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Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #82

by Dan Gehen

With the Rat King on the loose, the Turtles seek help from others in the Pantheon – starting with the Toad Baron! Meanwhile, a meetup between Bishop and Baxter Stockman is absolutely, 100% wholesome.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #82

(W) Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow (A) Dave Wachter (C) Ronda Pattison

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vs. Toad Baron’s servants is an early contender for comic book fight of the year. Not because of awesome choreography and high-stakes drama, but due to the sheer hilarity of the situation. Though they give it their all, the pint-sized servants are clearly overmatched in a sequence that leaves the titular heroes, and the reader, in stitches. It serves as a great way to kick off the issue. As the series has hit a stretch of uneven quality, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #82 is one of the good ones.

What makes TMNT #82 such a strong issue is the notable lack of action. Yes, it opens with a “fight” sequence, but beyond that the script by Tom Waltz is largely conversational in nature. Whether it’s the Turtles and Toad Baron, Baxter and Bishop, or Splinter and Jenika, this is an issue where people like to talk. And even though this is an action title, it is issues like this where the series really shines. Without a big, bombastic event going on, the story can breathe and characters can get their due attention. This is especially true in the moments featuring the Turtles. Waltz’s handling of their personalities is on point, and their interaction with the Toad Baron is the highlight of the issue.

While the Turtles shine brightly, they are not the only strong point of this issue. Baxter Stockman has found himself in the crosshairs of Bishop and the EPF, due to the publicity he “earned” during the “Invasion of the the Triceratons” story. While good, this subplot is nowhere as strong as the Turtle-centric stuff. Its relevance appears to be setting up a future story than dealing with the one at hand. Tonally, it’s a bit uneven too, but it remains stronger than the inclusion of Splinter and Jenika’s rooftop conversation, which appears to be included solely to fill the page count.

I’ve commented in past reviews on how much I love Dave Wachter’s artwork. No surprise here, it’s fantastic. Ditto with regard to Ronda Pattison’s colors. Visually, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a book that hardly ever disappoints thanks to the quality talent IDW has cultivated.

As the series has progressed, these “breather” issues have become the strength of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As cool as it may be to see them engage other weird-looking foes in fisticuffs, it is their personalities and interactions with others that have made hardcore fans fall in love them. To see those personalities shine as they do here here is exactly what TMNT fans want out of their stories.

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