TMNT: Shredder In Hell #4 Review - Shredder Redeemed?
Updated: Jun 11, 2020
I struggle with Shredder in Hell. On the one hand its easily one of the most beautiful books released in 2019. It's also the most unique series in IDW publishings TMNT line of comics. The problem with the series is that at times I'm reading the book and I'm totally lost. The script mentions "The Dream" which is ironic because the series to this point has read like a fever dream.
The confusing direction of the series is primarily due to Mateus making the reader work for answers. Either that or I'm just slow. If you're patient you're in for a truly epic journey akin to Dante's Inferno as Oroku Saki makes his way through hell. I'm happy to report that for the first time since the series began I feel like I have a firm grasp on whats going on.
In this issue, we get an origin for the forces that have been guiding Shredder and the setting. I had a eureka moment while reading and the issue just clicked as well as some aspects of the TMNT comics that never made sense to me.
The entire scope of the mini-series opened up for me. The clarity was provided clarity but I do wish that the story progression was a little easier to follow. The book follows Oruku as he works to take control of his destiny. It's revealed that he was created as a vessel to keep "The Dragon" at bay and has never been able to exercise free will. This is a greek tragedy level reveal for me as a reader. Few characters are evil for the sake of being evil yet Shredder has always been pretty one-note and that has extended to pretty much all versions of the characters. This reveal actually gives us an explanation regarding his madness.
The new information also opens up a myriad of story possibilities, especially considering that Shredder will more than likely be resurrected in issue #100 of the main TMNT title. Will we see a redeemed Shredder, more than likely. The end of the comic appears to convey a final confrontation between Saki and The Dragon that has controlled his destiny across the centuries.
I find myself rooting for Shredder to succeed here but Mateus could be setting us for another heartbreak that would suck, but would also fall in line with the tragic aspect of the story.
Shredder in Hell #5 is late. I'm not sure if it's late because of the time it takes to draw a series like this or if its because it will make the ending of TMNT #100 pretty obvious. I do believe that in either case, the events of this finale will feed into that milestone issue. This is an excellent way to include Shredder's journey without adding another subplot onto the main story which is already packed to the brim.
Despite my confusion Shredder in Hell is worth your time, if only for the art and origin material. It explains a lot about the patterns that keep interfering with the lives of the characters. It does so in an esoteric manner that extends beyond characters simply beating each other up. There is depth to Shredder In Hell. It may end up being more important to our heroes and villains as the series continues onward.