TMNT Comic Review: Issue #56
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Issue #56 released this week, with the return of artist Mateus Santolouco, a long-time favorite character, and plenty of intrigue at Burnow Island. Here is our Issue #56 review:
TMNT COMIC REVIEW ISSUE #56
Writer’s Note: Spoilers Ahead
Once you begin reading Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Issue #56 you likely will be unable to put it down. At the end of Issue #55, the Turtles are finally back as a family and are heading to Burnow Island via Harold’s portal machine.
Since the last scuffle on Burnow Island, the Island’s atmosphere has become degraded, requiring the Turtles and other life forms to wear special oxygen masks. We see two mysterious characters hiding in a cave on the Island, coughing and clearly living in inadequate conditions. But, who these two are still remains a mystery. Although, my guess is Bebop and Rocksteady.
Before using the portal machine to Burnow Island, we see an almost reconstructed Metalhead that Harold has been working on, so we will likely see the robot appear in future issues. Harold is still trying to work out the mystery of the Street Phantoms by studying one of the cloaks and the intel that Angel and Alopex captured during their encounter. One thing that is certain is the technology behind the vanishing cloaks is complex, and Harold’s ex-partner was the brains behind that project.
In the next panels, we get our only non-Turtles plot development, and it is brief. The Rat King, last seen in the Casey & April miniseries, visits Kitsune. He explains that he has just returned to the City and “has much to do”. He also hints that Kitsune will be seeing other members of their family soon, but the Rat King likely has other plans to attend to. Skipping to another panel, Splinter has a meeting with Jennika, the rebellions Foot Clan Assassin from Issue #52. To Jennika’s surprise. Splinter is putting her in charge of an incredibly important task: guarding the tomb of Shredder.
Back at Burnow Island, the Turtles meet with Fugitoid, who is in the process of trying to of trying to save the Utroms currently in stasis on the Island. Fugitoid admits the Utroms have not been the kindest of species, but the Utroms in stasis are innocent individuals, and Fugitoid believes that it is their just duty to revive them. (Note: all of the individuals except one are innocent, Fugitoid does not want to revive the one Utrom guilty of war crimes until the other innocent Utroms agree on what to do with him).
A quick glimpse at our two mysterious characters from the start of this issue shows they are ready to fight for their survival. They emerge from their hiding saying “kill or be killed”. We see a military-style boot stomp out a fire, but it uncertain whose foot it could be.
Fugitoid then admits he has had help from a resident of Burnow Island, who turns out to be Leatherhead. We have seen hints of Leatherhead in previous issues, but this is the first full-body shot and confirmation that it is truly him. We learn of Leatherhead’s history on the Island, in which he became victim to spilt mutagen cargo on a pirate ship long, long ago. He has lived on Burnow Island ever since, hiding in the shadows, but the recent toxic atmospheric change forced him to come out of hiding. Fugitoid has promised Leatherhead that in exchange for his help by providing healing mutagen, Leatherhead can accompany the Turtles back in New York City, since his home is uninhabitable.
The Turtles are taken off-guard with Fugitoid’s promise to Leatherhead. We have not seen Leonardo in much of a leadership role lately, but he certainly takes one here. Although hesitant, the Turtles agree that Leatherhead has been helpful to Fugitoid, and the only path forward is Leatherhead going to New York City. The Turtles return to the lab for the Utrom rejuvenation experiment. After a stressful few minutes, it appears the rejuvenation process was a success! But, the Utroms still need some time to “wake up”, so they are left to rest.
In the last few panels, Fugitoid is doing his rounds checking the status on each Utrom. As he enters one of the recovery rooms, one of the Utroms is left dead on the ground. In shock, Fugitoid yells “You!” before being smashed to pieces by our two mysterious characters.
This was a phenomenal issue. Waltz and team have really settled into their groove with this latest arc. Waiting month-to-month has become quite a challenge since the story has become so exciting. We want to welcome back Mateus Santolouco, who has really outdone himself with this issue. The oxygen masks the Turtles wear throughout the entire issue was a fun spin on the artwork, and learning Leatherhead’s past shows the artistic diversity Santolouco brings to the series. We still have many unanswered questions in this series, including the whereabouts of Koya, Bludgeon, Bebop, and Rocksteady, the Street Phantom crime organization, Kitsune’s mind control over Alopex, as well as whatever the Rat King is up to, so there is no doubt this series has much more story to tell.