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Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #70

This is it – the final (for now) showdown between Agent Bishop and our mutant heroes! And with the stakes high, there is bound to be a loss somewhere…

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #70

(W) Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman & Bobby Curnow (A) Mateus Santolouco (C) Ronda Pattison

Is it just me, or has it been forever since we’ve had an issue of the main TMNT ongoing? With the anticipation for this concluding chapter of “Desperate Measures” building with each passing week, it sure feels that way, as I’m sure many of you would agree. With Hob holding two hostages, the Turtles and Mutanimals awaiting instructions, and Bishop keeping Slash under his thumb, the creative team certainly gave themselves plenty of loose ends to tie up in one issue. But, as has been the case throughout this series, the writers are up to the task, as is the art team of Santolouco and Pattison.

In the 20 issues following the “Vengeance” arc, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has felt rudderless due to the absence of a compelling antagonist. And while the Turtles’ internal struggles have made for compelling character studies, there is nothing quite like a truly heinous antagonist. That’s what readers are given in Agent Bishop. In his prior appearances, Bishop has been portrayed as having a calm, steely demeanor. His actions are not evil, but done out of his own sense of right and wrong. But in this issue, he goes full super-villain… and it’s amazing.

The crazed, fully evil Bishop is so appealing because he gives readers someone to root against, but want more of. What was originally a desire to protect humanity has evolved to a pure and utter disdain for mutants of any kind, and his willingness to eradicate them from the world has no limits. As is revealed in TMNT #70, Bishop undergoes great personal sacrifice in service of his mission. Credit is due to Waltz, Eastman, and Curnow, as well as Santolouco and Pattison, for their portrayal of his decent into psychosis.

Of course, there is more to this issue than “The Agent Bishop Show,” as the Turtles are forced to improvise an action plan to save Hob’s hostages and captured Mutanimals. This enables the story to engage in the always great interactions between the TMNT. However, those moments are fleeting as the four share only a handful of lines of dialogue. However, their lack of dialogue partly due to the writers’ trust in the art team to convey action and emotion. As he has done in the past, Santolouco is a master of expressive character designs and conveying action on the page. This is an action-packed issue, and not once does it seem to lag due to his artwork. As for the coloring, it’s become difficult to find new ways to sing the praises of Ronda Pattison. She is truly the unsung hero of this series.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #70 is an exciting and satisfying conclusion to “Desperate Measures.” The writing and artwork are top-notch. It’s been said for years now that TMNT is probably the best superhero title in publication, and this issue the latest example to prove that assertion to be true.

Editor's Rating


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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