Karai’s Deadly Plan Bears Fruit In TMNT #97

by James Ferguson

Karai already drew first blood in her war to regain control of the Foot Clan. Now her grand plan comes to fruition, striking when Splinter’s forces are at their most vulnerable. If you thought “City at War” was bloody before, just wait until you read Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #97.

It has been fascinating to watch Karai’s journey so far and most recently, her transformation into a top-tier villain. Artist Michael Dialynas depicts her as confident, conniving, and downright evil. She has Splinter right where she wants him and she’s going to revel in it. Her face is twisted into a menacing sneer as she mocks Splinter, delving into how she’s lost any respect she once had for him. It’s almost tough to witness at times.

Colorist Ronda Pattison illuminates the scene with the fiery glow of Karai’s cursed sword. This casts an eerie glow on the entire sequence. That blade is unnatural in the truest sense of the word and it can certainly explains Karai’s darker nature. When the blade is close to Splinter, it’s even more of a threat, showing him in a vulnerable position, like he’s about to be burnt.

Karai’s battle is just part of the excitement of TMNT #97. Writer Tom Waltz keeps all the plates spinning. One of the biggest aspects to this storyline is Jennika’s transformation into the newest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. It’s been a rough night for her, made even more so by Casey Jones’ reaction to her new appearance. One of the driving themes of these characters has always been accepting your eccentricities and that definitely comes into play here. Jennika comes into her new look in a big way that shines a light on this otherwise dreary event.

I am continually impressed by how Waltz plants seeds for future storylines. There are a few items in this issue that could turn into big twists and turns. How far down the road this may play out is still up in the air. We could see them bear fruit before the end of this arc.

One example of this comes in Metalhead’s interrogation of Harold and Libby. This drops all kinds of interesting perspectives on these characters and opens the door to a potentially huge encounter between the robot and the EPF. Letterer Shawn Lee once again delivers Metalhead’s dialogue in an emotionless computer font that works perfectly in this scene, further driving home the points made by Harold.

Every time I think “City at War” has peaked, it gets even better. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #97 is absolutely incredible. If this is what we’re getting now, I can’t imagine what’s in store for us with issue #100. Comic events are often teased as world-changing or saying that nothing will ever be the same again. In this case, I 100% believe that to be true.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #97 from IDW Publishing is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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