If you've been away from Ninja Turtles for awhile, there are some things you need to know.
The Shredder is dead, but the Foot Clan is not gone. But its remaining membership is fractured and other gangs and gang leaders are struggling for control. There are new threats like Hunter Mason and King Cobra on the streets. This issue introduces us to Lauren, an edgy reporter willing to take risks to reveal the truth about what's going on in the shadows. But how far will she go for her story? And what can the Ninja Turtles do to stop the rising tide of crime?
For the tens of millions of you who read my reviews religiously I'm sure you'll all remember that the last issue put out by this creative team received my highest rating yet, 4 and a half bullets out of 5. It goes without saying that I was eager to get my hands on this issue and see if it was still at the same level of quality. I'm happy to say that it does.
Tristan Jones has a talent for writing street level stories. He writes lively, interesting characters infused with dramatic tension. In this issue we follow a character that Jones created, Lauren, as she seeks out her story. We follow her as she follows it right into the heart of a criminal infested club and tries to find if "King Cobra" really exists. Once again Jones uses the Turtles sparingly but to excellent effect. Characters as out there as the turtles can easily overpower a story and make it hard to take seriously, but Jones use of them actually brings life to the issue and paints them not as cartoony characters, but as shadowy heroes.
Paul Harmons' art once again compliments Jones' story nicely here and may actually work best in the black and white, which once again helps to tone down the potentially over-the-top turtles. Harmons' work in this issue has actually gotten better as his work on the turtles themselves is actually more crisp and clean than it was in issue #56.
Alas, this is not a perfect issue, nor quite as good as #56 was. But this is not due to the writing or artwork. Rather, what was most disappointing to me was that this issue didn't focus on the turtles themselves. Lauren is a good character, and this is certainly an above average comic, but having read this team's last issue (which was focused on Casey Jones) I had been hoping to see them tackle the title characters themselves more directly. After all, Lauren is good, but she's just not as compelling a draw as the Turtles, or even Casey Jones. Even this downside to the issue is understandable though considering it is an anthology series.
I do certainly recommend picking this issue up. It's a good read on its own and will certainly be even better when read within the broader context of the Ninja Turtles' stories as they continue to unfold.
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