A Funeral For A Friend And So Much More In TMNT #90

by James Ferguson

The Ninja Turtles have lost one of their own. No, Leo, Raph, Donnie, and Mikey are still around. Their brother turtle, Slash has sacrificed himself to save them all during the recent battle at Burnow Island. Some see this as a time to mourn. Others see it as a galvanizing force, rallying them to take the fight to Agent Bishop and the EPF. The march to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100 starts here.

This issue of TMNT is jam-packed with content. It serves as a reset of sorts, allowing for us to dig into the new status quo and catch our breath before the chaos unfolds. Let’s start with the funeral for a friend. Mikey delivers a heartfelt eulogy for his friend. There is no one better to do this as he’s really the heart of the team. Although he’s not the smartest turtle in the bunch, he’s certainly the most earnest. His childlike innocence shines through here as his vision of heaven is like something a kid would imagine. It’s beautiful and fills you with hope.
Contrast that with Old Hob who barges in to provide a counter narrative. He’s always had a different perspective on mutantkind than the Turtles, so it’s no surprise that he sees the death of his friend as an insult and an attack. While he’s painted as the bad guy here, yelling and screaming during a funeral, he brings up some good points. It’s scary to say that because he’s advocating violence, but the mutants aren’t left with many options when a villain like Bishop is personally targeting them.

We’ve seen some pretty tough bad guys over the years in TMNT, but Agent Bishop may go down as the most terrifying. We check in with him as his new exo-suit is being completed. Artist Michael Dialynas illustrates a chilling sequence showing Bishop suiting up as the EPF is under attack. While his human body is robotic, I have a feeling it wouldn’t change the cold, emotionless expressions on his face. He calmly puts his suit on as explosions rattle the building.
We check in with every main character in TMNT #90. Writer Tom Waltz has many plates spinning here and none of them are showing signs of falling. It’s impressive to see all these different plot threads weaving through a single issue, moving these individual storylines forward. Some of them have been percolating in the background, like Baxter Stockman’s mayoral campaign and it looks like we’re going to see them developed further in the coming issues.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of dialogue to sift through in this issue. It never feels overwhelming or text heavy. Letterer Shawn Lee does a great job of keeping the conversation moving, holding your attention with each word balloon. It helps that the dialogue is pretty compelling, but there’s more to it than that.
Master Splinter shows a softer side after his recent visit from three ghosts. There’s a great scene where he fondly remembers his kids arguing over who is the best martial artist. Colorist Ronda Pattison shows this in a lighter hue, like we’re looking at an old photograph. It calls back to a simpler time in the lives of Splinter and the Turtles, before things got so complicated and deadly.

The Ninja Turtles have been through quite a lot over the course of the 90 issues of this series and that’s not even counting the mini-series, macro-series, and one-shots. Somehow, all of that pales in comparison to what is coming next. We’re witnessing the eve of something big as all the players are being assembled for an epic confrontation. So many storylines are coming to a head and I could not be more excited. It’s a great time to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #90 from IDW Publishing is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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