Written by: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, and Tom Waltz
Art by: Mateus Santolouco, Mike Henderson, and Ronda Pattison
Published by IDW Publishing
Release Date: June 18, 2014

The Turtles continue to build an army against Shredder in issue #35 with Mikey and Raph going to Hob, the mutant alley cat, and Slash, the towering snapping turtle, for assistance. The story largely takes place in Hob’s apartment as both sides deal with the moral crisis of creating more mutants, using Slash as the first subject. There are cutaways to Casey Jones, as he faces a more physical crisis in Hun and The Purple Dragons. These segments make up majority of the action sequences in the comic.

The writing angle of TMNT #35 was well handled. The ongoing continuity is known for mixing serious moments with comedic breaks, and this issue is no different. The conflict over how to build the mutant army is the focus of the issue and rightfully so. It carries a weight to it that you often don’t see in comics. There is some legit morale conflicts presented to the characters about whether or not it is right to experiment on Slash. It’s compelling to read.

Tom Waltz delivered a script that made this plot-line matter. While largely “talking heads,” the dialogue packed a punch. There are no true throwaway lines present. Everything feels meaningful, even the comic relief of Pigeon Pete’s “Hi I’m Pigeon Pete!” is necessary, as to break the tension that is mounting between heavy rhetoric.

The pacing of the comic was balanced. No segment — whether the meeting with Hob or Casey’s showdown at the cemetery — lasts too long or comes up too short. At no point did the comic drag its feet. Transitions were done with well-placed intention, often describing the panel before/after and the current panel at the same time. It stitched up both plot-lines in a way that is just well executed. The pacing is not the greatest thing to grace the four-color page, but there is great value in the expert execution that is on display here. The writing on the whole was masterfully executed. It provided a compelling read that I couldn’t put down.

The art throughout the issue complements the writing to much success. Mateus Santolouco is the primary artist on the issue, with Mike Henderson on a touching flashback page involving Casey and his mother. The latter’s contributions were well done and bring in an emotion to the segment — a calm before the storm that is about to unfold. As for Santolouco, he knocks it out of the park. The focus of the comic involves the characters standing around the room and talking, often some of the more difficult scenes for artist to pull off. Santolouco delivers the goods using a variety of different angles and layouts that control the flow of conversation.

His work isn’t just strong in the meeting segments either; the action-packed showdown is just as strong. The layouts used in these segments move from wide to tight panels and back frequently. There is no stagnation here or repetition. The action scenes feature well-scripted fight choreography and no break in sequence. It is straight-forward and easy to follow.

The figure work in TMNT #35 does bear mentioning. Santolouco gives the characters emotion in myriad of ways. Characters display emotion in gestures and facial expressions. He makes the characters look dynamic without breaking the anatomy in ways that most artists do. The expressions are great and powerful, conveying the tone of the dialog and giving insight to the character’s emotions. There are some complaints here, though. The facial anatomy of some of the human characters is flawed. Casey Jones, for example, has eyes that are large, in the style of the artist, but it isn’t a good look. Jones has a putty face at times and it is off-putting. This complaint isn’t enough to sink this comic, and is merely minor.

Ronda Pattison provides bright colors to the protagonist of the book. The colors are not muddled by lighting effects and fit the book. There is a sharp contrast between the characters and backgrounds. Pattison manages to avoid using the halo-effect to have the figures pop. That is refreshing and shows skilled use of color. Action scenes are often put through a filter to have them stand out from the page and place the reader in the sense of action. It draws attention to the key moments on the page and looks great.

Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #35 is a great read and a good jump on point for the new reader. Nothing is lost to the new reader with everything being explained through well-placed exposition and flashbacks. The scripting by Tom Waltz and story by Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, and Tom Waltz, is fantastic and compelling to read. The art by Mateus Santolouco and Ronda Pattison is top-notch. It fits the story, interesting to look at, and tells a story on its own. If you aren’t reading this series, you are doing yourself a disfavor. Pick up this issue and the trades. You will not regret it. In fact, issue #35 is a great jump-on point.

The Verdict: 8.5/10



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One Comment;

  1. Lemmy mendoza said:

    This is one of my favorite comics. I love all the mirage studios stuff & I’m psyched that IDW has followed a similar path while still doing their own thing. I heard IDW may be reprinting the image comics run too.