You didn’t think this would be easy, did you? Could Karai come in and peacefully take over the Foot Clan from Splinter? That’s what it looked like at the end of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #91, but nothing could be that simple. There’s a tense discussion of each individual element and things look good until one sticking point comes up. What’s most interesting is how this topic was brought up in an argument between Splinter and the Turtles previously and it served to open up the Master’s eyes to the dark path he was heading down.
Writer Tom Waltz makes this seemingly quiet discussion between two rival factions nothing short of riveting. While Splinter and Karai seem to be in control, the same cannot be said for their generals. Both sides are bristling for a fight and looking for any excuse to start one.
This isn’t the only exciting element in TMNT #92. It’s very clear that we’re building towards something big as the series nears its milestone 100th issue. We check in with Casey Jones, Baxter Stockman, Alopex, Agent Bishop, the Mutanimals, and more. Each has their own narrative that’s slowly coming together.
Bishop’s strange and uneasy alliance with Metalhead is the most frightening plot thread. These two are dangerous enough on their own so I can’t imagine what kind of carnage they’ll unleash if they joined forces. They talk about their targets in a clinical manner, like they were pieces on a game board. It’s a negotiation.
Letterer Shawn Lee uses a blocky, robotic font which is perfect for Metalhead’s speech. It’s stilted and uncaring. Despite this, Bishop somehow comes off as even more inhuman. This could be because you can’t see his eyes behind his dark sunglasses.
Although the action is light in TMNT #92, it still has some of the most visually interesting imagery around. Artist Michael Dialynas gets to the heart of each and every character, giving us a deeper look into their personality and what makes them tick. A great example of this is in the meeting between Splinter and Karai where the Turtles are lined up behind their father. Raphael is grumpy and glaring. Michelangelo is innocent and curious. Leonardo is quiet and stoic. Donatello is nervous and uncomfortable. All of this is gleaned from how they’re looking at those across from them.
Karai wields a powerful weapon called the Kira No Ken aka the Sword of Hate. When she unsheathes it, the blade is like an explosion of blood. Colorist Ronda Pattison makes this pop on the page with an electric energy. It sprays this red around, giving the appearance that it’s painful to even touch, let alone wield in combat. This shows how close Karai is to the edge.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is like a powder keg right now. Any one of the various elements at play could be the match that blows everything up. Judging by recent events, it’s clear the creative team is pulling no punches. No one is safe. This makes for such a tense and exciting read. I am going to enjoy the march towards TMNT #100.