Tristan Jones, Mark Torres, and Jay Fotos have done something amazing with a rather ridiculous tie-in to a rather ridiculous IDW event.
To catch us all up to speed (you can also read my previous review here): Something’s been happening in the deep recesses of the New York sewer system and the turtles aim to find out what’s causing it. Creepy monsters appear and end up capturing Leo while putting the rest of the turtles in peril.
Once again, the issue centers around Donatello’s perspective, but all of the turtles except maybe Raphael get equal screen time. Each turtle has a strong character moment including one of the most badass panels for Leonardo that I’ve seen in a long time. The writing by Tristan Jones remains strong throughout with some freakiness and some humor.
Mark Torres’s art is fantastic continually reminding us of what would happen if the turtles were in the Hellboy universe. It’s blocky and works with a lot of shadows. At one point, the turtles face a monster of massive scale. Typically, things just look larger in comic books but there’s not much change in the proportions. Torres counters this by making this thing look huge in comparison to the turtles. It’s really quite an impressive feat. To Tristan Jones’s credit, he handles the turtles by having them face such a large beast with a lot of grace. The turtles show no fear, but there’s some slight trepidation.
Jay Fotos must also get recognition for his coloring work. He mixes a flat style of coloring with a slight gradient blending of colors. The effect has a very strong color palette while remaining fairly limited. Each beat of the story features some interesting colors and he definitely bumps the artwork to its full effect.
Unfortunately, the issue was not as strong as the previous one. The whole idea of facing an unknowable foe is lost when Donatello puts two and two together. The mystery is gone and it is more of the turtles fighting. I’m sure reading the two issues back to back would alleviate this, but, as a single issue, this one is just a bit weaker.
The ongoing series needs to take a few notes from Tristan and the rest of the team because they crafted a Ninja Turtles story on par with one of Mirage’s greats in two issues.