Goongala! A bit later than usual, but I wanted to take the time to spotlight Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #52. Before we dive in, I want to mention that this issue had some really stellar variant covers, which can be seen here. There were a variety of Blindbox/Retailer Exclusive action figure covers, as well as a beautiful Retailer Incentive cover by Ibrahim Moustafa (click here if you are unfamiliar with the different types of covers). Here is our review of Issue #52:
TMNT Issue #52 Review
Writer’s Note: Spoilers Ahead
In our newest monthly issue (originally releasing on 25 Nov 2015), we open with Leonardo and Alopex training a group of Foot soldiers by demonstrating various types of fighting techniques. We learn that Splinter is taking his new role as Leader of the Foot Clan quite seriously, but Leonardo is skeptical if Splinter’s desire to lead is enough to turn the Foot Clan around. Simultaneously, we seem some classic Casey Jones-style fighting against some street thugs. Casey receives a visit on the street with a battle suit-less Angel (the wearer of the Nobody suit). Casey mentions that from with his time with April, he knows he must continually train or “everyone you care about is toast”.
In an interesting interaction, Splinter pays a visit to Kitsune, inquiring answers regarding what Kitsune is scheming. Splinter is aware of Aka and Rat King’s existence, as well as their relation to Kitsune, and appears to be sensing possible trouble between the trio. Kitsune assures Splinter that an ancient sibling rivalry between the three will exist and to not worry of the matter. But, Street Phantoms and the traitorous Foot Clan Assassin abruptly phase into attack against Splinter. Dozens of Street Phantoms begin appearing and fighting Foot Clan Elites, Leonardo, Alopex, and the Foot Clan soldiers. While the the Street Phantoms are fought off, Splinter holds his own against the Foot Clan Assassin, who is revealed to be a woman named Jennika. She explains that her role is one of an assassin and she expresses her disapproval at Splinter’s leadership. Splinter explains what must be done with the Foot Clan, and after an apology from Jennika, he agrees to give her a second opportunity to prove her worth as a Foot member (but not without punishment for her actions).
In a final scene, we flash over to Michelangelo, who is still spending his time away from his family with the Mondo Gecko. Mikey follows Mondo Gecko to a warehouse, where the rest of the Mutanimals welcome him with cake and open arms. Feeling accepted, Michelangelo seems to be at home with his friends. Unfortunately, the group is unknowingly under surveillance by a mysterious soldier, Winter, who is awaiting orders on how to move forward.
With Issue #52, Tom Waltz is continuing to build what I am hoping is an interesting plot. The Street Phantoms are an interesting group of villains, and I am looking forward to learning more about their relation to Harold. In the ‘Ninja Notes’ at the end of this issue, it was revealed that this was Ken Garing’s last issue, and Michael Dialynas will be doing the artwork for upcoming Issue #53. Garing is a great artist, but after these last couple issues, the artwork has seemed too stale for me. The lack of background detail and hit-or-miss facial expressions reinforce my opinion that he was not a good fit for the long term. However, part of what makes TMNT such a special series is the wide variety of artists that have contributed to the story, so I am thankful to have been able to experience Garing’s work and am looking forward to see what Dialynas brings to the series.