Oroku Saki – The Shredder. The main antagonist to Hamato Yoshi and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themselves shows his journey from death to life with an intimidating addition to this week’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Villains Micro-Series.
This story didn’t have much to do with the current IDW run Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles other than the fact you finally discover what happened with regards to Shredder’s reincarnation. This really was a well needed epilogue to ‘Secret History of the Foot Clan’, but in a way the story is not completely necessary to learn the character himself.
In this issue, Kitsune figures out that Oroku Saki is hiding something by his dismissive attitude towards Karai. He then explains to her the journey which he took to achieve reincarnation and to quite literally battle himself in the process. The moral of this story is that Okoku Saki will never change, he may resurrect again but he will be doomed to his soul being lost in the afterlife and eternally restlessly wandering.
One factor of this story stood out to me, a new aspect was shown which hasn’t been seen in any previous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics before – demons. Above ground the characters are knowledgeable to the fact there are aliens and mutants freely roaming earth, but Paul Allor has smartly not ruled out the concept that demons roam in the afterlife. Paul Allor has made this issue feel incredibly Japanese, especially the part where Oroku arrives in his afterlife and a Shinigami looking character is there waiting for him.
The writing style wasn’t the only thing that gave off a strong Japanese vibe, artwork by Dan Duncan showed gritty, sinister but beautiful art which fit in with the writing themes of the comic book perfectly. If it wasn’t for the familiar characters, the general feel of this comic book doesn’t have the structure of a regular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles spin-off comic, but that is incredibly refreshing and succeeded to that advantage.
There was only one part in this comic book that came across confusing as a reader, the subject of a painful death within death. It felt as if this particular afterlife was based on ‘Limbo’ or ‘Purgatory’ but realizing that it is heavily Japanese origin, Christian views as such would not make sense. There probably was a reasonable explanation to this but it was not clearly shown.
Ultimately, this issue was strong throughout. The Shredder, regardless what adaptation you look at has always been a cold and feared character, it was great to finally see some raw emotion from him.
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