I've barely read any TMNT comics at all in my life, but I was a huge fan of the franchise as a kid and still love the classic live action movie they made (I like to pretend there weren't any sequels). So I was both excited and nervous about reading this issue. I had two lucky breaks here. First, this issue was a perfect jumping on point for someone like me who wasn't familiar with what had been going on or the progression of the characters. This issue explains everything that's new without it interfering with the flow of the story. Second, this issue featured one of my favorite TMNT characters: Casey Jones.
Having read this issue I can't help but think I've been making a big mistake in not reading this series a whole lot sooner. If you're at all a fan of the Ninja Turtles, you'll love this issue that brings out the best that the franchise had to offer. The art is not as smooth and polished as most of what the big two put out, and it's in black and white (something that usually automatically means I won't buy it. Just my personal taste) but it's well drawn and helps bring a dark realism to the story. Harmon makes all of the characters recognizable, brings feeling to the expressions in the characters, and impact to the action.
So, yes, the art is excellent and fitting for this story, but where this issue really shines is the writing. Tristan Jones reveals to us a traumatic experience from Casey Jones past in this issue that helps give the character a ton more depth and helps explain why he is as he is. Along with that we're introduced to a new villain by the name of Hun (who apparently was introduced in the 2003 cartoons) that makes for a very interesting physical opponent for our heroes. Tristan's makes good use of both plot and dialogue to progress the story and uses the action well, both giving us a good dose in this issue while leaving it open for more in issues to come. The turtles themselves are not in the spotlight in this story but neither does Tristan ignore the title characters. We do see them alongside Casey and they are used memorably there (One of Raphael's moves was my favorite).
Overall this was one of my favorite comics in the last while. It wasn't groundbreaking, but it re-acquainted me with some characters I loved years ago and brought them into a story and setting that was mature enough for me to enjoy. If you see a copy on the shelves, I highly recommend picking this one up.
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