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Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #63

Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? With regard to Splinter and the Foot, we may finally get some answers. Elsewhere, Harry and his ex-wife have a reunion no one could have hoped for.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Issue #63

(s) Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow & Tom Waltz, (w) Tom Waltz, (a) Dave Wachter, (c) Ronda Pattison

Throughout this latest arc in IDW’s ongoing TMNT series, writer Tom Waltz has explored power and its potential to corrupt the most benevolent individuals. Since taking command of the Foot, Splinter is no longer the warm, pious father-figure that readers have come to expect, but rather a cold, calculating tactician. The previous issue revealed that he was even willing to use one of the Turtles’ close allies (Harold – more on him later) as a pawn in his plan to take out the Street Phantoms. However, this installment pulls the reader in a different direction, instead focusing on a crucial element of any successful family: trust.

While the other three are arguably the more popular of the green foursome, Leonardo is the one that has had the most interesting character arcs throughout the series. Once again, his is place front and center in the wake of recent developments. His brothers act as surrogates for the reader as they stand to the side asking, “And what of our mighty chunin? How’s he feel about sensei and his teacher’s pet working together behind his back?” This leads into a conversation between Leo and Splinter which serves as the backbone to the issue. Splinter is aware of his sons’ disapproval, asking for Leonardo’s trust despite the secretive nature of his plan. With callbacks to previous events in the series, Waltz efficiently and effectively makes readers buy into Splinter’s reasoning.

The issue isn’t entirely comprised of serious melodrama. While Splinter and Leo’s conversation is the backbone of the issue, Harold dealing with his less-than-ideal situation is the funny bone.  While most of the jokes are admittedly derivative and based on divorce cliches, their effectiveness comes from their timing. This in part speaks to the overall strength of the issue’s pacing. The reader is able to maintain a level of investment in the story due to the pacing, even thought nothing of great consequence actually happens.

Once again, the art from Dave Wachter and Ronda Pattison fantastic. Though there is little opportunity for them to flex their artistic muscles in terms of action sequences (that is, until the issue’s end), their workmanlike effort is worthy of praise. Over the course of the series, Pattison’s color work has defined the look of this title more than the work of any other artist. While various pencilers and inkers have been cycled on and off of this book, Pattison has remained a consistent presence which connects them all. Meanwhile, Wachter continues to deliver stellar work despite the script’s overall lack of “flashy” moments. But because of that, he is able to deliver wonderful, character-driven sequences like the aforementioned discussions between Leo and Splinter or Harold and his ex-wife. And the moments in which he is required to deliver an action-oriented sequence look great.

While the issues immediately following the “Vengeance” arc were a bit bumpy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has certainly found its footing in recent months. Issue #63 continues the book’s resurgence in excellent storytelling. Where the story goes from here is anyone’s guess, but it if anything it should continue to be a fun, twist-filled ride. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is easily one of the best team books on stands now.

What did you think of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #63?

The Author

Dan Gehen

Dan Gehen

Dan Gehen is a lot of things, but one thing he's been for his entire life is a TMNT fan (this has been verified by watching embarrassing home videos of his formative years). Though the classic 1980s cartoon caused his 3-year-old version to drive his parents insane via the constant repetition of "cowabunga dude", his true appreciation for the heroes in a half-shell came from the 1990 feature film as well as the comics by Mirage Studios. Today, he continues to enjoy comics from a variety of publishers, including the current TMNT series from IDW Publishing.

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