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Review – TMNT #103 (IDW Publishing)

TMNT #103 (IDW Publishing) cover B (detail) by Kevin Eastman
Overall
8.3/10
8.3/10
  • Writing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Art - 9/10
    9/10
  • Overall - 8.3/10
    8.3/10
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TMNT #103

Story Consulting: Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz
Script & Art: Sophie Campbell
Colorist: Rhonda Pattison
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Maturity Rating: Teen
Release Date: February 19, 2020

As the TMNT brothers continue to wade through their depression things are not looking good in Mutant Town as Old Hob is back to his ways.

 

Harsh Times in TMNT #103

Things are not looking good for Mutant Town in TMNT #103. Alopex is doing what she can to help feed and shelter the new mutants, as everyone is struggling to cope and survive as the outside world forgets about them. Jennika has also been trying to help as Raph deals with his grief by patrolling the streets. It seems Old Hob is back to his nefarious roots, making a deal with Koya, who has stayed with what apparently is Karai’s new Foot Clan. What is worse is, Old Hob is trading mutants for supplies! These three “weasel”-like creatures were to be traded before they escaped, and now are wreaking havoc across Mutant Town. 

TMNT #103 (IDW Publishing) cover A by Sophie Campbell
TMNT #103 (IDW Publishing) cover A by Sophie Campbell

While all this is happening, back in Northampton Michelangelo and Leonardo try to deal with their grief, but what can ever bring the brothers back together? Donatello makes a trip to see April, to try to get a sense of normalcy from a friend, and finds out that Mutant Town is in dire straits.

Writing

Sophie Campbell dives in strong with the emotions at the start of TMNT #103. We get a ton of the characters releasing their inner anger, sadness, and turmoil about the loss of Splinter. The first part of this issue is really what I have been wanting to see, and it delivers. We get to see these characters we have been following for so long at such a low point and Campbell does a superb job of letting all of their emotions out on the pages while progressing the story.

Again, I hate to keep harping on it, but I don’t care about Jennika in this main story format. They actually touched on that in this issue between her and Raph, but the whole time I keep thinking: she has her own mini-series coming up; we can deal with her issues there. I want more between the characters I have been following for 100 issues. 

The stuff between Old Hob and those “weasel” characters takes a very interesting twist in TMNT #103. Campbell took it in a direction I was not expecting, and it opens up a whole other can of worms. It opens up the story a bit and adds in some ideas that can be touched upon in future issues of the series.

Art

The art in TMNT #103 continues to be just amazing. I mean, you can’t really ask for anything better. Campbell’s style fits the story to a T. She has a way with these characters and nails every aspect of them. She is really the best person to help show off all the emotions that are coming through in this issue. From sadness and grief, disbelief and anger, Campbell captures it all astoundingly on the pages.

I love the character designs for these new mutants popping up in Mutant Town after Old Hob set off that bomb. Campbell does a fantastic job of making them all unique-looking with their own attitudes and such. I really love these three weasel characters. She makes them extremely creepy-looking, but also sweet and innocent, all at the same time. It is wonderful how she can manipulate the characters like that. One minute they look evil and terrifying; the next, you want to hug them.

Ronda Pattison continues to be phenomenal on colors. In all seriousness, I have really run out of words to say how great she is. It is a shame I don’t hear more people bring her name up when talking about great colorists. She really deserves an Eisner for her work.

Conclusion

TMNT #103 is another good issue, but I think it really makes an argument as to why the mini-series and series like TMNT: Universe are necessary. I feel like too much focus has been taken off our main characters. The story of Jennika and Mutant Town feels like it would fit better in her own mini-series coming up, or as a TMNT: Universe story. It would let this main series focus more on the characters we have been following all along, and also make me care more about Jennika and Mutant Town. TMNT #103 does focus a bit more than TMNT #101 and TMNT #102.

The best parts are when Leo and Mikey make a connection and Donatello goes to see April. It feels like we are getting short-changed a bit. I want more of the Turtles and how they are going to come back from this grief. Again, they do touch upon whole Jennika thing in this issue, but I still feel like the focus should be more centered on the core characters.

I think all of that makes this issue, in particular, feel really short. From jumping around to all the characters and what is happening, then adding in Mutant town, Old Hob and such, by the end of TMNT #103 I kind of felt like “that’s it?”. I know this sounds like I hated the issue, which I did not; it just feels like maybe the cast is a bit too big and the story is not focused enough at times.


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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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