Macro Series - Leonardo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3 Review
•Megan Brown (Assistant Editor) • Bobby Curnow (Group Editor)
Full Disclosure, when I write a review or upload a video for the Youtube channel I usually go back and forth between reading the popular comic I'm supposed to be reading for the week and something else that has either been languishing in my backlog or that I've been putting aside that I know will be interesting for me to read.
Yesterday my review was for Heroes in Crisis #4, which turned out to be a dud and today I read the Leonardo Macro series that I had been sitting on for awhile.
The latter issue as expected turned out to be the superior comic. Sadly however, it will never get the same amount of attention as DC's major event. Not enough readers even know that the IDW TMNT line is one of the best lines of comics on the shelves today.
This story group honestly gives me hope for what the industry could look like if it wasn't so beholden to the juggernauts of Marvel and DC but I digress.
This issue is beautiful from the beginning from to its conclusion and in my opinion, is a masterpiece stunningly presented by Sophie Campbell who provides the art and story and Brittany Peer who provides the colors for the issue.
The story takes a hard look at Leonardo and it quickly becomes clear that Sophie has a genuine affection for this character. It focuses on his role as big brother and his responsibilities as Leader of Clan Hamato. It also gives us insight into Leonardo's thoughts and feelings about Splinter and the strain of his affiliation with the Foot Clan. The issue also delves heavily into Leo's personal motivations and what he wants for the future of his family.
Leonardo is the most traditional ninja of the group and bears the weight of currently being the surrogate father and big brother for his siblings. This puts Leo under constant strain because under the warrior's veneer he's still a kid. A kid bearing all of the titles and responsibilities of a much older man. He'd much rather have some semblance of a normal life rather than constantly being on guard prepared for the next emerging crisis.
After ending a failed meditation session with his brothers Leo leaves to take a break and decides to continue his session alone. After which he is almost immediately attacked by Koya. Koya is a mutant that comes in the form of a giant bird. She gets the better of him pinning him to the ground under her talons and snatching his mask off. Before she delivers the killing blow Leo asks her what's next? He tells her that she won only because he was distracted and that he wasn't giving the fight his all. This gives Koya pause and she lets him up.
They begin chatting and Leonardo makes the connection that if Koya is back, Karai must be back as well. She tells Leo that she came back to take what she wanted and asks him what he wants. His thoughts go to his brothers. Koya gets up to leave as Karai and the rest of her crew show up.
Leo immediately pulls his weapon and they get into a brief skirmish that ends with his katana being destroyed. She reveals that she is back to take back the Foot Clan. Leonardo tells her that he will not stand in her way and that he just wants his father back. They agree to a truce based on the condition that she allow his family the space to leave peacefully.
With this, the rest of the turtles arrive and get into a brief skirmish with Karai before Leo shuts things down. Karai's forces walk away and the guys decide to hang out the rest of the day. As the turtles walk away Koya drops Leo's mask from a tree above and flies away. The turtles spend the rest of the day together and this reveals what ultimately drives Leonardo, his family...
I stated earlier that this is a beautiful issue. It really drives home some key aspects of Leonardo's character that you won't see in the regular issue format. Leo's ultimate goal is to protect his family and for them to be together and save. No child should be under the sort of pressure that Leonardo is under at all times. It's really sad that he has to make life or death decisions all the time at such a young age.
We rarely get to see Leonardo in a state of peace so it was nice to see him get a respite even briefly. The art from Sophie has a serene quality that drives the key elements of the story and the familial themes of the series. She's also able to pack a lot of emotions into single panels that translate the inner thoughts of the characters without thought balloons or internal narration. The regular series is pushing 100 issues and has been theoretically been running in real time. This means that our heroes have been running from crisis to crisis with few exceptions.
This issue is also special because if you haven't read it then you won't have any idea that the truce has been made when it eventually becomes a plot point in the regular series.
You also wouldn't have seen Karai's journey to Japan if you hadn't been following her story arc in TMNT Universe. The TMNT line of stories is incredibly layered with great writers, artists and probably the strongest editorial direction of any line of comics being produced today.
It's pretty obvious that Leo's plan won't turn out the way he expects. I think this is driven home in the scene where The guys are walking away and Koya throw's Leo his mask. The threat will always be there behind them.
I feel that there is a tragedy brewing for these characters. At the time of this writing, Shredder is slated to return. Agent Bishop and the Earth Protection Force are still a threat. The Rat King is still in the shadows and an increasing number of mutants are showing up all the time. I'd be very surprised if the series doesn't lose a major character soon especially with 100 issue milestone coming soon.
This was an amazing ride and is a must read even if I spoiled a bulk of the plot points It needs to be experienced, Sophie and Co deserve all the praise in the world for putting this story together and on the strength of this issue, I'm going to check out some of her other work. This issue is quite simply, perfection.