While IDW continues to do great things with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – including bringing on co-creator Kevin Eastman – there exists a small yet dedicated segment of the fanbase that continues to wait for the latest issue of the “true” TMNT series known as Mirage Volume 4. With the last issue having been published back in 2014, fans have little reason to expect the series to ever continue. This is particularly true given that as of 2017, TMNT co-creator and Mirage Volume 4 rights holder Peter Laird has stated that he is currently not working on, nor is he planning to work on, any further TMNT material. While this may be disheartening, there are plenty of reasons for TMNT fans to hold out hope that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Vol.4) #33 will one day become a reality.
Perhaps there is no greater reason that Volume 4 may one day continue is that Peter Laird and Jim Lawson are still very much alive and maintain interest in the property. On Laird’s Blogspot page, he continues to field fan questions regarding all things TMNT. Despite his continued instance that he has no plans at the present to continue Volume 4, he remains very much aware of the fan demand. Meanwhile, Lawson has been involved in Andrew Modeen’s croudfunded continuations of the Mirage continuity, TMNT: Odyssey and TMNT: Origin. Lawson also contributed a variant cover for the release of this year’s landmark Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #73.
There’s also the very minor detail that the last issue, TMNT #32, ends on a massive cliffhanger. Donnie has been miniaturized, Leonardo is in the “Battle Nexus” tournament, Raphael is still deformed, and Mikey is off-planet fighting his former captors. This should be a major indication to readers that Laird does have a general idea of where the story is supposed to go, even if it hasn’t been properly scripted yet. From the Turtles’ 2nd issue on, Laird has demonstrated a knack for long-form storytelling, with “City at War” being perhaps his crowning achievement. Given this, it is absurd to think that Laird does not have and ending in mind for Volume Four. At this point, it appears all he needs is the drive and desire to return to the series.
The multi-year gap between issues is not an insurmountable hurdle either. Several comic series have experienced notable delays in their journey to provide readers a satisfying conclusion. For example, Warren Ellis and John Cassiday’s celebrated work Planetary experienced a 3-year gap between issue #26 and the finale in issue #27. While painful at the time, the end result made the wait completely worthwhile. There’s also the 7-year gap from the release of Captain America: White #0 and Captain America: White #1 from the celebrated team of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. While it may not have reached the heights of their previous collaborations (Spider-man: Blue, Batman: The Long Halloween), fans were rewarded for their patience with another solid entry into the creators’ “color series” of Marvel titles. Let’s not forget readers of Stray Bullets, who waited a full decade between the release of issues #40 and #41.
The point is that even though it the wait has been sizeable, and the main creative force behind the title has expressed no interest in continuing on, there is still a flicker of hope that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Vol.4) #33 will one day come to fruition. Will it ever happen? That remains to be seen, but I’ve learned over the years to never give up on this franchise.