Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44 was a game changer that set the stage for what’s to come and none of it is looking good for the Turtles. Donnie is fighting for his life, Karai is leading The Foot to purge all of the people who have been a stumbling block, and Baxter Stockman has allied himself with Shredder and proves that he’s several steps ahead of the game. Not to mention that the Purple Dragons are still a problem that need to be dealt with. Though what may be bad news for the Turtles is good news for the readers because it’s going to be a hell of a ride to the 50th issue!
Waltz has been nothing short of perfect in this series and proves that you don’t need panel after panel of action to make a good TMNT story. With the brothers still reeling from the attack on Donnie, Waltz gives each one their moment before we get further into the story. It’s these moments that give the series more depth than one might assume when you see mutant talking animals, ninja, demons, and aliens. Waltz has also slowly been establishing Baxter Stockman into someone that shouldn’t be underestimated. Making him more of what we saw in the original series back in 1984 but expanding on his genius and self serving nature that makes him a decent villain and not the whiny imp that was made popular in the first TMNT cartoon. A lot of the issue is build up and foreshadowing of what’s to come and it’s just a tense ride that keeps you wanting more by the time Waltz brings you to the end of the issue!
If you’re one of the few people who have yet to see the jaw dropping artwork of Mateaus Santolouco in this series then go buy this comic immediately. Your eyes will clap and rejoice for what you’re going to introduce them to when they look at the art in this issue. Santolouco can really deliver when it comes to those kinetic action scenes but he’s just as talented when Waltz has slowed things down. There’s a sequence where Mikey is just getting some things off his chest and the facial expressions really sell the whole thing. The entire Hun/Casey interaction is just another example of the emotional buttons this one pushes but then that last page takes it to another level. Along with the great artwork are the story enhancing colors from Pattison who continues to add to the strong visuals in these issues.
You can’t go wrong with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as this has been the best relaunching a beloved franchise so far. We’ve mentioned in past reviews that a lot of that is due to the creative team’s take on the “family” theme regarding the heroes and villains. They’ve found what works and make sure you enjoy those moments just as well as the swords, shurikens, and spiked armor ninja fights that take place!