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Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #84 – Requiem for the Rat King

by Dan Gehen

This is it! The final showdown between the Turtles and the Rat King! The two sides battle for the fate of New York’s orphans, and there can only be one winner!

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #84

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

As the follow-up to the much-hyped yet underwhelming “Invasion of the Triceratons,” this story arc has seen the Turtles fight their way across the Pantheon. Their journey lead them to a final battle against the Rat King, who has taken up residence in a New York City still recovering from the invasion. However, much like the previous arc, IDW’s 4-issue arc mandate results in a story that is rushed. With the great potential of a story featuring literal gods this fails to live up to expectations.

Just because this was missed opportunity does not mean that the issue itself is not without its positives. Dave Wachter’s artwork continues to impress. Since joining the series’ stable of rotating artists, his craft has show marked improvement. Ronda Pattison’s colors continue to impress – quite a feat since she’s been on the title since issue #1 (plus various tie-ins). One aspect of Wachter’s art that is particularly interesting is how he constructs the panels during Leonardo and Rat King’s battle in the astral plane. Whereas most panels are defined by straight, smooth lines, Wachter makes these panels rougher, as if crudely drawn with a permanent marker. While it does signify the difference between the real world and the dream-like astral plane, more could have been done to visually differentiate the two. That sentiment strikes at the true problem with this issue.

The story itself is rather predictable. The Rat King turns his would-be victims against the Turtles. The Turtles do their best to ward them off without hurting them (they are kids after all). They end up getting the upper hand thanks to deux ex mousers. Rat King retreats. It is painfully clear that the writers have something big in mind for issue #100 and they’re just treading water until then.

The story itself is uninspired, and only entertaining because of the characters themselves. I will never not enjoy reading the Turtles when they are portrayed well. Raph’s impulsiveness and Mikey’s pop-culture awareness results in one of the issue’s few highlights. However, that is not enough to overlook that this issue concludes a disappointing story arc that wasted its potential. While not unreadable, it fails to meet the high bar the creative team established for this series right out of the gate. I do have faith that we will see it return to those standards, but until then both this and TMNT Universe have become a chore to read.

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