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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

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

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

(W) Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz (A/CA) Kevin Eastman, Esau Escorza, Issac Escorza
In Shops: Mar 17, 2021
SRP: $10.99

TMNT: The Last Ronin was one of the biggest books of 2020 and now it returns with a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of this instant classic! Featuring never-before seen layouts from Eastman, story notes that date back decades, character designs, script pages and more, this is a must have for any TMNT fan who wants to discover the story behind the story!

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

Around the Tubes

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #2

The weekend is almost here! What geeky things will you all be doing? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for the weekday to end and weekend to begin, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Kotaku – Marvel’s Avengers Adds ‘What Am I Doing With My Life’ Armor – Still playing this game?

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Take a galactic load off at REST AREA 51 – Free comics!

Reviews

Collected Editions – Blue Beetle Vol. 3: Road to Nowhere
Comic Attack – Slightly Exaggerated #1
Comic Attack – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #2

Around the Tubes

Savage #1

How was everyone’s weekend? What geeky things were you all up to? Sound off in the comments below! While you get your week started, here’s some comic related news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Atomic Junk Shop – Strop: a new Croatian comics anthology – This could be cool to check out.

Tech Xplore – A system that automatically generates comic books from movies and other videos – That’s intriguing.

Reviews

Collected Editions – Aquaman Vol. 4: Echoes of a Life Lived Well
Comic Attack – Savage #1
Comics Bulletin – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #2

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).

Preview: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #2 (of 5)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #2 (of 5)

(W) Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz (A) Kevin Eastman (A/CA) Esau Escorza, Issac Escorza
In Shops: Feb 17, 2021
SRP: $8.99

Secrets are revealed as we begin to discover what happened in the past to lead to this nightmarish future. The Ronin meets an unexpected new ally but the Foot Clan begins an exhaustive sweep of the Bottom to find the vengeful mutant. And what role does Baxter Stockman play?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #2 (of 5)

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.

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.

Around the Tubes

Black Widow: Widow's Sting #1

It’s a new week and while we’re focused on the election in the United States tomorrow, we’re still going to bring you lots of comic news and reviews. We’re kicking that off with our morning roundup of news from around the web and so much more to come today and this week!

How to Love Comics – Your Easy Guide To The Witcher Comics – If you’re interested in hopping into the comics after the television show or video games.

Kotaku – Joe Biden Has A Fortnite Island Now – Intriguing. Not sure how much of an impact so close to the election but it’s definitely a fascinating decision and something to watch.

Kotaku – Spider-Man: Miles Morales Has An Into The Spider-Verse Suit – Who’s getting this game when it comes out?

Reviews

CBR – Black Widow: Widow’s Sting #1
NPR – Blue in Green
Atomic Junk Shop – Dragman
Collected Editions – Flash Forward
Hollywood Soapbox – Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter
The Hashtag Show – Power Rangers: Sins of the Future
Comic Attack – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1
Flickering Myth – Trick ‘r Treat Omnibus
Talking Comics – X of Swords: Stasis #1

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 10/31

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Heavy #2 (Vault Comics) – Max Bemis, Eryk Donovan, and Cris Peter’s Heavy #2 is violent, disgusting, and honestly, pretty fucking funny. It’s also filled with penises. This issue introduces the unlikely partnership of our protagonist, Bill, and Slim, the psychopathic assassin that was responsible for his and his girlfriend’s death as they both try to get out of the Big Wait by killing terrible human beings as “Heavies”. Bemis and Donovan continue to spoof toxic masculinity by having Bill and Slim beat the shit out of each other naked with rapidly changing art styles until they calm down and get to business. Whereas Bill tries to at least follow the Geneva Convention on his missions, Slim mows down everything in his path with manic glee, and his supervisors don’t really care. Slim is also pansexual, and it’s nice to have a queer character in a comic that isn’t shoehorned into a “role model” situation and can be a total asshole even if Bemis gives him some funny lines. Finally, what makes Heavy #2 a great comic is that Max Bemis and Eryk Donovan constantly are trying to top themselves in the sex and the violence department (Emphasis on the sex for once), and the third act of this comic is super gross, yet super funny with a decent cliffhanger. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

X of Swords: Stasis (Marvel) – X of Swords Stasis is the moody middle chapter in this crossover event. Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard, Pepe Larraz, Mahmud Asrar, and Marte Gracia use this issue to further develop the denizens of Otherworld (Who have been hinted at in various data pages) and give readers a deeper glimpse into the personalities and abilities of the Arakki. (Pogg-Ur-Pogg is my favorite.) Larraz and Asrar do a good job of alternating between close quarters conversations and epic character designs and violent landscapes as some of the pages make Death Metal look like a yacht rock album cover. Of course, I don’t have as much of a connection with the Arraki as I do with the X-Men, but Hickman and Howard do a good job making their opponents more than cool-looking action figures. And they wrap things up with a high energy conversation between Apocalypse and Saturnyne that puts the entire event into perspective. The poses that Pepe Larraz and Mahmud Asrar draw are both passive-aggressive and melodramatic and work well with Jonathan Hickman and Tini Howard’s razor-sharp dialogue. If I wasn’t before, I am ready for some sword-wielding mutants to throw down. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

The Autumnal #2 (Vault) – Daniel Kraus, Chris Shehan, and Jason Wordie craft a slow burn rural horror-meets-family drama story in The Autumnal #2. Kraus’ pacing is pitch-perfect as our protagonist, neck tattoo sporting/ex-rocker-turned single mom Kat goes from being distrustful and snarky toward the “neighborliness” of the people of the town she’s moved in to embracing as her daughter Sybil plays in leaves with some kids across the street. But, nope, life in Autumnal doesn’t work like that, and Kat and Sybil are still outsiders and feared/shunned by the other residents of the town. Wordie embraces fall colors for the most part with his palette, and like Kat and Sybil in the story, lulls readers into a false sense of security before unleashing the reds and blacks of a horror comics. Line art-wise, Shehan evokes the soft, easy to follow rural calm of Jeff Lemire’s creator-owned work, but goes loose and harsh any time Kat feels insecure about her new town or being a single mom. Form and content really complement each other in Autumnal #2, and Daniel Kraus and Chris Shehan always keep the fun, authentic-feeling relationship between Kat and Sybil at the forefront even as they go weirder with the plot. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Brett

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1 (IDW Publishing) – After a lot of anticipation and a wait, we finally get to see what the Last Ronin is all about. One Turtle remains, with his brothers and mentor having been wiped out. Which Turtle is it? Who did it? It’s all here! The story is pretty simple, one of revenge, with a setting and style that feels like TMNT’s take on The Dark Knight Returns. That’s not a bad thing at all as it fits really well and keeps the story to a simplistic revenge tale. That simplicity helps in some ways keeping the story focused on the action and for readers to keep guessing as to which Turtle they’re reading about and what happened. This is definitely going to become a classic if it keeps up this quality. It’s a comic that lives up to the hype. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

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