Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #85 Review
Of all of the books that I read monthly the one that tends to have the best character development for its leads is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The series also has some of the best written & motivated villains of any ongoing series.
What's frustrating as a critic is that you see books constantly being rebooted and events coming and going. On the other hand, you have a series like TMNT chugging along and getting next to no attention from the mainstream comic press.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #85 is a great single issue. The turtles get a call from April regarding a disturbance at a museum. One of Baxter Stockman's mousers has been destroyed and when the turtles investigate, they find an injured security guard and Leatherhead. They try to reason with Leatherhead. The turtles offer friendship and understanding but he is besieged by visions of Krang. This initiates a PTSD event. Leatherhead was tortured by Krang for hundreds of years and although krang dead he's is still not over the trauma.
The visage belittles him relentlessly. As Leatherhead tries to destroy the vision he begins destroying the museum and accidentally injures Mikey. The turtles finally begin defending themselves and fight back. After being put down, Leatherhead escapes into the night still being tormented.
Tom Waltz kills it in this issue. Leatherhead isn't a bad guy. He's been driven mad by torture and the unnatural state of simply being a mutant. We also get cool moments between the turtles. Raph telling Leatherhead to get over himself because they all have issues was great. All of our mutants have experienced trauma but the difference between the turtles and most of the other mutants is that they have each other. This is what allows them to overcome their enemies.
They aren't the biggest or strongest but they have each other and as long as that remains the case they can overcome anything. In another life, they could have been just as damaged as Leatherhead.
I'm not a huge fan of the art style for the turtles this go around but it still works because Brahm Revel is a dynamic artist that can layout a fight scene. The art is has a lot of energy especially when the pace pics up. The fight/confrontation is appropriately epic. Although I have preferences for how my turtles look the art and colors here complement the writing well. This is a great team.