Forgetting Without Forgiving: Reviewing ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ #131

by Scott Redmond

Overview

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ is a truly engaging, fun, emotional, gorgeous, amazing series month after month that everyone needs to be picking up and reading. This is such a powerful issue as former enemies must work together so that they can be better and be prepared for the greater threat that is on their way very soon.

Overall
9/10
9/10

All the members of the Splinter Clan and their allies have been through a whole bunch of harrowing, life-threatening/changing things over the years. The upcoming The Armageddon Game event might be one of the biggest, and it’s time for them to prepare accordingly.

Since the beginning of her run on the title, Sophie Campbell has made sure to have a high focus on the characters and their moments as well as development alongside all the action. We’re given so many big moments that are more about characters realizing something about themselves than it is about the action moments that might surround this. This whole issue is very much about that sort of thing.

Having Oroku Saki/Shredder finally make his presence known because of a promise made to Splinter and a need to train the Turtles before Rat King’s game begins, is a great premise. This is a man that has plagued them in two different lives, bringing so much misery to them and those they care about. There are a lot of really powerful moments here where various characters reckon with being able to work with this man, Alopex’s anger and quitting of the clan is a very emotionally heavy moment that resonates. After everything that has been done to her, one cannot blame her for not being able to forget that even if the fate of the world might be at stake.

There is just such an interesting energy that can be found in the artwork of Pablo Tunica who continues on to this new story arc after working on the majority of the last. There is a heaviness and almost roughness to his work that fits so well with the heavy emotional aspects that have been on display, but also really hits well during the horror dream moments that every one of the clan has (except Leonardo).

Those aforementioned emotional/character beats that are written into the story only hit as hard when there is an artist that perfectly nails the facial expression/emotional display, which Tunica very much does every time. Especially through the great use of close-up shots and creative paneling, all of it allows us to not only see the emotion but truly feel it more than we already might because of connections to these characters.

I’m really digging the coloring work that Ronda Pattison is doing in this issue. There are some very interesting shifts that are on display as the flashback pages have an almost yellowish muted tone to them to make sure they stand apart while the various nightmare pages take on the colors of the various Turtles bandanas as the prevailing light in the scenes. There are some panels and spaces that have an almost watercolor or painting sort of feeling to them. It often feels like many colorists do not get enough kudos or attention put on their ability at times to really shift their work to match any given tone or artist while maintaining their own style. Pattison is very much one of the colorists that do this so darn well, one just has to look through her work with the variety of artists that have been part of this current series run.

Just like Campbell and Pattison, Shawn Lee has been one of the constants of this series for quite some time and brings so much to every issue. Lettering helps bring dialogue and captions and other things like SFX sometimes to the pages, but it does so much more than that in many cases. A great letterer like Lee does it in a way where there is just so much personality and energy on display through the words, adding little flairs here or there to make sure it’s befitting of the characters in question. The lettering flows through the issue well, making sure it never becomes too much in any given panel or page, while making sure that there are colorful or bold or font changes happening to make certain things like tone/volume very clear.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #131 is now available from IDW Publishing

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