By Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz, Mateus Santolouco, Ronda Pattison, Shawn Lee and Chris Mowry
After an approperiate amount of time chilling, our heroes in a half shell are set for their next fight for survival in This Week’s Finest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #67…
Between two ongoing series and about a dozen miniseries, there’s a lot of continuity in IDW’s TMNT line. There’s the turtle foursome and their rat sensei obviously; but now Master Splinter is running the Foot Clan, a second team of mutants has formed and is led by former enemy of the turtles Old Hob, and now agent Bishop and the Earth Protection Force are entering the arena.
If it has green skin and too many fingers, you can bet the EPF is against them. Secretive and xenophobic, much like its head, the EPF is waging a secret war on the mutants and/or aliens living on Earth at the moment. Agent Bishop is convinced that humanity is threatened by these outsiders living here and will stop at nothing to destroy before they destroy humanity. All of this can be seen in TMNT Universe #1-4.
Right now the turtles are in sleep mode, actively not being active to the consternation of Leonardo who believes they need to be pursuing their enemies. Even the Mutanimals (Old Hob’s crew) have settled down some from their gun raids and mutant rescues. It’s this peace for the characters that agent Bishop is set to exploit.
This script by Tom Waltz effectively juggles the many subplots running through the TMNT books without losing the tension that explodes in the climax of the issue. Agent Bishop ambushes and brainwashes Spike, a fifth mutant Turtle who is strong enough to destroy the turtles all by himself, and has him sneak attack the Mutanimals. Bishop is cold and calculating in this endeavor, not even recognizing our mutant heroes as animals. Spike is brutal in his attack and only Old Hob is able to escape. The tension I spoke of comes from seeing Spike get captured and watching the Mutanimals welcome him into their home without suspicion until Bishop throws the “kill switch”. It’s almost like a horror movie unfolding before the viewer’s eyes; it’s clear what’s going to happen but when it does, it still packs an emotional punch.
On art, Mateus Santolouco conveys cutesy and intense artwork often on opposing pages. His storytelling works by overlapping panels in a broken grid structure, letting each moment fit into a beat. It manages to have the story move, while also letting the pertinent information appear and the action explode in a crescendo of movement. Major credit goes to Ronda Pattison’s colors for the fight between Spike and the Mutanimals, as her primary colors ramp up the ferocity of Spike’s blows and the pain he inflicts on his victims. The book’s beginning and finale pages display purple, perhaps to signify the calm before the storm and after. In any case, the art aptly illustrates Waltz’s script and sets up what is sure to be an exciting arc for the turtles and their allies.
Between Splinter controlling the Foot, most of the Mutanimals captured and scientific whiz Harold not speaking to the turtles, our heroes are already at a clear disadvantage at battling agent Bishop. In a short time, the relative peace the TMNT had been enjoying as been destroyed although they don’t know it yet.
With its brisk plot, exciting action, and engaging artwork, Teebage Mutant Ninja Turtles #67 was a clear choice for this weeks finest.