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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: Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming

Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming

For those of us who live far away from where we were born, going back home can be a surreal experience. As we get older, we often have feelings of trepidation and nostalgia when something reminds us of that place. Many memories of why you left home in the first place are part of that internal consternation. We also are reminded of the things and people who are only in that place you came from.

Every time I have been home to New York I’m reminded of growing up there including both good memories and bad memories. I still call it home, even after being away from it for 25 years. What holds true is that every time you go back it feels different every single time. In Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming, our protagonist goes home but to some unexpected reactions.

In “Tatami”, we find Usagi going back home to the North Province of Tatami, a place he had not been for a very long time, and he is flooded by memories of why he left in the first place, and where he and Chizu protect a valuable transport for the Lord who killed his master, a journey the Neko Ninja Clan looks to foil, but not without a fight from our protagonist, Chizu, and the vassals. In “Mon”, Usagi meets resistance in Tatami and finds trouble in those still bitter from a war long ago, where Usagi lets them meet their ends. In the last story“ The Return”, we find Usagi soon after he defeats the samurai in Tatami, where he ends in his home village and meets some old friends, but their reunion is cut short, when a band of ronin looks to avenge their master, but not before Usagi, his Sensei, and his friends defend their homes.

Overall, Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming is an excellent collection of stories that proves Sakai still has many tales to tell. The stories by Sakai are exciting. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, this set of tales proves why everyone should read Usagi Yojimbo.

Story: Stan Sakai Art: Stan Sakai, Shawn Lee, Tom Luth, and Peach Momoko
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

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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


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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).

Review: Scarenthood #4

Scarenthood #4

Scarenthood has been a fun read from the start. It takes the “ghost hunting” genre and delivers a spin. Instead of younger individuals figuring things out, the comic has focused on a group of parents brought together because their children go to the same school. Scarenthood is a horror story for daycare crowd. Scarenthood #4 wraps up the first story arc of the series and has me wanting more.

With a daughter not too much younger than the kids in the comic, the series by Nick Roche is very relatable to me. Roche not only delivers creep chills but breaks them up with those small moments that make parenting interesting and very fun at times.

Scarenthood #4 has the group confronting the ghost/demon that has been plaguing them and hints at some of the bigger themes of the comic. The haunting is tied to the lack of attention being given by the parents and there’s some solid commentary about our busy lives that have divided our parenting attention. It definitely hit me a bit reading that and then reflecting on the time spent with my daughter and wondering if it’s enough to prevent demonic interference. But that reflection is a small piece of this comic.

Scarenthood #4 ends the first “book” of the series and opens up a greater world. The series has hinted at greater forces at work and this is the issue that really begins to explore that. A simple horror/ghost story is something so much more now and where this all goes should be very interesting.

Roche’s art continues to be solid. Chris O’Halloran provides color and Shawn Lee does the lettering. The comic never quite goes full horror which might be a distraction from the attempt “ground” the series in some ways. While it deals with the supernatural, the comic also focuses on parenting and a more hardcore horror style would distract from that. As is, the comic delivers a nice balance of creep. It doesn’t go for scares, it’s more focused on building tension and unease. It succeeds in that and then some as the comic progresses.

Scarenthood #4 is a solid end to the first arc and a hell of a setup for where things go from here. Its world has expanded from a compact horror comic to something much greater. Where our group of parents fits into that should be fascinating and it’s a world I want to see more of. The team has done an excellent job of balancing the every day life and the fantastical and combination has created a comic that truly stands out.

Story: Nick Roche Art: Nick Roche
Color: Chris O’Halloran Letterer: Shawn Lee
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #113

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #113

I think one thing that’s pretty fascinating about TMNT is that the story is kinda blowing my mind. So much of what we see with the Ninja Turtles is a group fighting for survial. That’s been the same from the various cartoons and movies that my kids watch. Right now in the comics we have a variety of mutated individuals in their own community, Mutant Town. They’re pulling together to make life better. And that’s where we are with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #113.

In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #113, the core four plus Jennika are training younger mutants. It all gets crazy when Lita arrives from the future. Lita knows too much of what will transpireand how life will change if changes aren’t made. And there’s still the fact that Rahzar and Tokka are out there on the streets after a botched pick-up from Karai and the gang.

I’m totally digging the look of TMNT. Sophie Campbell’s art rocks on this book. It gives it a look that I feel is a lot like Kevin Eastman’s pencils, visuals that are traditional to the team that created the Ninja Turtles. Ronda Pattinson’s colors are great. I’ve started reading the early IDW issues and while the stories are good, I wasn’t impressed much with the art or colors. I’m glad that we are where we are now. Story-wise, I’m not sure what part of the creative team is more responsible for where the story is heading but I’m liking it a lot.

Right now, I am digging what’s going on in the world of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, at least, I’m digging the publishing side of what IDW is offering. Between this and The Last Ronin mini-series, they are putting out some high-quality stories featuring the TMNT. From this issue and the deluxe editions that I’ve picked up, this isn’t the cartoon and that’s actually a good thing because I feel these stories really do speak to more than just kids.

Story Consulting: Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz Story: Sophie Campbell Art: Sophie Campbell
Colors: Ronda Pattinson Letters: Shawn Lee Editor: Bobby Curnow
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.5

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Review: Scarenthood #3

Scarenthood #3

Scarenthood has delivered a bit of a twist on the horror ghost gang concept. Instead of kids or young adults, it’s parents attempting to solve the mystery. The first two issues have upped the tension and creepy factor teasing the horror that’s just on the edge. There’s been a solid build-up and teasing of things. Scarenthood #3 twists all of that, questioning everything from the first two issues.

