TMNT: The Last Ronin #2 Review - Seeing Red...
The Last Ronin was on my comic book pull list well before the first issue was released. That installment stuck with me on an emotional level long after putting it down. For that reason, I anticipated this issue but I also dreaded what was to come.
The story picks up some time after the last issue. Mikey (The Last Ronin) is recovering and in the care of an aged April O. Neil. We also learn that the young woman that assisted Mikey from the first issue is the daughter of April and Casey Jones.
The book cuts back and forth between past events and Mikey's life post-tragedy and we get a pretty awesome segment detailing this time drawn by Kevin Eastman, Co-creator of the Ninja Turtles. The big selling point of the issue and the series overall has been the mystery regarding which turtles die, when, and how.
I won't spoil any specifics about who dies in this review but I will say that what goes down is pretty brutal and still sad to see on the page. I also had an emotional reaction to this issue and it lingered with me as I tried to sleep last night. I'm not sure I've ever seen one of the turtles killed in any form of media and this one hit home. The book doesn't skimp on the violence and the book doesn't shy away from it at all. This is a bold comic and I appreciate the team for telling this story. I'm also 2 for 2 in calling the identity of the Ronin and who would be the first to fall.
As with the first issue, the oversized format of the issue works great and goes a long way in making the series feel special. The art isn't quite as polished in this issue. It's still good but when it comes to the main action sequence the fight is epic but the way they are staged it's hard to tell what's happening until you really get into the details. You basically get ****** crashing into a scene with intense dialogue before crashing into the next panel. I think the choreography could have been staged better, especially considering the stakes at hand.
Aside from the gripes about certain sequences. I didn't have any other complaints. The Last Ronin is a gem in the current comic book landscape and actually keeps a lot of the series indie roots. The book is a lot more violent than what we typically get out of IDW. The story is definitely more heartfelt than we typically get from a mainstream series. I have to say that this issue is a half step back from the first issue but that half step is better than most series on the shelves today.