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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: The Last Ronin #1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1

(W) Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz (A/CA) Kevin Eastman, Esau Escorza, Issac Escorza
In Shops: Oct 28, 2020
SRP: $8.99

It’s the TMNT event of 2020! Springing from the minds of TMNT co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird comes an epic like you’ve never seen before! In a future NYC far different than the one we know today, a lone surviving Turtle goes on a seemingly hopeless mission to obtain justice for his fallen family and friends. Kinetic layouts from Eastman, inks from Esau and Isaac Escorza and a thrilling script full of surprises from longtime TMNT scribe Tom Waltz all combine to make this one of the most memorable TMNT stories you will ever read!

Oversized in both format and page count, this is a perennial TMNT tale that can’t be missed!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1

Preview: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 11

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 11

(W) Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz (A) Damian Couceiro, Brahm Revel, Dave Watcher (CA) Dan Duncan
In Shops: Oct 14, 2020
SRP: $59.99

Presenting the complete TMNT stories in recommended reading order, including one-shots, crossovers, and event series. Everything a beginner could need, everything a diehard could want. Collects Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe issues #16-22 and issues #76-84 of the ongoing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 11

Preview: Transformers vs. The Terminator #4 (of 4)

Transformers vs. The Terminator #4 (of 4)

(W) David Mariotte, John Barber, Tom Waltz (A) Alex Milne (CA) Gavin Fullerton
In Shops: Sep 30, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Up against an army of Decepticons, the T-800 must rely on his Autobot allies to even the odds. And, with luck, both sides will thin each other out for his last gambit to eliminate all Cybertronians. The fate of the future will be determined in this final battle, but will the ultimate victors be robotic… or human?

Transformers vs. The Terminator #4 (of 4)

Preview: Transformers vs. Terminator #3 (of 4)

Transformers vs. Terminator #3 (of 4)

(W) David Mariotte, John Barber, Tom Waltz (A) Alex Milne (CA) Gavin Fullerton
In Shops: Aug 19, 2020
SRP: $3.99

The T-800’s mission is simple: Exterminate the Cybertronians and ensure the future belongs to SKYNET. When Optimus Prime offers his aid, suggesting they go after Megatron together, the T-800 faces his toughest decision yet. Is the enemy of his enemy his friend, or just another threat to the mission?

Transformers vs. Terminator #3 (of 4)

Preview: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2020

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2020

(W) Tom Waltz (A/CA) Adam Gorham
In Shops: Jul 29, 2020
SRP: $5.99

The war is over. The Dragon is destroyed. The city is saved. But at what cost? Splinter is gone, the Turtles are in disarray, and the Shredder has returned. But all is not as it seems as the Turtles’ most-feared enemy struggles with this new opportunity to regain his honor. Meanwhile, a nearly decimated Foot Clan belongs to Karai, but can she truly rise to the task in the shadow of its greatest warrior? And how does a newly-changed Leatherhead fit into a post-mutation NYC?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2020

Preview: Transformers vs. Terminator #2 (of 4)

Transformers vs. Terminator #2 (of 4)

(W) David Mariotte, John Barber, & Tom Waltz (A) Alex Milne (CA) Gavin Fullerton
In Shops: Jun 24, 2020
SRP: $3.99

The T-800, last hope of his kind, has travelled back to 1984 to destroy the Cybertronians before they can awaken and subjugate his future. But when the Ark systems start to bring the Autobots and Decepticons back online, what will he do against two armies? It’s up to one Terminator to save the future and nothing’s gonna stand in his way!

Transformers vs. Terminator #2 (of 4)

Preview: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #105

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #105

(W) Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman, Sophie Campbell (A/CA) Sophie Campbell
In Shops: Jun 24, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Music, mayhem, and most importantly: family. The TMNT all return to NYC and begin to see a path forward for themselves in Mutant Town. The conclusion to Sophie Campbell’s first ongoing story arc ends with heart and isn’t to be missed!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #105

Preview: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Road to 100 Deluxe Edition

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Road to 100 Deluxe Edition

Tom Waltz (Author) Kevin Eastman (Artist) Dave Wachter (Cover Artist) Michael Dialynas (Artist) Mateus Santolouco (Artist) Dan Duncan (Artist) Cory Smith (Artist)

Concluding the epic “City At War” storyline, issue #100 brings nearly eight years of action-packed continuity by TMNT co-creater Kevin Eastman and series co-writer Tom Waltz to its dramatic finale. Featuring art by Dan Duncan, Dave Wachter, Sophie Campbell, Mateus Santolouco, and more.

But that’s not all. In addition to the landmark issue, join TMNT scholar Patrick Ehlers for a review of the road to 100 issues through an in-depth look at everything that came before. This authoritative study of IDW’s TMNT continuity is the perfect companion for such a notable comic book milestone, bringing the story into sharp focus for new fans or readers that have been there since the start.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Road to 100 Deluxe Edition

The Last Ronin Takes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Into a Dark Future

Springing from a lost 1987 storyline by TMNT co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, the much-anticipated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin will be available this summer from IDW Publishing in an epic oversized five-issue miniseries!

In a future New York City far different from the one we know today, a lone surviving Turtle goes on a seemingly hopeless mission to obtain justice for his fallen family and friends. Kinetic layouts from Eastman, atmospheric inks from Andy Kuhn, and a thrilling script full of surprises from longtime TMNT scribe Tom Waltz all combine to make this one of the most memorable TMNT stories that fans will ever read.

In his own words, Kevin Eastman reflects on the conception of this important TMNT milestone:

About ten years ago, I re-discovered a twenty page outline for a TMNT story that Peter and I wrote together back in 1987. The story was set thirty years in the future, which (as written then) was set in 2017. Reading through it again, I drifted back to a very different time in TMNT history — back when it was all about the comics, mostly just Peter and I writing and drawing the issues, pre-everything the world would soon come to know about these characters that we’d created and called the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

It has been an INCREDIBLE thirty-six year journey, thanks to the brilliant talents of so many that brought new visions and TMNT stories to life, and especially the fans who supported all of them. Nine years ago, I was invited back into the TMNT comic universe, via my friends at IDW Publishing. Aside from the original run with my friend and co-creator Peter Laird, working on the IDW TMNT universe has been the best time I have had with the Turtles for a very, VERY long time.

A little over a year ago, as the ongoing series headed towards issue one hundred, I showed a rough revised and updated version of the story outline (now set in the year 2040) to Tom Waltz, who equally fell in love with the possibilities of it. The Last Ronin is a heartfelt love poem to all the TMNT universes of the past, and offers up an intense look at one possible future — firmly based on and adapted from an original thirty-three year-old idea, from the original creators.

Trust me — Tom, Andy, and I have just started on a two-hundred page journey… and it IS going to be one HELL of a ride…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1 will be available with multiple cover variants for retailers and fans to enjoy, including Cover A by Kevin Eastman and two Retailer Incentive editions by Eastman and Mateus Santolouco. Each issue is a blockbuster 48 pages and 7.5×11 trim size!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1
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