Review – TMNT #89 (IDW Publishing)

TMNT #89
  • Writing - 8/10
  • Art - 8.8/10
  • Overall - 8.4/10
User Review
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Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, & Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Artist: Michael Dialynas 
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Maturity Rating: Teen
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: December 19, 2018

A lonely Rat lies awake on Christmas Eve. Hamato Yoshi thinks he has no reason to celebrate Christmas until three spirits come along to show his past, present, and future!


“Carol of the Bells” TMNT #89

It is Christmas time once again for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. No longer leader of the Hamato Clan, Splinter still presides over the Foot Clan that continues to put him at odds with his sons. Though their relationship has been healing some, Christmas is still not celebrated together, leaving the old Rat without his family for the holiday. Though lonely, Splinter will be visited by three spirits to show him the true meaning of Christmas in TMNT #89!


TMNT #89 (IDW Publishing) cover A by Michael Dialynas
Cover A by Michael Dialynas

Whether tv or comic book form, I love Christmas specials. It is always fun to see the holidays interpreted in our favorite media. TMNT #89 has a lot to live up to for me. A few years ago in TMNT #65, the team did a fantastic Christmas issue with the gang throwing a Christmas party and then Splinter sneaking in and dropping off presents for his sons even though they were still very much at odds.

TMNT #89 is obviously framed in the classic Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol with “ghosts” showing Splinter Christmas past, present and future. This was a pretty delightful little setup and it was fun to see this classic story told with the TMNT characters. It also fits the ongoing story of the series superbly well. The writing team did a great job of making this fit right in with everything going on in the series. The story does not feel out of place with the ongoing narrative. Having it tie in with everything currently going on with Splinter and his sons added that extra “tenderness” to the story.

The writing team did a very good job of catching that “Christmas” feeling with this issue. The ending to TMNT #89 is excellent and you really can’t help but smile and enjoy that final page! It is a great homage to A Christmas Carol. I think we have all seen different versions of this story across different formats. Tv shows, movies and everything in-between have done their version of the classic tale. My dad has his favorite movie version and I have mine as well. TMNT #89 does a fantastic job of playing with the story format of A Christmas Carol while throwing in its own twist.


I am super excited to see Michael Dialynas back on art in TMNT #89. I loved what he did in TMNT: Macro-Series Michelangelo #2 (in what I called one of the best TMNT stories ever). He continues to do some tremendous work in this issue as well. The story in TMNT #89 relies heavily on facial expressions and body language to get the story across, and Dialynas excels with this in his cartooning. You can see the joy, elation, horror, and sadness across Splinter’s face as he traverses the past, present and possible future of his life and the lives of his sons. Which is no easy feat, considering he is a giant anthropomorphic rat!

Dialynas also does some excellent work on a certain “ghost” character I won’t spoil. But the rags, chains and hollow eyes look excellent! I still continue to love his designs for the Turtle brothers as well. I talked about it a lot in my review of Mikey’s Macro-Series; the whole look for them looks excellent. He does some nice tweaks while continuing their classic looks. Ronda Pattison continues to just be crazy good on colors. I love the switch from brighter and darker colors as we move from past, present and possible future; the color changes really help set the mood. Then that ending—she pops off with some beautiful colorations for that scene.


TMNT #89 is another fantastic entry into this series and a wonderful Christmas issue. I love the weaving of A Christmas Carol into the ongoing TMNT drama. It fits perfectly and was a heartwarming story for the holidays. The art from Dialynas and Pattison was delightful! Dialynas has quickly become one of my favorite artists to see on this series and I am super excited he is staying on for a few more issues. Much like TMNT #65, this looks like it will be an issue I can go back to each year around the holidays and enjoy!

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