The fourth and final issue of the Karai’s Path story sees the ninja Karai returning to Tokyo, after finding a mystical ancient sword and new ally Yokai, in order to take over the criminal underworld.
Most of the focus of the issue follows Karai and her mutant allies attacking the Tokyo headquarters of the Yakuza crime lord Hayashi Toru, leaving only death and carnage in their wake.
The assault on the Yakuza building is an entertaining cross of traditional crime story, mythical ninja story elements, and huge mutant creatures tearing people apart. The scenes where we see Koya and Bludgeon working alongside their new ally Yokai to kill Hayashi Toru’s guards are brutal, and go a long way to showing the sheer ferocity that Karai’s mutant allies possess.
Korai herself has started to lose herself to the cursed sword that she worked so hard to acquire, with Hayashi Toru telling her that it will eventually consume her soul. Though only touched on slightly in this issue this is a very interesting story point that is being laid for future exploration, and is sure to be something that will appear to haunt the Turtles at a later date.
The scenes where Korai kills Hayashi Toru, and then goes on to take over the rest of the underworld when meeting with the heads of the other Yakuza families are straight out of Japanese crime dramas. They’re scenes that we’ve all seen before, but they work really well, and have the added impact of a humanoid hammerhead shark being around for proceedings.
The book manages to bring the Korai story to a satisfying conclusion, one that sets her up to return to New York as a force to be reckonned with at a later time, and also leaves enough plot threads open that there is a lot that can be explored at a later date; such as the effects that her new sword will have on her.
The artwork and colours are also stunning, with rough linework helping to sell the grittiness of certain scenes, helping to ground what we’re seeing in a more real world. It also makes some very good stylistic choices, such as draining all colour from the panel where the three mutants tear apart Yakuza henchmen apart from red, which not only makes the panel pop, but emphasised the brutality of what we’re seeing.
The removal of any background elements in the panels where Korai faces off against Hayashi Toru is also a great decision as it focuses attention solely on the two characters, heightening the drama of the moment. With Korai’s Path finally at it’s conclusion the final chapter brings the story to a stunning and strong finish.
TMNT Universe #15 is now available from IDW Publishing.