Writer Nick Roche, who also handles art, delivers another fantastic issue. For much of it, I was questioning what was real. Was it possible everything up to this point was a person’s mental breakdown? We thankfully get that answered within the issue. I’m not sure I could stand that dragging out much longer as I wanted to know the answer! It’s a great issue in that it had me second-guessing myself and what I thought to be “true” in the comic.

Roche delivers a lot of emotion in the issue as well. There’s a concern for Cormac and his daughter. As a father myself much of what is written is something I think about. I want to make sure I care for my daughter and that she’s healthy, happy, and safe. But at the same time, there’s a balance and that balance can easily be tipped too far one way or another. That’s what’s addressed here as Cormac’s obsession with the supernatural and its impact on his life is clear.

The issue also approaches this all in a smart way. It does a cold open in a way and I was left wondering if I’d had missed something. It focuses on the rest of the gang and their concern for Cormac and what they’ve witnessed. The approach is part of what threw me for a loop and kept me wondering what exactly was going on. Is Cormac losing his mind? Is his daughter in danger? What happened to his wife? Is this all in his head?

Roche handles art duties as well. He’s joined by Chris O’Halloran on color and Shawn Lee handles lettering. The art has a slight cartoonish quality about it all. But, even with that style, it focuses on the emotion. We can see the concern in Cormac’s friends. We can see their anger as well. Cormac himself delivers a spectrum of responses as he delivers his reality to his friends. It adds to the emotional punch of it all. It also helped keep me guessing as to what the truth of it all was.

Scarenthood #3 is a fantastic issue. For those reading the series, it’ll keep you guessing as to what the reality is. Is this all in Cormac’s head? Is this one person’s mental breakdown? Thankfully, the team delivers an answer because I’m not sure I could stand another month to find out. For those that like horror stories with a slight twist, this is one to definitely check out.

Story: Nick Roche Art: Nick Roche
Color: Chris O’Halloran Letterer: Shawn Lee
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Atlantis Wasn’t Built for Tourists #4

Atlantis Wasn’t Built for Tourists #4 wraps up the series following much of what’s expected from the genre but delivering just enough to keep the readers on their toes.

Story: Eric Palicki
Art: Wendell Cavalcanti
Color: Mark Dale
Letterer: Shawn Lee

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Zeus Comics
Scout Comics

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Review: Scarenthood #2

Scarenthood #2

Is it weird that after reading the first two issues of Scarenthood I wish I had a group of ghost hunting friends? Scarenthood #2 continues the Irish ghost/horror series as the pressure of balancing the hunt and their duties as parents clash.

As a parent of a two-year-old, writer and artist Nick Roche captures so much of the life. There’s the silly conversations. There’s the difficulty of life and work balance. There are just so many small details that I appreciate as a parent.

But, what Roche does even better is the build up of the mystery. After the first issue’s “wtf” moments, Scarenthood #2 dials things back a little using subtly creepy aspects to build the tension and weirdness. There’s lost time and the build up of dread. The way it’s all presented it creates a tension that is felt off the page. This is a horror story where I have no idea what will happen.

Scarenthood #2 takes some solid queues from past horror stories where it’s not about jump out scares but the build-up. Films like the Blair Witch Project come to mind where the visuals and especially sound delivered the scares. Here, it’s walking down a tree-lined path where you, like the characters, have no idea what’s going to happen. That creates a tense situation for both. Roche, like horror masters, is controlling that tension and doing it really well.

Roche is helped by colorist Chris O’Halloran and letterer Shawn Lee. There’s some really smart decisions for both to help build the atmosphere that Roche is going for. Colors are on the drab side of things but not in a dark sort of way. There’s lots of browns and greens with a subtle use of dark colors to shift the situation. It’s really something to pay attention to and helps command the vibe of the comic. Lee’s lettering too packs a lot into panels as the parents deliver smartass comments back and forth and every so often deliver that needed exclamation point.

Scarenthood #2 is a solid horror/mystery series but from a perspective you don’t see a ton of. This isn’t some professional group or teens being stalked. This is a story of misfit parents attempting to solve a mystery like Gen-X Scooby-Doo. It delivers characters I, as a parent, can relate to and a story whose attention to detail creates a fantastic experience.

Story: Nick Roche Art: Nick Roche
Color: Chris O’Halloran Letterer: Shawn Lee
Story: 8.35 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1’s Second Printing Gets a 50,000 Print Run

With more than 37,000 current preorders and climbing, IDW Publishing has announced that high anticipation for the second printing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1 has necessitated a whopping 50,000-unit print run — the largest reprint quantity in the company’s history since their debut 20 years ago! Longtime TMNT readers and curious newcomers are invited to visit their local comic book shops tomorrow, December 2nd, to snag a copy of this comic book milestone!

An epic miniseries three decades in the making from the minds of TMNT co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter LairdTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin takes place in a future New York City far different from the one we know today, where a lone surviving Turtle goes on a seemingly hopeless mission to obtain justice for his fallen family and friends. The debut issue hit stands on October 28th, immediately selling out and prompting a new printing that features a re-colored cover by Eastman, Esau Escorza, and Isaac Escorza.

The Last Ronin is based on an unpublished 1987 story concept by Eastman and Laird, with script by Tom Waltz, layouts by Eastman, pencils and inks by Esau and Isaac Escorza, colors by Luis Antonio Delgado, letters by Shawn Lee, and edits by Bobby Curnow. The series will run for five issues, with each issue oversized at 7” x 11” and 48 pages in length.

Fans eagerly awaiting the next chapter in the TMNT: The Last Ronin storyline will be looking forward to the January 27th release date of issue #2! Secrets of this dark future will be revealed as The Ronin meets an unexpected new ally and the Foot Clan attempts to thwart his mission of vengeance.

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