Review: Closure, Karate, And Punk Rock In ‘TMNT #105’

by James Ferguson

The Ninja Turtles are once again in New York City, but it’s very different than the one the called home for years. A whole section of the city has been changed into Mutant Town, cordoned off for everyone that was transformed by Old Hob’s mutagen bomb. For the first time in their lives, the Turtles can walk out in the open without fear, but that doesn’t mean their lives are without danger.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #105 serves as a sense of closure for the heroes in a half shell. They are finally ready to put their grief from their father’s death behind them and move on with the next steps in their lives. Writer / artist Sophie Campbell shows how this is the day of a new day for them all as their new status quo is cemented.

This issue is light on action, but it more tan makes up for it with heart. Each Turtle gets some time to shine, including Jennika who is perhaps the most comfortable in her new skin and her new surroundings. She has been integral in pulling the others out of their depression and showing them the good they can do in Mutant Town.

Campbell’s artwork brings out this warm quality with these characters. You see their moods shift, literally turning those frowns upside down. This isn’t to say that they just get over it. They find a way to honor Splinter by opening a karate dojo and helping people, which is definitely something that their father would have wanted them to do. They also officially welcome Alopex to the clan which is long overdue.

Colorist Ronda Pattison brings out this tone with expert precision. If you compare issue #101 to this one, you’ll see a much brighter palette. That’s where that warmth comes in. Smiles are popping and they’re lighting up the page.

Pattison also does some great work in the opening pages showing the Turtles enjoying themselves at a music show. Each panel is shaded a different color, mirroring the mood of the characters shown there. Much is said without a lick of dialogue here as we can understand what is going on and the feelings of each hero based on the palette used. When the dialogue does come in, letterer Shawn Lee delivers it in a similarly welcoming fashion, meshing well with the rest of the comic.

Where this arc serves as an epilogue of sorts for the 100 issues that came before it, it also paves the way for what’s next for the Turtles. It leaves off with quite a cliffhanger, getting the Turtles back to some of their crazy adventures. While things like aliens and mutants are par for the course for these characters, what has really kept them going is the family dynamic. That is on full display with Campbell’s run so far, perhaps more so than ever before. This arc has reinvigorated my love for this franchise.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #105 from IDW Publishing is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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