Taking place during the events of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #11, this issue delves into the past of Splinter. He’s surrounded by a room full of Foot ninja, but the imposing figure of Oroku Saki, better known as Shredder, is his focus, and sends him into a conflict with himself that gives us a deeper look into the man he was many years ago.
We’re taken through key points in Splinter’s past life where we see he wasn’t always the calm and centered person we met in the beginning, or were introduced to years ago. During these revelations, you realize that Burnham is giving us a fractured character in Splinter. This actually makes him a richer character, as he seems to have some substance to him and not just the rat that teaches the Turtles ninjitsu. Seeing his mistakes and what it took for him to reach the place he’s at now was done very well in the frame of this origin issue. What made it even better were the brief flashes to the present to show Splinter beating the hell out of Foot ninja.
There were two varying styles used by Charles Paul Wilson III as we bounced between the present fight and the flash backs. The artwork for the present really showed off Splinter’s skills as he plowed through the ninja attacking him. It was what you should expect from a fight scene as ferocious as this one was. While the pages that took us to Splinter’s past had a much more softer style which could be greatly attributed to the colors of Jay Fotos. It seemed like reading a fable of sorts, which is fitting since we’re talking about a man who was reincarnated as a rat and his sons as turtles.
Burnham has given Splinter a stronger foundation and really built off of the whole reincarnation angle in this interpretation of the Turtles mythos. These Micro Series issues are not just adding to the characters that are spotlighted, but are adding to the ongoing story in the main title, as well. Though it’s done in a way that doesn’t interfere or spoil anything if you’re just reading one or the other. Either way, you should do yourself a favor and read both just for the pure fun and excitement of the series.