TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #96 review – Fab Five? (Waltz, Eastman, Dialynas, Wachter, Curnow, Pattison, Lee, IDW Publishing)

Review by Darren Shulman

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Tom Waltz (Author) Kevin Eastman (Author) Michael Dialynas (Artist) Dave Wachter (Cover Artist) Bobby Curnow (Author) Ronda Pattison (Colorist) Shawn Lee (Letterer)

Thanks to IDW Publishing for the review copy!

Five issues to go until the 100th issue and TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES continues to escalate the City at War conflict.  Each plot strand from prior issues is moved forward a little bit.

At the end of issue 95, the Turtles gave Jennika a transfusion to save her life and she mutated into a turtle.  While I don’t know if she’s a teenager, she is certainly the first female ninja turtle I’ve ever seen.  As such, she moves from the periphery to the forefront in this issue. Jennika is one of those characters I did know know about prior to reading this arc of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES. While it sounds strange given the fact that she just turned into a mutant turtle, this issue is  great vehicle to display a range of emotions resulting from her predicament. The artists in this book really manage to show emotions on the turtles faces, which is impressive given they are working with essentially a green circle for a head.

This issue also picks up on the Karai-Shredder power struggle, with some deadly results.  As I’ve written before, this comic has a fair amount of violence (real violence, not cartoon violence) and blood.  People die. This is probably the most ruthless version of Splinter that I have ever seen, which makes sense given the fact that he’s running the foot clan.

We also return to Old Hob and Raphael. After the action packed assault on Null’s headquarters, we get a conversation that lays some groundwork for what Hob’s crew may do next.  While this has been my favorite plot line in this arc so far, it takes a backseat to the two others in this issue. Readers who like a lot of action will gravitate towards the Karai-Splinter conflict and those who like emotional development will prefer Jennika’s story.

This issue moves each story forward, but in doing so, it relies on a little knowledge of prior issues to appreciate.  If you are thinking of picking up the series, I suggest pulling an issue or two prior to this one.  As always there is an interesting Oral History of the IDW Turtles’ series at the end.  Readers unfamiliar with Metalhead, Null, or the Mutanimals will get some valuable history on the IDW version of the characters, which answered some of the questions I had.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #96 is now available.

Check back tomorrow for my thoughts on TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #97


Have you read the issue? What are your thoughts? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!

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