New York City is a war zone. Karai has drawn first blood, impaling Jennika with her sword, but that’s just one of the threats the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles face. Metalhead has joined forces with the EPF and together, they’re hunting the Turtles. Raphael has teamed up with the Mutanimals to take down Null. The Foot Clan is holding off Karai’s rebellion. There’s a lot going on as this white-knuckled storyline really heats up.
“City at War” is really hitting its stride in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #95. This is a tense book to read from beginning to finish as the characters are always in danger and from multiple fronts. They might have escaped Karai, but that put them right in Metalhead’s crosshairs. Saving Jennika is their number one priority, but they can’t do that when they’re fighting off the EPF.
This issue ends on a big reveal which you can definitely see coming. It is a game changer for some characters and it will be interesting to see how this affects relationships moving forward, that is if everyone survives this war. Despite knowing where this particular plot point is going in TMNT #95, we’re still plugged into the story. This is blockbuster movie level action.
Artist Dave Wachter paints Metalhead as a fierce and powerful villain. He towers over the Turtles and lacks any emotion whatsoever. It’s alarming to see him stand in front of Donatello, drowning any hope the Turtle had of defeating this monster in combat. The relationship between these two is particularly interesting as Metalhead’s personality is a warped version of Donnie’s. It’s basically an unfeeling version of Donatello, ruthless and efficient.
Letterer Shawn Lee further differentiates these two with Metalhead’s unwavering, robot speech. His words show up in blocky, computer-like font, driving home the idea that this is the farthest thing from human.
Wachter keeps the action exciting throughout the entire issue, bouncing between each character in this battle to give us a 360 degree view. No one is forgotten and everyone has a part to play. As the action heats up, the panel layout varies with non-traditional shapes and intriguing angles.
Colorist Ronda Pattison creates a healthy mix of shadows and grit with bombastic energy in this battle. This blends the street level ideals of the Turtles with the science fiction aspect of Metalhead in an entertaining fashion. The pages are alight with reds and yellows as the robot presses his attack alongside the EPF. There are times where the background is washed out, replaced by a bright color to add to the intensity of the scene.
There’s a good amount of heart within all this combat. The Ninja Turtles and their allies are not just fighting for their lives. They’re fighting for the life of Jennika. She’s in a delicate and vulnerable position right now and they’ll lose her with one wrong move. Writer Tom Waltz makes the fight personal, adding an additional emphasis on every blow the Turtles strike.
We’re still in the early stages of “City at War” and it’s already one of the most exciting and riveting storylines in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This is a gauntlet of some of the Turtles fiercest villains. If they’re not careful, they could lose everything before the night is over. The way things are going, they’ll be lucky to make it out of this in one piece.