Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #36
Leonardo and Splinter plan for the coming war with Shredder. As they meditate on what their true path must be, they are engulfed by darkness. And from that darkness emerges… the Rat King! Will his meddling with their minds lead to salvation or madness?
Master Splinter and Leonardo work out their differences this month in the pages of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #36. The story is from Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, and Tom Waltz with Waltz handling the script. Mateus Santolouco, Mark Torres, and Cory Smith handle art with Ronda Pattison providing colors. Shawn Lee rounds things out with lettering. The Turtles have been on an incredible hot streak lately, but does this month’s entry keep the record going?
Leonardo and Splinter have been debating about what their next move should be. Splinter is sure that Shredder needs to be taken out and taken out fast, but Leonardo thinks Donatello has a point about Krang and how the imminent threat he presents is a lot more imminent than Splinter would like to admit. While Leonardo is respectful of his father, he does disagree with him. That’s a first and it’s a little troubling consider his recent return to the light side after some brainwashing at the hands of Shredder. Things take a complicated turn when the Rat King emerges and uses Leo and Splinter’s debate against them. Who is this mysterious figure? What does he need Leo and Splinter for anyway? Has Leo really shaken off Shredder’s hold on him?
Waltz writes a more focused issue. While there is a secondary story of sorts with Casey and the O’Neil’s, this is a story solely about Leo, Splinter, and the Rat King. Its pinpoint focus makes for a dramatic story, but there are a few slow pages that take a while to pick up steam. The ending more than makes up for it though. This issue has a different feel to it for a lot of reasons, mainly the pacing and more centralized story, but the ending throws you for a loop and highlights how wrong the Turtles have been over the past few months. Santolouco, Torres, and Smith’s art is top notch. The pages featuring the Rat King playing his deadly games and singing his songs are beautiful with highly detailed borders that play on the music motif with its gilded picture frame boxes. The Rat King himself has a really freaky, unsettling look that works well for the character. He’s more of a cerebral threat, but he has a very weird look about him that automatically tells you he’s dangerous. The two-page spreads used for the fight sequences really gives things a tense and almost cinematic vibe. Pattison’s colors are spot on as always. Things go from bright and vibrant to more muddied and grim as we go deeper into the sewers and the layer of the Rat King. There’s a lot going on here and Pattison handles it all with a beautiful flourish.
Bottom Line: I said it during City Fall, but this really is a golden age for Turtles fans. This is one of most consistently enjoyable books that somehow manages to continuously build itself up one issue after the next. 4/5
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