Written by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz
Drawn by Dave Waltz
Letters by Rhonda Pattison
Colors by Shawn Lee
Well this issue certainly makes some things pretty clear. One of the things that has bothered me the most over the last 14 issues or so is the way the turtles themselves have been pushed out of the focus of the series, as it shifted more to the doings of the Foot Clan. It made sense from a story perspective; I think I would have been equally disappointed if Eastman and Waltz had decided to not follow up on Splinter's momentous decision at the end of issue #50.
However, it looks like for the foreseeable future, the turtles will once again rule the spotlight, following Splinter's reveal that he has been trying to drive his sons away for some time now, in order to protect them from the dangers that being in the Foot Clan would expose them to. It is a smart reveal for several reasons; for one, it allows Leonardo to take the next step in his character arc and become the actual leader of the group, instead of remaining just the field commander. It is a similar move to the one Cyclops made when he took over the running the X-Men at the end of Morrison's New X-Men run, and hopefully it will provide just as many interesting stories. Additionally, the fact that Splinter is still running the Foot Clan is just another way that he and Shredder are similar, and I would not be surprised if the Turtles are required to come into conflict with their former master sometime down the road.
That does not mean the whole issue was a success, mind you. The whole romantic subplot of Harold and his former lab partner/ex did not work for me at all, probably because she is barely a character beyond her role in her relation to Harold. Libby is only there to die, and cause Harold to move along further on his path. It's a textbook case of fridging, and this book is better than that.
On the art side of things, Dave Watcher's gritty, scratchy art is perfect for this issue, which is mostly set during a nighttime street brawl/attack on the Street Phantom's rescue. Although I generally prefer the artistic stylings of previous TMNT artists, such as Mateus Santolouco and Sophie Campbell, Watcher is better than most of the other artists that were on the book, so I cannot complain too much.
Overall, I enjoyed certain parts of this issue, but the unfortunate fridging (even if I didn't like the character in the first place) outweigh the good.