Years of storytelling have built to this moment. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100 not only wraps up the City at War arc, but serves as a closer to over a hundred comics including the ongoing series, mini-series, maxi-series, one-shots, and tie-ins. So, does it stick the landing? Absolutely.
There is so much going on in TMNT #100, however it never feels overwhelming or confusing. Writer Tom Waltz seamlessly juggles multiple story threads, weaving them through one another to create this beautiful tapestry of a narrative. He ties in the recently concluded Shredder in Hell mini-series as well as callbacks to early TMNT stories in this impressive package.
This issue moves at a breakneck speed. It’s a blockbuster of a comic. If it was a movie, I would be chowing down on popcorn with my eyes wide. Hell, that’s basically how I read it anyway. While some elements work independently of one another, they all really come together in a big way. This book could have just been wall-to-wall action and it would have delivered a satisfying story. It hits those marks and intersperses them with incredible character work including some personal moments that will bring a tear to your eye.
Also, there’s a dragon! Kitsune’s plan to resurrect her father using Shredder’s body as a vessel comes to pass with a literal dragon coming through to our world. Artists Dave Wachter and Michael Dialynas, two of the preeminent TMNT artists, turn in some phenomenal work in this monumental issue. The dragon is definitely a highlight, rising through fire and brimstone to terrorize the city.
The two artists have different styles but both fit this world well. Usually jumping between artists in a single issue can be a little jarring, but that’s not the case here. Since both of them have so firmly established themselves with these characters and this universe, it was more of a seamless transition between them. Other artists including Mateus Santolouco, Adam Gorham, Dan Duncan & Cory Smith all contributed some work to TMNT #100 in some way as well, working towards an unparalleled level of quality.
The powerhouse of artwork is complimented and amplified by colorist Ronda Pattison, aided by Bill Crabtree. That dragon I mentioned earlier? You better believe you can feel the heat and intensity coming off of it in fiery yellows, oranges, and reds. It’s a nuclear bomb covered in scales.
Although we’re dealing with an apocalypse level threat and literal gods, Pattison keeps the Turtles grounded in reality. They’re still the same grim and gritty characters we’ve known for 35 years. They roll with the punches and do what’s right, regardless of the monsters that might be staring them down.
TMNT #100 is an emotional roller coaster, taking us through excitement, terror, and sadness. Letterer Shawn Lee has a hand in this with some expert level work. There are subtle moves made with the word balloons to convey more intensity or show a weakened state. It really adds to the overall experience.
Where other publishers might have used this big issue #100 to close out this iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, IDW Publishing is keeping this going and I am so happy for it. Yes, this issue closes out not only a chapter in the lives of these characters, but a years long epic. It also opens the door for the next hundred issues of the series with a number of amazing ideas that I can’t wait to see play out. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is better than ever and this issue is proof.