REVIEW: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 2 minutes

TMNT: The Last Ronan #2 - But Why Tho?TMNT: The Last Ronin #2 is written by Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman from a story by Eastman, Peter Laird, and Waltz. It is penciled by Eastman, Ben Bishop, Esau, and Issac Escorza with layouts from Eastman, colored by Luis Antonio Delgado with assistance from Samuel Plata, and lettered by Shawn Lee. It is published by IDW Publishing.

Following the events of the first issue, Michelangelo reunites with April O’Neil and her daughter Casey. Flashbacks reveal what led Michelangelo on the path to becoming the Last Ronin, as well as the final, and fatal battle between the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Foot Clan.

The flashbacks are the most intriguing, and tragic, part of the story. As the title implies, Michelangelo is now a ronin, a masterless warrior, who has also lost his brothers and his father. Eastman and Waltz made the perfect choice in picking him to be the last Ninja Turtle; under their pen, Mikey—who is often known as the jokester of the turtles—is suffering from scars both mental and physical. And from the way his brothers are “haunting” him, those mental scars run deep.

Eastman and Waltz also dig deep into the rivalry between Hiroto Saki and Michelangelo, as well as their family history. The battle between the Shredder’s family and the Turtles has long fueled TMNT canon, and it only seems fitting that “the last Turtles story” would take that rivalry to its bitter end. The odds also seem stacked against Michelangelo, as Hiroto and his Foot Clan have an iron grip on New York. I’m eager to see how he manages to overcome those odds, as the best stories always find a way for the hero to come out on top.

In addition to co-writing the issue, Eastman also illustrates a flashback sequence featuring Michelangelo. His blocky, rough sketches are perfect for the tone of this comic and are made even better by the fact that they’re in black and white. Overall, the sequence feels like a throwback to the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic by Eastman and Laird, which probably was intentional.

The Escorza brothers draw the bulk of the issue, flashing between past and present. Past sequences are given a hazy red filter by Delgado, hinting at the bloodshed to come. In the present, the Escorzas show the weight the years have taken by detailing every wrinkle and scar that April and Michelangelo have collected over the years. April, in particular, has a sequence where she pulls herself out of bed and dons her prosthetic limbs. The Escorzas close in on her face during this sequence, showing a sense of determination as metal meets flesh.

TMNT: The Last Ronin #2 begins to peel back the layers of the tragedy surrounding the story and paints a dark future for its titular heroes in the process. Rarely have I felt an emotional gut-punch with these “dark future” stories, but The Last Ronin is the exception to the rule because it centers around the dissolution of a family. I can’t wait to see more of this story, as it truly is shaping up to be a special entry in TMNT history.

TMNT: The Last Ronin #2 is available wherever comics are sold.

5

TL;DR

TMNT: The Last Ronin #2 begins to peel back the layers of the tragedy surrounding the story and paints a dark future for its titular heroes in the process. Rarely have I felt an emotional gut-punch with these “dark future” stories, but The Last Ronin is the exception to the rule because it centers around the dissolution of a family. I can’t wait to see more of this story, as it truly is shaping up to be a special entry in TMNT history.