Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin is a five part comic series published by IDW. Written by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird and Tom Waltz, the idea for this comic has apparently been in their heads for years. Upon hearing the comic’s announcement, I was intrigued by an “Old Man Logan” type story involving the famous Quartet. I was introduced to the series from the blockbuster film made during the 90’s and even read the original comics later on down the line. The Last Ronin will mark the first time I take a look at a TMNT comic underneath their new publisher.
Story and Writing
The Last Ronin seemingly takes place in the distant future. New York is radically different and has undergone many changes. The city once rampant with 20th century vehicles is instead filled with hover cars and futuristic motorcycles. The foot clan that once operated in the shadows has full control of NYC and openly police the public using synthetic cyborgs. Despite all the change, a lone turtle still opposes and stands against the current institution, while also seeking revenge for his three fallen brothers.
The identity of this turtle is cleverly left ambiguous to the reader until the end of the issue. Wearing a black band, and yielding a pair of Tonfas the turtle also carries a katana, sai, staff and nunchuck. This leaves no hints to confidently confirm which brother survives. Personality wise the turtle displays a far more serious demeanor than usually exhibited. There isn’t even a “cowabunga” uttered during the entire comic, letting the reader know just how serious circumstances have become.
Art and Presentation
The Mirage comics still have the best visual presentation of the heroes for me. With that being said, I still love the art style and design of The Last Ronin. The colors overall are dark and bleak given the serious tone of the story. However, there are times when panels will explode with rich and vibrant hues. This is mainly apparent when the when our hero is moving through NYC.
The turtle himself is very well designed and the artist succeeds at capturing not only how time affects the turtle physically but strains him mentally as well. The once “teenage” turtle is now showing his age and sporting plenty of wrinkles.
While the wait may have been long, part one of The Last Ronin managed to grip me into it’s premise. Even if you don’t really read comics, I still highly recommend picking this up if you’re a fan of TMNT. If you understand the love, loyalty and strength of the brother’s relationship, that alone will help you feel the emotional weight of the story.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1 is available now. (Use the link to support the site through our Amazon Affiliate program.)
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