Everything about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a delight with each and every single issue, and this is no exception. The creative team hits every single note perfectly no matter who is involved with the story arcs and is building a truly fun, engaging, and heartfelt narrative. Any TMNT fan that isn’t checking this series out needs to change that quickly because it’s a fantastic time to be a Turtles fan.
It’s always a wonderful delight when life brings you a second helping of something that you truly enjoy. This month Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans have been delivered a double dose of the main ongoing stories featuring the mutated heroes.
With the time travel storyline wrapped and the older version of the young turtle Lita returned to a changed and brighter looking future, all attention returns to the ongoing plotlines of the struggling Mutant Town. Building off the end of the previous arc this issue follows up on the return of Oroku Saki the former Shredder who went to Hell and back and now seeks to protect the Turtles as a promise to the passed Hamato Yoshi.
This issue also sees the return of Nelson Daniel on art duties after he was last on the book for the mutant eel/Slithery horror style arc back in issues #106-108. That return is just in time because the fallout of that aforementioned story arc is beginning to play out within this very issue.
The tremendous trio of Sophie Campbell, Ronda Pattison, and Shawn Lee remains on the writing, coloring, and lettering of the book respectively. This issue showcased that while Daniel nailed it as the choice for the more horror stylings of his previous stint on the book, he also does a fantastic job at the quieter character moments and thrilling action styles of this issue.
One thing that stands out about this series constantly is how well every artist is at making the emotional aspects of the story stand out in a tangible way. Daniel is no different in this regard. Right away the first few pages really show off a bevy of emotions during a heartfelt conversation between Lita (from back when she first arrived in the past) Saki (formerly the Shredder).
This is followed by a really great slew of pages that have some really sweet and heavily character-building type moments with Saki right in the heart of them. Having him being like an unseen guardian angel to the Hamato clan in order to keep his promise (after advice from Lita) is brilliant and cute and great all wrapped up together.
Campbell has proved to be quite the master at not only juggling the massive amount of plots and subplots introduced since her run began but also exactly when best to execute the next move with them. The April/Baxter Stockman plot has been simmering to the side of much of the book’s events, and it finally has boiled over in a truly big and engaging way. Getting to see April throw down and hold her own (with a little help from a ghostly ally) was so great, and a great reminder of why she’s one of the Turtle’s most steadfast and awesome allies.
Most jobs in a collaborative realm like comics mean having to work with others that have different styles quite often, but sometimes despite the skills of those involved the mash-up of some work doesn’t always gel as well as others. That’s not the case though with Pattison’s colors that seamlessly shift and work to match up with whoever is doing the art on this series from Campbell’s arcs to Daniel’s art here and others. Always bouncing between the brighter and bold scenes and the darker shadowy ones with relative ease.
And it will always stand to be said that Lee’s lettering is just always fantastically done across the board. There is a reason the man is the go-to letterer for pretty much all of the Turtle-related content. From the perfect placement of dialogue to the use of bigger/smaller fonts or bolds/italics to make certain types of dialogue stand out to the fantastic SFX it all just works.
Everything about the team behind these books just gels so wonderfully creating a truly engaging and amazing and gorgeous and fun story experience issue to issue. They can swap in artists and it doesn’t change a single bit of the dynamic, which sometimes can happen on books where there are changes to a part of the creative team.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of the best books around and it’s all thanks to every single person that is involved in this book as their love for what they do and their love for these characters and this world shows on every single page.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #118 is now on sale in print and digitally from IDW Publishing.