After an excellent first act that focuses on Splinter, the Turtles, April, and Casey coming together as a family, “Sins of the Father” brings Shredder’s and Krang’s respective plans into the light. Oroku Saki recognizes Splinter as his enemy from a lifetime ago and seeks his destruction as he expands the Foot Clan’s reach. Krang seeks dominion over the rebels who fight to keep his people away from Dimension X—and he brings Baxter Stockman further into his camp to work on his secret weapon. Meanwhile, the Turtles deal with finding a safe base of operations and another mutant escapee whose prime directive is their destruction.
There are a lot of moving parts to the Turtles’ story—but four arcs into the series, that’s to be expected. Eastman and Waltz’s TMNT run focuses heavily on character and relationship; for example, Raph and Casey have a standing patrol night so they can hang out and fight crime, because they’re best friends. April knew the Turtles and Splinter back when they were lab animals, and she tutors Casey. How those relationships twist and evolve drive this run as much as plot does. The Micro-Series issues fill in events that happen between issues of the ongoing while focusing on individual characters on their own. These issues are every bit as entertaining as the flagship title and help to show aspects of characters outside of an ensemble environment. The result of all of this is a sort of Platonic ideal of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—it’s instantly familiar and, I would argue, the best version of the property.
Solid art bolsters the series’ stellar storytelling. The ongoing, drawn by Andy Kuhn and colored by Ronda Pattison, suggests the gnarled, pulpy style of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but smooths it out into a something between that and the ubiquitous ‘80s cartoon. Art takes center stage during the series’s many fight sequences. Each of the Micro-Series issues has its own art team, mixing up styles depending on the kind of story it wants to tell—but they all look great.
The trick to a successful revival of a childhood franchise is to take the way you remember the series—or the way you remember it making you feel—and finding a way to translate that to the page. Rather than try to recreate what has happened in the past or rely on nostalgia, Eastman, Waltz, Kuhn, and company have built a new iteration of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that is as good as you remember it being in your childhood. If you’ve ever been a fan of those heroes on the half-shell, you’ll enjoy their current ongoing.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 4: Sins of the Fathers (#13-16)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series, Vol. 2 (Splinter, Casey Jones, April O’Neil, Fugitoid one-shots)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The IDW Collection, Vol. 2 (#13-20; Casey Jones, April O’Neil, Fugitoid, Krang, Baxter Stockman one-shots; The Secret History of the Foot Clan #1-4)
Writers: Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz (13-16), Eric Burnham (Splinter), Mike Costa & Ben Epstein (Casey Jones), Barbara Randall Kesel (April O’Neil), Paul Allor (Fugitoid) | Artists: Andy Kuhn (13-16), Charles Paul Wilson III (Splinter), Mike Henderson (Casey Jones), Marley Zarcone (April O’Neil), Paul McCaffrey (Fugitoid) | Colorists: Ronda Pattison (13-16), Jay Fotos (Splinter), Ian Herring (Casey Jones), Heather Breckel (April O’Neil), John-Paul Bove (Fugitoid) | Letterer: Shawn Lee