It’s the Christmas season, which means it’s time for Michelangelo to do what he does best: party! The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles throw a holiday bash, and more than a few guests show up uninvited…
Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #65
(W) Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman, Bobby Kurnow (A) Mateus Santolouco (C) Ronda Pattison
Right out of the gate, it’s clear that TMNT #65 is going to be a fun issue. The conclusion of the “Chasing Phantoms” arc in the previous issue left the Turtles emotionally drained, and while Tom Waltz’s script briefly touches on the fallout, he and artists Mateus Santolouco and Ronda Pattison deliver a wholesome and whimsical tale of Christmas cheer. While it does not have significant weight on the series overall, it’s a welcome change in tone to close out the year.
What TMNT #65 does best is allow the Turtles to just be themselves. There’s no life-or-death scenario hanging in the balance, which enables their personalities to shine brightly. This is accentuated by their common goal: get their church-lair cleaned and prepped for a party between a few close friends. Leo is running point – and cleaning the place – while Donnie sets up the tech (and the Christmas lights) and Mikey gets the drinks and snacks ready. Raph, meanwhile, does what he does best: stay way from it all, but with a twist. He’s not sad and sulking as he wanders around the city, but merely taking Pepperoni for a walk.
The Christmas party setting allows Waltz, Santolouco, and Pattison to play around with most of the series’ cast, allowing characters that wouldn’t normally cross paths to interact with each other. One such pair that takes prominence is Woody, the Turtles’ favorite pizza guy, and Angel. Simply put, Woody falls head-over-heels for Angel, and she… doesn’t quite feel the same. The resulting antics are both charming and humorous, which is in line with the issue as a whole as it builds up to a very Griswold moment. And even though the Turtles are celebrating the holiday without Splinter by their side, his absence does not cast a pall over the event.
Even though this story doesn’t fully play to his (action-oriented) strengths, it’s great to see Mateus Santolouco once again drawing the Ninja Turtles. For many, he is the defining artist of the TMNT – or at least for the IDW incarnation, so when he’s on the title it feels like a treat. Ronda Pattison’s always excellent colors are accentuated by the issue’s holiday cheer. If you’re looking to dedicate 15-20 minutes to yourself this holiday season, curl up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and a slice of pizza as you enjoy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #65.