Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #96 Review - How will Splinter Get out of this Alive...
• IDW (Publisher) • Recommend (Yes)
I figured that this book would be more of a filler issue. It's not filler to the point that the comic is inconsequential, but the action has definitely been dialed back. Last month ended on the huge cliffhanger and reveal that Jennika, long time agent of the Foot Clan has been mutated into a mutant Turtle.
I wish I could make a big deal about the new Turtle, but I can't. In-universe there's no time, and the Turtles need to move. I'm pretty sure we're going to get a decompressed issue down the line that gives the character and event's the space it needs. I pretty sure this is coming with Sophie Campbell being announced as the new writer for the series. She's one of the best character writers that has been attached to this series since its inception.
Even with the change, the Turtles have even larger hurdles in front of them. With Jennika being out of immediate danger the turtles still have to deal with Metal Head, The Earth Protection Force, Old Hob's bullshit, and Karai's machinations.
Splinter is shown to be increasingly ruthless in dealing with his enemies and his actions are a sharp contrast to his sons with one caveat. His behavior reminds me of an aged Raph more so than any other. This may lead to a pretty ugly conclusion for the character unless there's a timely intervention next issue.
One of the points driven home in this arc is that Splinter may be on the side of the Turtles but he is no hero. He may be just as Karai at the end of the day.
There are a lot of moments that will have huge implications for the series going forward. Some play out here others will develop as the series goes on. Jennika gets a heart-wrenching scene with Casey that effectively ends their potential romance and we also check in with most of the other principal characters of the arc.
The issue ends with a massive confrontation between Karai's forces and The Foot Clan, with Splinter being completely isolated from his top lieutenants. Things don't look good for Splinter going into the next issue, stay tuned.
The art here is more subdued here than in prior issues. With the pace slowed down the issue isn't as exciting to read or look at. I'm starting to believe that Michael Dialynas is the go too guy for the issues that focus on character development.
That's not to say the art is bad but it's not as exciting as the previous three issues which operated at a breakneck pace. Mike seems to get the beginning of the action sequences and the clean-up issues. I'm not sure why. He drew one of my favorite TMNT stories last year with the Michaelangelo Macro-Series, which featured a full-on fight between Splinter and Mikey. It's not like he can't put a fight sequence together.
City at War is currently one of the best arcs of the series. It also appears that more casualties may be looming. We'll see how the story develops next month.