The latest collection from IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles delivers a full year’s worth of the comic, collecting together issues #25 – #36 of the ongoing title. Picking up where the previous volume left off, it continues the exciting ‘City Fall’ story, that sees the villainous Shredder conquering the New York underworld, with the brainwashed Leonardo as his second in command.
The story presented in this book has the Turtles at one of their lowest and most desperate points. Their brother is working for the enemy, Shredder is amassing an army, and their ally Casey Jones has been hospitalised due to his injuries in their last fight with Shredder. Thankfully, we get to see the Turtles call on a number of friends and old enemies to help them out, bringing together their own special strike force in order to save Leonardo from Shredder’s clutches.
Over the course of the book we not only see the Turtles and their allies go to war, but view the fallout of these actions, as well as their subsequent plans to retaliate against Shredder and The Foot. It’s a lot of content, with huge amounts of action and a lot of down time for character development and even time given over to secondary characters such as Old Hob and Alopex. The book manages to juggle all of these stories and characters well, with very little feeling rushed or pushed to the side.
Every character gets their moments in the spotlight, the story ties back to past events, and manages to set up future story lines, all without anything feeling under-serviced. There aren’t many comics that I can think of with as many balls to juggle that can claim to be this good.
The book also has two very distinct art styles from Santolouco and Campbell. As with many ongoing books, I’m sure that this decision to have more than one artist on the title is to help them meet deadlines and get the books out on time, but whilst some comics have a single issue in the middle of a story suddenly change artist (something I’ve noticed a lot in the past with DC), here, all of the parts of the story set in New York are drawn by Santolouco, and the issues set on April’s parents farm being done by Campbell.
Not only does this help to separate out the story and makes clear distinctions between the locations, but Campbells lighter style, with the softer line work and more muted colours enhances the story, as this is the section where the Turtles are recovering from their ordeal. It feels like a gentler part of the story, and the art is a big part of this.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 3: Fall and Rise is a definite roller-coaster of a story, with intense action, slower character moments, and a conclusion that’s exciting and builds up for the story to come. An excellent read.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 3: Fall and Rise is published by IDW Publishing. Writers: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow & Tom Waltz. Artists: Mateus Santolouco & Sophie Campbell. Pages: 292