Reviews

Review – TMNT #112 (IDW Publishing)

TMNT #112 (IDW Publishing) cover A (detail) by Jodi Nishijima
  • Writing - 6.2/10
    6.2/10
  • Art - 6/10
    6/10
  • Overall - 6.1/10
    6.1/10

TMNT #112

Story Consulting: Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz
Script: Sophie Campbell
Artist: Jodi Nishijima
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Maturity Rating: Teen
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: December 9, 2020

Mutant Town has a lot of varying opinions and clashes. With Old Hob and his Mutanimals, the Splinter Clan, and people trying to deal with turning into mutated animals, tension is about to boil over.

Overall
6.1/10
6.1/10
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Self-Sabotage in TMNT #112

The amazing tease from the previous issue doesn’t come up in TMNT #112, but tensions start to run high in Mutant Town. Internal squabbles and debates arise as the people of Mutant Town start to separate into groups and factions. Mutants that were once humans, Mutants that were once just animals, Old Hob and the Mutanimals’ supporters and detractors. And the Splinter Clan is caught in the middle of it all. Maybe the humans on the outside do not need to destroy Mutant Town. Its citizens might just do it themselves from the inside. Plus everyone’s favorite vigilante, Casey Jones, comes to visit! Goongala! He doesn’t quite get the warm reception he was expecting. 

Writing

TMNT #112 (IDW Publishing) cover B by Kevin Eastman
TMNT #112 (IDW Publishing) cover B by Kevin Eastman

I currently torn with TMNT #112 and just the current story arc overall. Sophie Campbell had a great tease in the previous issue with Tokka and Rahzar! It was totally unexpected and such a surprise. I can’t wait to see what Campbell does with the classic characters. There are a lot of interesting topics brought up, as well, in the issue.

TMNT #112 does not deal with that tease, which is okay. I like the slow build-up to it. The issue deals more with the tension running high in Mutant Town and how the citizens are starting to “splinter” into different factions. There are a ton of interesting ideas and thoughts brought up in this issue. Dealing with characters who were once human and mutated and how they personally feel about it. How they feel about what Old Hob did and how they feel toward Mutants that were never human. Campbell brings up some interesting points and I love how she shows both sides of the coin to each argument brought up.

While all those thoughts and points are interesting, the general story flowing through this is just very uninteresting. TMNT #112 seems to get lost in all of those thoughts and ideas. The story goes missing in all of it. Honestly, since issue #105 the story has continued to seem to just be treading water, or very disjointed. I keep waiting for it to pick up, and at times, it has, but then will flounder again.

Growing Pains

At times it feels Campbell has a little trouble juggling so many different characters. I think that may be a problem in general now. Not only do we have the four main Turtles, but now Jennika and Alopex are thrown into the mix with all of their relationships. Plus Casey Jones, April, and the new characters introduced in Mutant Town. It is all a little much to fit into one 20-page comic book.

It seems Campbell wants to do a lot with a lot of different characters and she has some great ideas that are brought up. With all the characters introduced, and different status quo, the story narrative for me has been all but lost, recently.

Art

Jodi Nishijima continues on art duties for TMNT #112. While she is a very talented artist and I have liked some of the things she has done, I just do not think her style fits IDW’s TMNT. I have always loved that they have rotated artists for different story arcs, and there have been hits and misses throughout the 100+ issues. I just think Nishijima’s style is a tad bit too “soft” for the series. There is also a lack of background detail that I am personally a stickler for, as well.

For me personally, it just does not fit the series or this story arc in general. Nishijima does do fantastic character design and I have really enjoyed seeing her detail the different citizens of Mutant Town; the art just does not detail the emotion or fill me with any sense of excitement or drama. It is almost just too plain looking at times. The panel layouts, visual angles, or “shots” just do not help evoke the emotions in the story.

Another small gripe. The Turtles should always wear masks, just from an aesthetic point of view. They just look too strange without them. Those round turtle heads just look too odd without the breakup of the masks. I hate to complain—this is not talking about Nishijima as an artist in and of herself—I just do not think it fits here.

Conclusion

I can’t help but be disappointed in TMNT #112. I was excited for this issue. After the great tease in TMNT #111, I was excited to see Campbell dig deeper into a story. This issue strays away from that and, while it does bring up some supremely interesting topics, it all seems to get lost. The art just does not work for me. While it has a solid visual look to it, nothing is memorable or stands out from a visual standpoint. It also does not really help tell the story.

It seems to me at least that IDW’s TMNT is continuing to struggle to find its groove after issue #100. Something is missing; it seems to have lost that strong storytelling narrative that was there throughout the first 100 issues and through all the mini-series, one-shots, and so on. I am not exactly sure what has changed. But TMNT has gone from a book that I couldn’t miss month-to-month, to something I forget is still coming out.


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