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Review – TMNT #102 (IDW Publishing)

TMNT #102 (IDW Publishing) cover B (detail) by Kevin Eastman
Overall
8.8/10
8.8/10
  • Writing - 8/10
    8/10
  • Art - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Overall - 8.8/10
    8.8/10
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User Review
5 (1 vote)

TMNT #102

Story Consulting: Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz
Script: Sophie Campbell
Artist: Sophie Campbell
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Maturity Rating: Teen
Release Date: January 29th, 2020

While the Turtle brothers continue to mourn the loss of their father, Splinter, in their own ways, things are not great in Mutant Town. Old Hob has turned the Mutanimals into a corrupt police force and no one is safe.

 

New & Old Threats in TMNT #102

The Turtle family continues to mourn in their own ways in TMNT #102. Raphael has become the “dark knight” of Mutant Town, taking his anger out with his fists. In Northampton, Donnie has pushed himself in his research and tech while the others isolate themselves. Leonardo has become somewhat of a botanist with his greenhouse and distracts himself with his plants. Mikey sulks around and stays in his bed, mostly kept company by his newfound cat, Klunk. While they all try to figure out life without their father, Mutant Town is in chaos. Cut off from the outside world, Old Hob has taken over. His new Crew of Mutanimals rule with an iron-like fist. While Alopex and Jennika try to help the newly-turned mutants with food, shelter, and protection, things only get worse.

Writing

TMNT #102 (IDW Publishing) cover A by Sophie Campbell
TMNT #102 (IDW Publishing) cover A by Sophie Campbell

I got a little more into the story with TMNT #102 than the previous issue. Though it did continue to feel a bit like a TMNT Universe story, it had more to do with the main brothers than TMNT #101. This is where the book shines, much like the previous issue. Sophie Campbell does a fantastic job of showcasing the grief of the family through her dialogue. She does some tremendous story work with the Turtles in Northampton.

The Mutant Town stuff is interesting as well, and Campbell does a good job of expanding on it. I wasn’t too keen on the focus on Jennika in the previous issue, but I feel that stems from me being completely invested in Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo, and Michelangelo’s story after losing Splinter. There are some nice subtle hints of things to come. No spoilers, but I do really like what Campbell & crew set up for future storylines.

I still do find myself wanting more with the Turtle brothers. We get more in this issue, but I wouldn’t mind the whole issue dealing with their depression and emotions. I am sure I would probably complain about that, too, but Campbell does it masterfully well.

Art

I am not sure what I can say about the art that I already haven’t. Campbell is putting her best work to date on the pages here. Some truly stunning artwork from beginning to end. Her character designs are delightfully well done and make you excited to see every different mutant in Mutant Town. She has some wonderfully creepy visuals, as well, in TMNT #102; she plays with shadows excellently well.

Campbell’s visual storytelling is top-notch. The grief, remorse, and melancholy sadness are delivered superbly well by her art. The story would not be the same without Campbell’s expressive characters and eye for detail. The amount of emotion and storytelling she gets from characters’ faces and body posture is perfect. You get how the characters are feeling just from looking at them. Also, this winter setting is fantastic. Campbell catches the cold bleakness of it all with wonderful background details.

Ronda Pattison, as always, is firing on all cylinders. Again, she has to be the most underrated color artist in the game. This winter setting with all the snow and ice cannot be an easy thing to color and Pattison catches it perfectly. I like how, while the dark and more depressing story is caught well, Pattison gives it a brightness that really works well with Campbell’s linework.

Conclusion

The story in TMNT #102 is starting to grow on me. This issue focused a little more on the four brothers, which the series had kind of gotten away from recently. I think TMNT might need to scale down a little on story and characters and focus more on the core group again for a little while, which it has started to do now.

The art is just honestly some of the best on the shelves right now. The visual storytelling is top-notch and is some delightful sequential work. The art does what good comic book art is supposed to do and enhances the storytelling experience.


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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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