The fourth issue in the TMNT Micro Series shifts its focus to the leader of the ninja quartet, Leonardo. Events in this issue have a more direct tie to the current series, as the brothers are currently searching for Master Splinter. Leo’s journey leads him back to Baxter Stockman’s lab and into a whole lot of trouble, as he is ambushed by what seems like an endless wave of Foot ninja. It’s during the battle that Leo gets a vision of his mother and what happened to her, and he runs into a certain ninja with extraordinary skill. Could this be the first appearance of Shredder in this series?
For what could have easily been just one long and very cool ninja battle, Lynch also provides quite a bit of substance throughout the issue. Leo’s flash backs to his past life and what Splinter previously revealed to the brothers really helped to reinforce the character. We’re given a reason for his drive and determination that is richer than him just being the team “leader.” Lynch took things even further during the sequence involving the homeless woman, as that pushed Leo to a point we rarely get to see him go. This gives a bit more validity for the fight and a deeper purpose other than just mindless violence. It was violence with heart and purpose, and Lynch made it cool.
Campbell told the story visually as great as Lynch did with his words. Here we have an awesome fight played out over the majority of the book, and at no point did any of it become repetitive and boring. He kept the odds overwhelmingly against Leo as he filled panel after panel with Foot ninja. The flash backs were handled in a much different style that really set them apart from the present events going on. The colors of Jay Fotos put these over the top and helped to make those sequences stand out. Though none of them stand out more than the scene with Leo shedding a tear as the homeless woman is being taken by Foot ninja and he’s surrounded by the rest. This was a great scene that set up the rage fueled ass kicking he gave his enemies as he got back into the fight.
This is by far one of the best of the Micro Series of books that gives a lot of credibility to the twist on the Turtle’s origin. The creative team delivers some classic action here and executes what a solo issue should. That would be giving you a richer experience and deeper characterization of the character focused on in the issue. It’s because of fun stories like this one that I’d suggest IDW’s new TMNT series to anyone, regardless of their knowledge of the mythos.