With this story arc about to wrap up, Waltz has presented the time for Karai to fully embrace her role as Chunin and make an important decision for the betterment of the Foot. She seeks a more honorable way to defeat the Turtles that excludes the outsiders like Stockman and Krang. Waltz has been showing this struggle of hers for quite some time and it’s one of the things that makes Karia stand out as one of the top characters in this series. She has a devotion and dedication to not only the Foot Clan but also their traditions that we don’t even see coming from Shredder. Shown when Waltz writes an intense and honest scene between her and Splinter that also displays the quiet power of the Master. This leads to a challenge being issued that puts Beebop, Rocksteady, Bludgeon, and Koya against the Turtles. This is the deciding battle that will settle the feud between the two factions but Waltz has a few surprises in store. It seems as if Kitsune is pulling some of her own strings and just might have a separate agenda.
As great as the issue is there is a development that was quite a disappointment and it was the end result of Baxter Stockman’s involvement. The series has done a fine job with his character and it seemed as if he was going to finally play a larger part in the endgame. Well, just as quick as he arrived, his exit was just as sudden. Making his role nothing more than a means to get Shredder back into the fold and upset Karia. Though one can argue that him motivating Karai with his interference is just as important. It would have been nice to see him prove his competence as an evil scientist.
If you’ve been on board with the series then you already know that TMNT boasts some of the best visual storytelling. Cory Smith once again keeps that momentum going and keeps your eyes thoroughly entertained. He makes the Splinter/Karia scene more impressive with her body language and you see her internal struggle as she’s listening to Splinter’s words. There’s also the scene where Mikey realizes that he might be asked to kill and he’s very torn. Smith pulls out the perfect bit of emotion and hesitation that really makes that panel work. The action is powerful and fast and made even better with Ronda Pattison’s colors again. It’s a huge reason why the title has looked so good.
Thanks to IDW this is a great time to be a TMNT fan as we get closer to the 50th issue in a series that’s been nothing but stellar when it comes to this franchise. From the creative team’s use of the family dynamic they’ve brought a level of storytelling to these characters that makes it more than just catch phrases and fight scenes. It’s the heart of the characters that has really put this series on the top for so long as well as a great array of villains with just as much depth. So you’ll want to grab this one as it sets up the big finish next issue!