Story by Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow and Kevin Eastman
Art by Mateus Santolouco
Colors by Ronda Pattison
Letters by Shawn Lee and Chris Mowry
After the character heavy focus in the last issue, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles switches gears to something a little more action heavy, but that doesn't mean the character interactions are any less important. The blend of the two is part of the reason the series is so great. The turtles themselves are a little out of focus, as Tom Waltz and Co. spend some time checking in with the Mutanimals, who have grown to quite a little group these days, and subsequently gained the attention of the Earth Protection Force and its leader, Agent Bishop. The group, who had a pretty big role in the early 2000s animated series, haven't shown up much other than in a few teases here and there but it looks like this current arc is when we'll finally see what their deal is.
There is a lot to like about this issue. I enjoyed the domestic slice of life we get of the turtles living together in cramped spaces again. Each turtle has their own plans and ideas for what should be done in the immediate future, and it shows how well Waltz knows these characters. There's a nice scene later on where Leo and Splinter discuss what it means to be a leader that also lands really well.
On the art side of things, Mateus Santolouco is back, and instead of the usual praise, the thing that impressed me most about his work was the big action sequence at the end. It's hectic, kinetic and frenzied, and also somewhat brutal. At least two characters lose limbs, and the whole thing works really well for me. He's just got such a clean look, one that compromises between being cartoonish and realistic. Factor in the bright colors from Ronda Pattison, and the whole thing is perfect for a title like this.
Honestly, TMNT is one of the titles I look forward to the most each month. It captures what I love the most about comics. Despite being one of the longer running monthly titles currently on the stands, I love that I can pick up an issue and just enjoy it, because the creative team provides you with what you need to know. It's also somewhat refreshing that it's allowed to set up plot points so far in advance, because it helps build a sense of anticipation you won't find in a title that is constantly receiving reboots and creative team shake ups.