Review – TMNT #85 (IDW Publishing)

TMNT #85
  • Writing - 8.8/10
  • Art - 7.2/10
  • Overall - 8/10


Story: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz & Bobby Curnow
Script: Tom Waltz
Artist: Brahm Revel
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Maturity Rating: Teen
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release: August 22. 2018

After the battle with the Rat King, the Turtles need some downtime, but when you protect the “City that Never Sleeps” there is always something going on!

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The Return of Leatherhead in TMNT #85

Fresh off their battle with the Rat King, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles needs some downtime. While Baxter Stockman gears up for his run for Mayor of NYC, April O’Neil attempts to track down all the mouser and flybots Dr. Stockman so “generously” donated freely to rid the city of its rat problems. In her search, April discovers something more monstrous than rats have come back into New York. It is up to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to find out why Leatherhead has returned in TMNT #85.


TMNT #85 Cover Artist: Kevin Eastman
TMNT #85 (IDW Publishing) Cover by Kevin Eastman

There is a lot of stuff going on in TMNT #85 and it has all set up some pretty fantastic stories. First, we dig more into April O’Neil working with Baxter Stockman at the TCRI facilities. It is a great dynamic between the two and now that Dr. Stockman is considering running for Mayor of NYC it opens up a lot of new story points.

We also catch up from the previous issue where the Turtles dropped off the orphan kids at the only place they knew could keep them safe, the Master Splinter-led Foot Clan! This shows that while the Turtles are still at odds with their father, ultimately, they still trust him. Also, it seems resident Chunin Jennika is in charge of these new kids, which leads to some funny plot points. The ongoing budding relationship between her and Casey Jones is touched on.  I can see this leading to some drama in the future. Not only between Casey and April but with the Turtles as well.

That is not even touching on the main story in TMNT #85 which focuses on Leatherhead back in NYC. He has gone a little bit crazier than normal and the giant mutated alligator is always a handful for the brothers. The writing team continues to catch the voices of the brothers perfectly and they continue to let them grow and evolve throughout this series. TMNT #85 almost feels like a one-and-done type story, but it sets up an ongoing story arc in a nice subtle way.


Brahm Revel takes over art duties for TMNT #85. He is a pretty familiar artist in the TMNT comic book world. His loose, sketchy styling fits well in this issue. Revel does the more action/ninja scenes extremely well. His skinnier and sleeker character designs look beautiful as they almost dance across the pages. Revel also does some delightful cartooning and facial expressions in TMNT #85. The emotion and expressions he puts on Leatherhead are wonderful and he gets some good “acting” out of the human characters as well.

My only hang-ups with Revel’s art are that he makes characters legs really small. On the Turtles it looks okay if they are in more action poses or scenes, but when they are in the background or standing it looks a little odd. I don’t think those small legs are going to hold up Leatherhead’s massive body, either. I am also not a big fan of the Turtles’ perfectly rounded heads; no crevices or indentions, they are just perfectly round.

Those are some small nitpicks but overall the art in TMNT #85 is good. Revel structures action scenes nicely and the pacing is well done. Ronda Pattison, as always, does a tremendous job on colors. I don’t mention him a lot but Shawn Lee on letters does some fantastic work on this series and always delivers great work. 


TMNT #85 is an issue jam-packed with A, B, and C plots that are all equally interesting. This issue felt a lot longer than 23 pages in a great way. I cannot praise the writing team enough on how they keep developing these characters in this world and have let them change throughout the run of this series. TMNT #85 sets up a lot of interesting story points that I can’t wait to see unfold. The art is good even though I have some minor hang-ups, but I still love Brahm Revel’s dynamic, sketchy style.  It brings a nice new “flavor” to the TMNT IDW world.

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