Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100
Written by Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow and Tom Waltz
Art by Dave Wachter, Michael Dialynas, Mateus Santolouce, Adam Gorham, Dan Duncan, Cory Smith, Ronda Pattison and Bill Crabtree
Lettering by Shawn Lee
Published by IDW Publishing
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
Strap in for a rollercoaster ride as the team behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100 delivers a bombastic story for their 50-page landmark issue. With the Turtles split up and Splinter making a metaphysical last stand to stop a rampaging dragon, there’s a lot going on in this comic with many creative hands involved in the weaving together of the various story threads spinning out of the past few years. While there is a lot of meat to sink your teeth into, newer readers will certainly benefit from getting their hands on a copy of the Road to 100: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one-shot, which provides a concise synopsis of all of the different players and their stories leading up to this massive series resolution.
With so many different hands in the pot in terms of both writing and art, it would be easy to get pulled out of the story with shifts in tone, voice, or artistic styles. Given the nature of this issue’s focus on bringing together the different story arcs, however, these differences actually help delineate the individual threads. And with a 50-page issue, this proves an effective way to allow each story to have its own moments. The scenes with Bebop and Rocksteady are more slapstick and comedic, as one would expect - the dialogue feels as though it came direct from one of the animated shows, and the line art and colors takes on a brighter and more elastic approach. The scenes depicting Kitsune, Karai, and Shredder, however, take on a much sharper and fiery look - again, emphasizing where the real danger and stakes for this story lie.
By the end of the issue, it becomes clear just how ambitious the team was in what they sought to accomplish in terms of finding a form of resolution for each story most notably with Splinter and his dueling roles as father and leader of the Foot Clan, as well as the four brothers and their duties as family members all the while pursuing their own individual purposes in life. For these major players, we find a resolution to their arcs that feels satisfying, if a little bittersweet. Likewise, readers will find themselves facing some interesting foes from the past presented with some new opportunities for future stories.
Unfortunately, some of the characters on the main roster and the B-list do get a bit short-changed at the service of telling the full story of the splintered family being made whole. While the ever-simmering tensions between Leo and Raph get to play out in a poignant moment of understanding between the two alpha turtles, there aren’t many opportunities for the other brothers. We see a much more three-dimensional and mature Mikey looking out for some orphan children, but there isn't much time set aside to let this set of relationships shine, and Donny does little more than provide plot device support through providing a distraction to less important villains. Lower on the totem pole still, we see Hob and the Mutanimals, who get a few moments in the limelight, but ultimately, felt a bit glanced over as well despite setting of a mutagen bomb in the heart of the city - quickly forgotten in light of the dragon being set loose. It felt a little odd to be celebrating a significant milestone issue such as #100, and yet, April O’Neil was hardly a factor in the story, with even less time on the pages than Casey Jones, who gets a surprisingly meaty arc himself.
Overall, longtime fans of this series should find plenty of reasons throughout this story to move them - be it thrills and excitement or sombre moments of pause. Even those who have a more casual interest in the TMNT and want to see what these characters are up to will find plenty to recognize to keep their interest and even more questions raised that will encourage at least a few to stick around and see what happens next. There’s a lot to take in, and it can be a little dizzying at times to keep up with it all given how big and bombastic the team takes this story, but it should be a crowd-pleaser all the same.