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Review – TMNT Annual 2020 (IDW Publishing)

TMNT Annual 2020
Overall
7.2/10
7.2/10
  • Writing - 6.8/10
    6.8/10
  • Art - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Overall - 7.2/10
    7.2/10
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TMNT Annual 2020

Writer: Tom Waltz
Artist: Adam Gorham
Colorists: John Rauch & Michael Garland
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Maturity Rating: Teen
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: July 29, 2020

What has been happening outside of Mutant Town? Oroku Saki is back from the dead; what are his plans? What is Karai up to with the Foot Clan? What about the giant dead dragon in New York City? And what does the Rat King have to do with all of this?

 

Reign of the Rat King: TMNT Annual 2020

It is time to find out what is happening outside of Mutant Town in TMNT Annual 2020. We have been spending most of our time, rightly so, with the newly-formed Splinter Clan inside Mutant Town since issue #100 of TMNT. We have followed their struggle of losing father and mentor, Splinter. They have finally come back together to form the Splinter Clan. We have seen glimpses and heard rumors of what is happening outside the walls of Mutant Town. Now, in TMNT Annual 2020, we are given a full view.

There is a lot happening in the TMNT world that has yet to be touched on. Like the giant dead dragon inside New York City. What is Baxter Stockman up to as mayor? Freakin’ Oroku Saki, aka “The Shredder”, is back from the dead! What is he up to? Karai is leading a new Foot Clan. Oh, and Kang is also in the body of Leatherhead! Luckily the Rat King is here to take us on a sightseeing tour as he develops his own plan to take down our world.

Writing

TMNT ANNUAL 2020
TMNT Annual 2020 (IDW Publishing) cover by Adam Gorham

Tom Waltz takes us on this little adventure in TMNT Annual 2020. There is a lot of ground to cover even in an over-sized annual issue. I personally, and I think many other TMNT fans, have been wondering what else has been happening in the world since the bombastic issue #100, and this issue tries to tackle all of those. 

Now, the regular TMNT ongoing usually does a great job of sprinkling in information for various future plot points. But these past few issues have mainly been solely focused on Mutant Town and the TMNT brothers. We haven’t seen anything of Oroku Saki, Casey Jones, Harold and Libby, Kang, or Karai and the Foot Clan (besides Bludgeon and Koya). I think all this kind of drags down TMNT Annual 2020. There is just a little too much happening and being explained.

As a TMNT fan, I was excited to find out what was happening, and there are some good plot set-ups in TMNT Annual 2020, but it felt like a lot of stuff happening but also going nowhere at the same time. The dialogue didn’t really work well either for me, which is odd, as Tom Waltz has been with this series since the beginning. I think he was just trying to do too much with this book.

Art

I was excited to see Adam Gorham on TMNT Annual 2020. I don’t think I have gotten to review anything by him since New Mutants: Dead Souls (which is a highly underrated book) or gushing about his great covers for Jughead: The Hunger. There are things I liked and didn’t like art-wise that made TMNT Annual 2020 a bit of a mixed bag. For Gorham, I think some of the characters felt a little off. Oroku Saki and Karai looked a little bit odd and he usually has better character acting in his art. Also Koya, the giant bird mutant, just didn’t look good at all. Some panels and pages just felt “stiff”.

Now, Leatherhead with Krang has never looked more fearsome and just tremendously well done. Shredder battling demons in Hell was also some great panels and pages. The opening pages and the last part of the issue show what Gorham can do. Great movement, character acting, and layouts. There is just a mixed bag with some really great pages by Gorham and some so-so ones.

I don’t think the coloring work by John Rauch & Michael Garland did the art many favors, either. There is no credit given as to who colored what, but again, there are some good pages and some that aren’t so great. I really do not like the purple coloration they gave the Rat King in the first half of the issue; it just doesn’t fit his character at all. The coloring honestly really doesn’t fit for the first part of the issue when dealing with Oroku Saki and Karai. It just has a very odd look to it. When it switches to another part of the story, it looks much better, and it also coincides with Gorham’s art looking much better in the last part of the issue.

Conclusion

I was excited to get my hands on TMNT Annual 2020, as we would finally figure out what is happening out in the world of TMNT. The issue does deliver that, as Waltz details several future plot points. While it was interesting to see all that, the book was a bit of a slog. It felt like somebody telling me about stuff, but nothing really happening. The art had its highs and lows. I was expecting a little bit more from Gorham, as I generally enjoy his art. The art is not “bad” in TMNT Annual 2020 but it is a little inconsistent and the coloring does not do it any favors.

If you have been reading and following IDW’s TMNT then you will want and need to pick this issue up. It develops several future plot points and gets you caught up with what is happening since issue #100. But don’t expect it to be the most interesting read or hold your attention throughout the pages.


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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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