COMIC REVIEW: TMNT #117
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #117
Story by Sophie Campbell
Art by Sophie Campbell
Published by IDW
Released June 9th, 2021
A winner is crowned in Jennika’s battle of the bands and two old foes make surprising revelations as the TMNT and allies prepare to take Mutant Town in a new direction! Important steps towards the next chapter of the TMNT saga are made here!
God Gave Rock and Roll To You…
The last issue of TMNT was sort of a rock montage to what’s promised to be a face melting battle of the bands deciding the future of the saga. Pretty high stakes wouldn’t you say? And it all rests on the shoulders of Jennika because of course it does. Who needs the Ninja Turtles to be the stars in charge of the Ninja Turtles series anyway? Personal bias aside, does TMNT #117 deliver a Van Halen level degree of rocking? Or are we left sitting on a blanket for a Hootie and the Blowfish concert?
Looks like we’re going the Hootie route. Spoilers below.
The battle of the bands that was built up for months and decided the futuristic fate of the TMNT as we know it…was three pages. It was a single performance where the established violent baddies of Bebop and Rocksteady simply gave up and dipped with no fight. There’s no further explanation. And no reason as to why that exactly needed to happen. And while Campbell’s artwork is very good throughout the issue, it’s extremely difficult to imply sound in a solely visual medium. So the entire finale to the buildup falls completely flat and leaves us asking so what?
We’re then swept to the TMNT making amends to Karai and the Foot (again) . Tokka and Rahzar are sent to the (cheery) future with Lita. Once again, characters that were made out to be a big threat essentially went nowhere, had no impact overall, and were thrown into time travel for reasons. Also a turtle and a pig kiss each other establishing the first queer couple in the TMNT universe. And I truly believe Campbell trashed Casey Jones solely for that. Not for logical storytelling. For furry fanfiction. Cool.
Lastly, it’s established that Oroku Saki is watching over the Splinter Clan and will make himself known when they hit rock bottom (Rat King is teased?). Campbell’s artwork is the best thing about this issue. It’s sharp, polished, and striking when it needs to be. Yet it’s no secret that Campbell’s tonal shift and character focus caused a lot of readers to lose interest in IDW’s current TMNT series. A lot has happened (technically) in those past 17 issues…but it has little impact overall. And if this issue serves as a “bookend” of sorts…it perfectly demonstrates why Campbell’s arc has been such a slog. Little consequence and impact. Forgettable characters. And a slow pace…with a rushed ending.
I’m not interested in Jennika taking over TMNT and morphing it into some Netflix original teen drama with a furry overlay. Hopefully IDW’s TMNT is on to greener pastures starring action, humor, and our actual turtle brethren.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #117 is now available wherever comics are sold!