Move over Kevin McAllister. The Ninja Turtles have their own traps for the mutants looking to invade their home.
The Turtles have firmly established their new home in Mutant Town, but Old Hob isn’t going to let them get a foot hold in the area without a fight. A war is brewing as these two sides begin to quarrel.
If you’ve seen Home Alone, you have a good idea as to how the Turtles prepare for Old Hob’s spies. They set all kinds of traps around their house in an effort to capture the two invaders that come sniffing around. They really put their ninja skills to use in this issue, working covertly to protect their home.
Colorist Ronda Pattison leans into these ninja elements, shrouded the Turtles in shadow as they hunt the mutants who made the poor choice to invade their home. This place is usually bustling with activity and smiling faces. Instead, it’s been replaced by darkness and silence.
When the Turtles do have to speak, letterer Shawn Lee shows it in word balloons outlined in dotted lines, conveying the whispers. This contrasts nicely with the more intense scenes, particularly when Mikey springs into action to defend the youngsters.
The imminent battle between the Turtles and Old Hob’s crew is just one thread in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s tied to Karai’s plans with the Foot Clan too and I’m curious how one will affect the other. Writer Sophie Campbell moves the story ahead considerably while still making time for some nice character moments.
A major one comes with how Mikey is treated by the kids in the dojo. They absolutely adore him, especially after they saved them from Old Hob’s forces. It’s very sweet to see and it’s clear that they’re the reason Mikey is fighting so hard here.
Another great, albeit heartbreaking character moment comes when new mutant Mona reveals herself to her family over the phone. It goes horribly and hits like a punch to the gut. Just as the X-Men are an allegory for a number of minority groups and the LGBTQ+ community, so are the mutants in TMNT. Mona is comfortable with her new life and wants to share it with her parents, but they shun her instead of embracing who she is.
Artist Jodi Nishijma captures every bit of emotion in this sequence. You see the hope in Mona’s eyes as she presses the button on her phone to turn her camera on, then you’re forced to watch as that drains from her face, replaced by tears.
There’s a playful quality to Nishijima’s artwork that works well with the characters. It is warm and soft, yet still serious enough to deal with important issues and great character development.
Where recent issues of TMNT has focused more on character development than story, this one has a nice mix of both. The pieces are moved around the game board preparing for a mutant-on-mutant battle with quite a lot on the line.