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Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5

After a rather extended wait, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5 is finally here wrapping up the anticipated miniseries. The issue delivers a lot of action, wrapping things nicely, though in a rather predictable fashion. Will Michelangelo get revenge for the death of his family? Will the rebellion succeed?

The previous issue left us with a major blow against the fascist government and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5 kicks things off with the next steps and the anarchy that has spread due to the lack of power and lack of law enforcement. It’s not quite the rally the people feel I was expecting which has the comic delivering at least one surprise. It also helps add to the rather chaotic story that shows how unprepared the resistance was to deal with their oppressors.

The comic really bounces between three plots. There’s April who attempts to save her home from flooding due to the lack of power. There’s her daughter who bounces around not quite knowing what to do. Finally, there’s the Last Ronin seeking his revenge.

The first two plots feel like filler in some way. It gives each of these characters something to do and explains why they don’t help Mikey in his battle. That final battle is satisfying at times with some interesting twists though a few that feel familiar and been there in other stories. The conclusion too is a little predictable where things end. Overall, it’s a final piece of the story that wraps things up in a somewhat ok fashion.

That ok fashion extends to the art which lacks some of the flair and excitement from the previous issues. There’s a lot of action but much feels like odd poses and none of which is memorable. It feel rather anticlimactic in some ways. None of it is bad but there’s an excitement that just lacks at times. Cool moments don’t really come off as such instead just delivering beats and never really taking advantage to build up to anything. The exhaustion and difficulty of the battle is told more than shown leaving things disconnected between the visuals and dialogue.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5 isn’t a bad finale but it also doesn’t quite have the punch that’s expected. For a series that has been so good, it’s a little bit of a letdown. It does deliver a rather touching final moment but beyond that, this went from a series that was one of the best TMNT stories to just another miniseries that doesn’t stick the landing.

Story: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz Script: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Layouts: Kevin Eastman Pencils/Inks: Esau and Isaac Escorza, Ben Bishop, Kevin Eastman
Color Assistance: Samuel Plata Color: Luis Antonio Delgado, Ronda Pattison Letterer: Shawn Lee
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #3

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #3

What the hell happened to the Turtles and their allies? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #3 takes us into the past as April recounts the history and battle that left so many dead or wounded. It’s an interesting issue that in itself opens up even more questions about what’s presented. But, even so, it’s an engaging issue that answers questions and gets readers pumped for what’s to come.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #3 is a fascinating issue as it balances the past, present, and future. It does a fantastic job of devoting enough pages to each. The issue feels like a rarity that a story really delivers that perfect balance. It also brilliantly teases what was and what’s to come. We learn about the betrayal that led to the downfall of the Turtles and the control of the Clan. Through that, we’re presented with epic battles, last stands, and lots of tragedy. You can envision the animated sequences that would play out on the screen. It’s a hell of an issue that takes us through a tragic moment in the Turtles’ history. As a reader, you find yourself yelling at the page knowing what’s to come.

The art of the story is fantastic as usual. The amount of detail that builds the world is amazing. Each character is so unique. Each setting tells a story. The amount of weariness on so many is shown through every scar. The issue also throws back to the classic style of the TMNT comics in an unexpected twist that reminds us that the team behind the phenomenon is a part of this all. The visuals presented have epic all about them with scenes that feel like they should be on the big screen.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #3 is a hell of an issue. It shows us the Turtles that were, the Turtle that is, and the battle that is to come. It’s a comic that celebrates what was, is, and will be. There’s an epic nature about the issue that has to be experienced to really understand. This is a comic that’s pure love for the Turtle fans.

Story: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz Script: Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman
Layouts: Kevin Eastman Pencils: Esau Escorza, Isaac Escorza, Ben Bishop, Kevin Eastman
Ink: Esau Escorza, Isaac Escorza, Ben Bishop, Kevin Eastman
Color Assistance: Samuel Plata Color: Luis Antonio Delgado Letterer: Shawn Lee
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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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

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

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