TMNT: The Last Ronin #2
Story by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz
Art by Kevin Eastman, Esau and Isaac Escorza, Ben Bishop, and Luis Antonio
Published by IDW
Released February 17, 2021
Secrets are revealed as we begin to discover what happened in the past to lead to this nightmarish future. The Ronin meets an unexpected new ally but the Foot Clan begins an exhaustive sweep of the Bottom to find the vengeful mutant. And what role does Baxter Stockman play?
NOTE: the sizing of this book has been modified by IDW so it will now fit standard magazine-sized bags/boards.
Part 2 of 5: FIRST TO FALL…
I opened the review for issue one of The Last Ronin by saying, “It’s been a long time coming hasn’t it?”. And I definitely could say the same for issue two. Nearly four months between issues, part of me just thinks IDW should have released this as a trade paperback. A lot of hype led up to the debut of this comic and you can’t help to think that it’s cooled down since. I always believed in striking when the iron is hot, but I’m not here to dissect marketing and release dates. Last Ronin Issue 2 has hit the streets. We got a setup and motive. We have a villain. We know who the last surviving Turtle-brother is. So is the story worth continuing?
But be aware, there are some spoilers below. Last Ronin issue 2 doesn’t pull punches. It seems the Michelangelo we grew up loving is as dead as his brethren. We find out New York is split into 3 “class” grounds. April went full cyberpunk. Raph was the first to go. And Mikey gets brought up to speed with Casey Jones…not our favorite goalie-masked vigilante…the daughter of he and April. Like issue one, this issue moves at a quick yet masterful pace. Each page is carefully laid out where both artwork and story come together to paint a dark and downtrodden look into this TMNT future-history. The story cements itself as dark, tragic, and bleak.
The idea of Mikey becoming “more mutant” as he gets older is an ingenious twist on how he survives. The story has a Dark Knight Returns vibe. From the techno-punk visual influences to the stark serious narration by our old wide hulking hero. The idea of Mike “talking” to his the spirits of his brothers adds an interesting dynamic for the reader.
The artwork continues to be stellar as it was in the past issue. Nearly five artists working on a single book gives a sign it might be disjointed…but it’s not. There’s deep bold linework and the use of color to set the mood of a scene works great in this issue. I also loved the idea of Michalangelo’s flashback being drawn by Kevin Eastman. It made the story seem even more authentic. Also dig that Eastman and Laird train cameo. The book is bloody, violent, and bold where it needs to be. Our aged characters look familiar and recognizable. It can be heart wrenching to see what time has done to our childhood heroes.
April continues to be a rock. Though these days she lives more like a Ninja Turtle. Casey Marie establishes herself as an interesting character. With the moxie and intellect of her mom and need for physical justice like her pops. Hopefully a future issue focuses a bit more on the rise of our villain: Oroku Hiroto. Right now he just seems like a cliche over-the-top prick. I’d like to delve a little more into his upbringing and relationship with Shredder, Karai, and the Foot Clan. It’s clear he’s ruthless and out for blood, but we need to delve more into his turtle-obsession…so his eventual (?) death could mean more.
Next issue teases the fate of Casey Jones and the possible return of Fugitoid. I just hope we don’t have to wait nearly a quarter of a year to read it. A TMNT title like this shows you the possibilities of such a story. I understand not every tale can be like this, but it really demonstrates just how slow and uneventful Sophie Campbell’s current run on the main TMNT series has been. Last Ronin issue 2 keeps the energy and impactful punches of issue 1. It’s proving to be a bold, dark, and interesting tale within TMNT lore. I can’t wait for Issue 3.
TMNT: THE LAST RONIN #2 IS NOW AVAILABLE WHEREVER COMICS ARE SOLD!