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The issue focuses on how the Turtles are handling Donnie being on the edge of death. Each of the Turtles copes in a different manner. Leo makes plans to continue to go on patrol, trying to bury his pain through creating things that need to be done right away. As the leader of the group, he feels the weight of their failure most keenly and he isn’t ready to face that so he invents work.
Ralph mopes around, going over the situation over and over again as he looks for the mistakes that were made, the mistakes that he made. He blames himself for leaving Donnie behind, even though doing so was required to save the world. He is the most ready to fight, but also one of the more loyal Turtles. He always feels as if he can do better, and he feels like he failed his brother by leaving him behind.
Mikey goes to have pizza with a friend of his to destress. He is the least serious of the Turtles and he is trying to pretend that everything is normal or that everything will be normal again soon.
Donnie’s reaction is the most interesting to me out of the four Turtles. He is dealing with the fact that he should be dead, yet he isn’t. If that wasn’t enough his mind is now in this unfinished robot body and he is having to take care of his actual body. It is a total mind trip and it all he can do to go through the motions and not completely freak out. Donnie is aware of the guilt that the others are suffering, even if he doesn’t agree with it. Consquensequility he knows that he can’t lose it while the other Turtles are around. He passes off his feelings as a result of adjusting to his new body, hiding his real feelings behind his thirst for knowledge.
Each of the Turtles handle this internal pain a different way as shown through this issue. The comic does a good job of portraying their feelings about Donnie, and seeing him so badly injured that his mind had to be put into a robot body.
Honestly, this is the single most compelling part of the entire issue for me. They are almost grieving Donnie, despite the fact that he isn’t dead.
My favorite moment in the entire issue happened when Casey’s dad, Han, told his son that they could be family again, because he no longer had to kill him with the Shredder being dead. That was a moment that made me laugh out loud. I love the disconnect between the two statements, and it was wonderfully set up and played off. Given the seriousness of the issue to this point, we needed a moment that could make us chuckle as readers. A key part of humor is timing and the timing for this moment was perfect.
Meanwhile the next story arc is being set up, and I enjoyed about one third of it. April learns about Ancient Ninja Lords who used to rule the Earth before it was flooded with the massive flood. They didn’t die in the flood, instead they went into hiding and waited, now they are planning to use mortals as pawns as they march towards their endgame.
I like this for two reasons. First, is the flood is a reference to the flood legend mentioned in almost every culture in history, I thought it was cool that they tied it into the history of the real world, that is a way to ground the story in a sense of reality. Second, they talked about the mortals being used as pawns making me wonder if the Ancient Ninja Lords are both good and evil. What if the good vs evil conflict is already being played out and has been being played out centered around the Turtles as one group of pawns and Shredder and Krang as the other group? I wonder if that is the direction they are going in with this, and I can’t wait to find out.
Han and the Purple Dragons, they aren’t at all a credible threat considering the Turtles just beat much worse in the course of saving the world. They believe that Shredder is dead, and so what threat could the Purple Dragons possibly present?
The Shredder and Baxter alliance, it makes no sense to me. Shredder has the great edge of everyone thinking that he is dead and how does he spend his time? He goes to make an alliance with someone who builds mousers. This is such a giant step backwards from others that the Shredder has worked with, that I don’t see it making sense at this point in the story. He has failed in his goals with stronger allies, so he now he goes to make weaker ones? Why? That was a pretty jarring disconnect for me.
Also, I have some problems with the art style. I really dislike the way the Turtles are being drawn currently. They just don’t look like heroes to me. They look really weak. I grew up reading the Turtles when they looked menacing. Also seeing Shredder in a suit was really jarring, he looks really strange outside of his armor. On the plus side, I loved the way that Hun is drawn. His outfit is very detailed, and I loved the expressions on his face in his scene with Casey.
Shredder’s Granddaughter is rallying the Foot Clan again, promising that they will wipe out the Turtles and their allies. Only, they just tried that and failed horribly, costing them their leader. So why would this time be any different considering their just got their butts handed to them? For them to come together and try again so soon makes no sense to me.
This is bad villain writing, and I can’t stand that in storytelling. I like smart bad guys, and this is anything but smart.
As I said in my summery earlier, this issue is pretty bland, or it would be if it weren’t for the couple of pages about the Ancient Ninja Lords. That is important information as it sets up the next story arc. This is just a teaser, and the next few issues promise to show us more about the Ancient Ninja Lords. That kind of threat fits in perfectly with the Turtles style of bad guys. Combined with scenes that show us how the Turtles are coping, it makes the issue readable.
I give the writing for this issue a C, as they setup the next story arc, and touch on how the turtles are coping. However the rest of the story is pretty weak.
To conclude, this issue is worth picking up, but it won’t be making any top Turtle issues lists.