Originally published at TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles.com
Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, & Tom Waltz, (A) Dave Wachter, (C) Ronda Pattison, (L) Shawn Lee
Writer’s Note: This Review Contains Spoilers
Picking up on the previous issue’s cliffhanger, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #60 shows that Kitsune has indeed killed Splinter, driving the Turtles into an emotional tailspin in the wake of immense defeat. Or, that would be the case if Splinter wasn’t such an important part of the TMNT mythos. A character with as much weight behind him as Splinter is not killed off-panel as an issue ends, but is rather given an entire issue – or a miniseries – dedicated to his death. And so it should come as no surprise that Splinter and the Turtles manage to Macguffin their way out of tragedy.
Aside from the predictability of the opening sequence, this was another great issue of IDW Publishing’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In what is mostly a battle between the Turtles and Kitsune, the writing triumvirate of Eastman, Curnow, and Waltz incorporate storytelling elements from earlier in the series. One of the more notable features harkens back to “City Fall” and “Northampton.” Readers may recall that in those arcs, Leonardo’s mind was manipulated by Kitsune and Shredder to turn him against both Splinter and his brothers. Later, he would go through an emotional and psychological crucible as he worked to purge those vulnerabilities from his mind. Going up against Kitsune here, it appears that those experiences paid off.
Unfortunately, Leonardo’s brothers did not share his experience. As alluded to on the cover, Kitsune takes control of Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello, using them as pawns in her battle against Splinter. Artist Dave Wachter continues his fantastic work from the previous issue, delivering a well-paced, action-packed issue. There is a smooth fluidity to his characters’ movements, such as the sweep of Donatello’s bo or Alopex’s pouncing attacks. No matter what type of anthropomorphic character is on the page, they are very expressive and full of life. If there is a fault in his art, it’s that his human characters appear wooden by comparison. As strong as Wachter’s artwork is, the colors by Ronda Pattison is what ties the issue together. The diverse cast of characters gives Pattison a playground to revel in. Each panel is vibrant, contrasting strong primary colors against the cold concrete of the Foot’s headquarters. The combination of Pattison’s colors with Wachter’s art makes for a visually satisfying experience.
What makes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #60 work are the little character moments that the writers toss in throughout the issue. As has been the case throughout the series, little nuggets of dialogue are dropped which gives each character a unique voice. When Michelangelo pulls Kitsune off of an injured Splinter, he exclaims “Get off my dad!” Splinter makes quips alongside Leonardo – a far cry from the pious and super-serious character he is commonly thought to be. This is the true strength of the issue and series as a whole, resulting in a remarkable reading experience.