Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #102 Review - Grief Counseling Needed A.S.A.P.
• IDW Publishing (Publisher)
My last review of TMNT was probably all over the place with equal parts praise and concern. I wanted to be nakedly honest about the issue. The book had a lot of good in it but there was some underlying stuff that bothered me.
Issue #102 brings the new status quo further into focus and sets up some really interesting subplots for our heroes and villains. The comic opens with Raphael and his pet dinosaur, Pepperoni gearing up to go back on patrol for the evening. They are interrupted by Sally of the Mutanimals. At first glance, I thought that Raph's armor was homaging his Nightwatch suit from the underrated TMNT movies as well as his Black Suit from the Archie Comic. I reached out to Sophie direct and she confirmed that Raph's look was inspired by his appearance in TMNT: Out of the Shadows. I don't recall much from that movie, but the look works here and I hope he sticks with it as the series goes on.
The exchange between the two characters is pretty cool and layers in some setting building for the Mutanimals as well as the general state of mutants in Mutant Town. The scene is eventually interrupted by the previous issue's cliffhanger. Jennika and the newly introduced Mona Lisa (TMNT 87 Series) were attacked by a group of mutants looking to steal their stuff and possibly worse. The fight scene here is great and seeing Jennika get pinned by a giant mutant porcupine was equal parts hilarious and horrifying.
Raph also some cool moments with Jenny and I really enjoyed how they play off of each other. Although I can't decide whether they have a brother-sister bond, or if I should start shipping them. Nevertheless, the scenes are fun and I like how Sophie is integrating the new characters into the series and refocusing the old ones.
The book also checks in with the rest of the turtles. They are a complete mess and Mickey has my favorite line of the issue. He mentions that no one talks anymore even though they have so much to say. This hit me really hard. Shortly after my mother passed away circumstances led to me being somewhat estranged. It felt like my siblings and I went our separate ways. You see something similar happening in this issue. The writing for this interlude is amazing and it will be great to see the guys pull it together, find themselves and figure out a path forward.
I also really dug the new villains. I really liked the design on Diamond, the aforementioned porcupine. He steals the show in this issue and oddly enough reminded me of Sonic The Hedgehog. The book checks in with Old Hob and he seems a bit more villainous than usual. Prior to this issue Hob always seemed at least somewhat justified in his actions. In this issue, Hob seems to have crossed a line that he may not be able to come back from.
I loved everything about this issue. It looks great, has great pacing and the color contrast Ronda Pattison uses to differentiate Mutant Town and April's farmhouse is understated yet stunning. The book really gives the impression that the guys are letting the world go to hell while they are sitting on their asses. When you combine the visuals and characters you get something special. If you were on the fence about the series post issue #100 I suggest sticking around. TMNT is the same book you loved, but with a slightly different flavor.