REVIEW: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder in Hell”, Vol 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Shredder

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder In Hell, Vol 1, is written and illustrated by Mateus Santolouco, colored by Marcelo Costa and Davi Calil, and lettered by Shawn Lee, is published by IDW Publishing. After his death at the hands of Splinter, Oroku Saki, better known as the Shredder, must navigate the treacherous path of the Underworld, all the while grappling with the ghosts of his past. But the revelations about his own place in the universe may shake him to his very core…

Santolouco is no stranger to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe, having drawn their adventures in the monthly comic. With Shredder In Hell, he moves to writing duties as well as art and gives new depth to Oroku Saki. The Shredder is often depicted as a cold, merciless figure; this miniseries showcases him at his most human. Filled with doubt and remorse, Saki wants nothing more than to take the reigns of his own destiny, but the forces of Hell have other plans for him.

Shredder

Much like Dante Aligheri in The Inferno, Santolouco besets Saki with several figures from his past, including his ancestor Takeshi Tatsuo and his own father. The biggest figure that makes an impact has to be Splinter; he acts as the Virgil to Saki’s Dante, offering to guide him to the path he needs. Again, this adds layers to a relationship that was mostly adversarial and gives Saki an emotional connection throughout the series. Santolouco also delves deep into mythology, using elements of Buddhism to explain the spiritual factors at play in the afterlife.

Santolouco’s art is also in top form. The denizens of Hell all look visually distinct from each other, and often extremely horrifying; the flesh is falling off their bones, their eyes are soulless milk-white orbs, and they never seem to die, no matter how much Saki cuts into them. The true terror lies when Saki encounters the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Gone are everyone’s favorite pizza-eating, wise-cracking martial-arts loving reptiles, and in their places are bloodthirsty demons. Santoluco underlines that horror with dialogue that would normally sound fitting in the Turtles’ mouth, but comes off as lacking.

Visually, Santoluco also demonstrates the journey Saki undertakes. When Saki first appears in the afterlife, he is dressed in his full Shredder armor; as he progresses through various battles and faces off against the ghosts of his pasts, his armor starts to shed piece by piece until we finally see him as just Oroku Saki.

The colorwork from Costa and Calil also helps to distinguish the different parts of the Underworld. Early on, when Shredder first arrives in the afterlife, the spirit realm is shown in hues of blue and pink, symbolizing an otherworldly place of peace. In comparison, the underworld is lit with fiery reds and oranges, lending an apocalyptic flair to Shredder’s many battles.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder in Hell, Vol 1 is a bold character study and paints the Turtles’ archnemesis in a new light. Santoluco combines introspective writing with visually striking artwork, making for a compelling story overall.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder in Hell, Vol 1 is available wherever comics are sold and through Comixology using our affiliate link.

Rating
5

TL;DR

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder in Hell, Vol 1 is a bold character study and paints the Turtles’ archnemesis in a new light. Santoluco combines introspective writing with visually striking artwork, making for a compelling story overall.