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Review – TMNT #101 (IDW Publishing)

TMNT #101 (IDW Publishing) cover B (detail) by Kevin Eastman
Overall
7.8/10
7.8/10
  • Writing - 6/10
    6/10
  • Art - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Overall - 7.8/10
    7.8/10
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TMNT #101

Writer: Sophie Campbell
Story Consults: Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz
Artist: Sophie Campbell
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Maturity Rating: Teen
Release Date: January 8, 2019

There are a lot more mutants in town since Old Hob let off his Mutagen bomb. Meanwhile, the Turtles struggle, dealing with the death of their father.

 

New Beginnings in TMNT #101

The follow up to the bombastic issue #100 is here in TMNT #101. A lot has changed in the TMNT Universe. Master Splinter made the ultimate sacrifice to save his family and the world from the coming of the apocalyptic dragon god. He also made amends with Oroku Saki (who is back from the dead!). If saving the world and losing Master Splinter was not enough for the gang, they still have more problems. Baxter Stockman is the mayor of NYC. Oh, and Old Hob turned a bunch of innocent people into mutants. Now a quarantine area, “mutant town”, is controlled by the EPF. While the Turtles struggle with their own inner turmoil, new threats arise. 

Writing

TMNT #101 (IDW Publishing) cover A by Sophie Campbell
TMNT #101 (IDW Publishing) cover A by Sophie Campbell

Sophie Campbell steps up as the first writer to helm IDW’s TMNT main series after the long tenure of Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, and Tom Waltz. I do not envy her position as she has a lot to deal with in TMNT #101. It feels as though TMNT #101 is a tale of two stories. I may have some very slight spoilers ahead, but I will still remain mostly spoiler-free for the review.

So, first, we have a time jump, which I think is a very smart idea. It would be too much to deal with as a direct aftermath story and it gives a little room to breathe. The first part of the issue feels a lot like the “Northampton” storyline after “City Fall”, which Campbell also did the art for years ago. It is really wonderfully written by Campbell. She delicately deals with each of the Turtles as we figure out what has happened after Splinter’s death and how they are coping. It has a wonderful doleful, somber tone.

I loved how Campbell framed it from Donatello’s perspective as he writes about what each of them is going through. Campbell does an excellent job with wording and really getting into the heads of the characters. She nails all of the emotions of the scenes and their feeling really come across and hit home. But halfway through TMNT #101 it switches and, for me. not for the better.

About half of the story deals with the TMNT group and the aftermath of everything. The second half of TMNT #101 turns into a Jennika story that lost my interest entirely. We switch from the main Turtles to Jennika and the story basically revolves around her, and it was honestly just not interesting. I found myself wondering about the Turtles and other characters. I kept thinking “Jennika is getting a mini-series soon; why do we need this?” It left me wanting more of the main TMNT characters that I have been following for 100 issues. 

Art

The art by Sophie Campbell in TMNT #101 is absolutely stunning. I talked about in my review of her TMNT Universe issues how impressed I was with how her art has evolved since the “Northampton” storyline, and she has taken it up another level, it seems. She gets to show off some tremendous cartooning throughout the issue. Her characters look fabulous; she gets an amazing amount of detail and emotion out of them.

I love the amount of details she puts in backgrounds, as well. The environment surrounding the characters is full and lively and really helps bring the story to life on the pages. From the smallest little details in the room, it all adds up to some incredible visuals. She also sequences her action scenes delightfully well. I love the “movement” and fluidity she presents on the pages. You are also never going to hear me complain about seeing Pepperoni in a winter jacket.

I always love Ronda Pattison on colors, and she works well with everyone, but I especially love when she colors Sophie Campbell’s work. The lighter, brighter tones just work incredibly well in TMNT #101. It is a winter setting for the story, and that is captured perfectly by the art and puts you right into the story.

Conclusion 

Man, I am really struggling with TMNT #101. There is a ton to love about this issue. Obviously, the art is incredible. From a visual standpoint I do not see how you can’t love this issue. It has some stunning details and everything just looks fantastic. The beginning story of the issue is also extremely well done. Campbell does a wonderful job of showing us how the family is dealing, and it was a somber beginning after the craziness that happened in the last issue.

I really just didn’t like the focus on Jennika. She is getting her own mini-series soon. Jennika running around mutant town, it just bored me. I want more of the other characters. I did start to have this feeling a few months ago that maybe IDW’s TMNT had a few too many characters and the focus has gotten away from the main crew, and that kind of came to a head in this issue. 


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About the author

Brent Jackson

Brent is happily married and an avid comic book consumer who loves nothing more than the smell of comics in the morning and diving through a long box of back issues. By day he is a nutritionist and has also been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He is probably not the coolest person you have ever met. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brentjackson30

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