Whole New Direction: Reviewing ‘TMNT: The Armageddon Game’ #4
by Scott Redmond
Another solid issue as ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Armageddon Game’ #4 brings the event to a half-way point, preparing to plunge things into the downhill portion of this roller coaster. A steady build has allowed this series and the event to really breathe and make its case, yet still bringing a ton of action and big moments to the page already.
Reaching the midpoint of any story, especially a massive event story, means things are going to ramp up and revelations will occur. This is very much the case as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Armageddon Game #4 marks the halfway point, and a bunch of pieces are moved as some questions are at last answered and others are broached.
There is a ton to take in during this issue. It feels even more packed than the twenty-four pages that make up the story would have you think. In fact, this could have been a double or tripled-sized issue with how dense it feels. Tom Waltz just breezes through these issues showcasing how comfortable he is with this world, which makes sense since he was there to help build it all up when it began in 2011 and has been there almost the entire time. We get numerous references to previous stories, and wonderful note boxes pointing to where those stories took place, showing that Waltz pulled from so many places from over the years to build to this event.
Doing so lends credence to the idea that this actually is a story that has been years in the making, as its foundation is fully built upon everything that has come before and doesn’t shy away from that. I appreciate how easily this series has moved around and juggled various plots, and also very seamlessly weaves in and out of things that have happened or will happen in the main Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series and the other tie-in series that are complimenting this main event.
Visually it’s so great because of the sort of rough but also detailed and emotive energy that Vincenzo Federici, Alex Sanchez, and Matt Herms bring to the page. So much of this is focused on characters and Federici brings that to life so easily, capturing their personality and energy while nailing the action sequences which flow through across the pages. It’s a deep and detailed world, enhanced by the inks that Sanchez provides giving things even more weight and depth.
This is a darker story in tone because the world is in danger and lives have already been upended or lost as the chaos spreads, and we feel that in the firmer smooth but also rough artwork. It’s mirrored in the colors from Herms which are darker and feel as rough as the artwork, in a very shadowy and toned-down way. There are things that are brighter and pop, but so much of it feels more grounded and Earthy in quality (even the alien planets, as the darker elements hang overhead all the time.
Turtle-verse go-to letterer Shawn Lee returns for this issue, bringing that ability to make the larger amount of dialogue present in the issue glide around and compliment all the rest of the art on the page. Great lettering not only flows around the page, helping keep the focus on things by slipping around or beside the rest of the art but also brings a great tone and energy to the proceedings. It makes sure that we can hear and feel even more of what we’re seeing or being told on the page. Lee accomplishes this all the time, there is a reason he’s moving between the Turtle titles doing his thing, keeping us on track and nailing the tone that is required of every moment.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Armageddon Game #4 is now available from IDW Publishing.