out this trailer which perfectly captures our hero’s quest and the world he inhabits.

Valiant Hightails It to NC Comiccon 2018 with Exclusives, Panels, and More!

In just a few short weeks, Valiant will once again return to the great state of North Carolina for NC Comicon 2018, a spectacular celebration of comics, pop culture, and fandom!

From Friday, November 9th to Sunday, November 11th, start your journey at Booth #A001-A002 inside the Durham Convention Center and discover why Valiant is one of the most talked-about publishers in the comic industry! Check out a vast selection of trade paperbacks and hardcovers collecting Valiant’s critically acclaimed titles!

While you’re at the convention, be sure to check out the Bloodshot Rising Spirit #1 NC Comicon 2018 Variant Cover at the Official NC Comicon Merchandise Booth #1004! Created by a brutal brain trust of comic elites that includes Kevin GreviouxLonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson, and artist Ken Lashley, the definitive origin story of Valiant’s walking weapon of war, Bloodshot, can now be told in this brand-new prequel series – featuring exclusive never-before-seen cover art by Ben Bishop!

Plus: Make sure you put these upcoming panels on your calendar so you don’t miss a second of what Valiant has in store for NC Comicon!

First, learn about the ins and outs of comic book creation on Saturday, November 10th at 1 pm ET in Cinema One with Valiant: The Craft of Comics! From the award-winning industry veterans behind the Valiant Universe’s greatest hits, find out just what it takes to put together a compelling story from start to finish, how to make your series stand apart, and how the editorial process functions at the highest levels – featuring New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt!

Then, the excitement continues on Sunday, November 11th at 2pm ET in the Connie Moses Ballroom with Valiant 101 And Beyond! New to the Valiant Universe? With Valiant’s all-new and exciting “BEYOND” initiative in full swing, there’s never been a better time to become a fan! Jump on board right here with a concise and fun-filled introduction to the origins of Valiant’s greatest and most iconic heroes, complete with suggestions of where to start reading. Plus, check out the new titles in the “BEYOND” slate, along with sneak peeks of other upcoming books!

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