TMNT: The Last Ronin #1 is written by Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman from a story by Eastman, Peter Laird, and Waltz. It is penciled by Esau and Issac Escorza with layouts from Eastman (and art by Ben Bishop on Page 39), colored by Luis Antonio Delgado with assistance from Samuel Plata, and lettered by Shawn Lee. It is published by IDW Publishing.
In the distant future, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been decimated and the grandson of Shredder rules New York City with an iron fist. The last remaining Turtle infiltrates the city to enact justice, all the while haunted by the ghosts of his brothers.
TMNT: The Last Ronin is based on an idea that Eastman and Laird developed during the early days of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, and 30 years later fans finally get to see it come to life. And it was well worth the wait. While stories such as The Dark Knight Returns and X-Men’s Days of Future Past have showcased a dark future for their eponymous heroes, TMNT: The Last Ronin feels like a natural extension of the tread due to the darker direction of Eastman and Laird’s earlier Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles stories.
A large part of why this series works is due to Waltz joining the scripting team. Waltz previously joined Eastman for IDW’s relaunch of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles title, which is one of the better relaunches of a comic in recent memory. Waltz and Eastman’s script slowly introduces the readers to this new future, slowly revealing what happened to fan-favorite characters including April O’Neill and Casey Jones.
This also extends to the last living Ninja Turtle. He is literally and figuratively carrying the weight of the past, using his brothers’ weapons as well as hearing their voices. It also becomes clear that this Turtle has a rather large ax, or rather a katana, to grind with the Shredder’s grandson. Waltz and Eastman keep the identity of this Turtle a secret-suffice it to say, it was a legitimate surprise for me. Much like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder In Hell, this is a character study first and foremost.
That doesn’t mean the issue isn’t packed full of action. Eastman provides the kinetic, gritty action that defined the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, while the Escorzas flesh out his outlines with a sharp, angular look. The end result feels like it was lifted from Samurai Jack, down to the gleaming futuristic city and robotic minions the last Ninja Turtle fights.
Rounding out the artistic team is Delgado and Plata. They bring an appropriately muted look in the beginning, with the Turtle’s olive green skin being the only flash of color in a world of dark grey and jet black. Once he finally gets into the city, the colors become more varied and bright-a sharp contrast to the violence that occurs shortly afterward.
TMNT: The Last Ronin #1 features the return of the Turtles’ creators, with a new spin on the “dark future” that is a hallmark of comic books. As a longtime Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan, this book was amazing to read and I can’t wait for future installments.
TMNT: The Last Ronin #1 is available wherever comics are sold.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin
TMNT: The Last Ronin #1 features the return of the Turtles’ creators, with a new spin on the “dark future” that is a hallmark of comic books. As a longtime Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan, this book was amazing to read and I can’t wait for future installments.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.