REVIEW: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

TMNT The Last Ronin #3 - But Why Tho

TMNT: The Last Ronin #3 is written by Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman from a story by Eastman, Peter Laird, and Waltz. It is penciled and inked by Eastman, Ben Bishop, Esau & Issac Escorza with layouts from Eastman, colored by Luis Antonio Delgado with assistance from Samuel Plata, and lettered by Shawn Lee. The series is published by IDW Publishing. Hiroto Oroku enforces martial law in New York City, forcing Michelangelo and his allies to take the fight to the Foot Clan with the help of an old ally. Flashbacks showcase the fall of the Turtles, along with what happened to Mikey and April in the years since.

Continuing with the tragedy established in the first two issues, this issue mainly takes place in the past, showcasing Hiroto’s treachery. The Turtles are wary when he wants to broker peace and that wariness pays off as they are attacked by their old foe, Baxter Stockman. Eastman, Bishop, and the Escorzas put a futuristic spin on Stockman’s Mouser robots; they are now floating chomping orbs of death that also happen to have explosive cores. The Foot Clan also has mechanical footsoldiers, putting a deadly spin on an element from the 1987 animated series. And perhaps the most striking image of the book features Casey Jones’s hockey mask and Leonardo’s katanas strewn across a flaming pile of rubble, with Delgado and Plata giving the flames a hellish red tint. Waltz mentioned that he envisioned The Last Ronin giving birth to a universe of spinoffs, and with these flashbacks, I could definitely see more miniseries exploring the time that passed before the series’ beginning.

Waltz and Eastman also dig into their characters’ heads, bringing their journeys as well as their trauma to light. In the case of April, she not only lost her limbs but her husband and friends. Michelangelo lost his family, and their ghosts still haunt him.  Waltz and Eastman capture the other Turtles’ personalities in life and death-including Raphael’s bluntness and Donatello’s thoughtfulness. Eastman also plays the role of artist, drawing extended flashback scenes that depict the physical and mental changes that both April and Mikey went through. It’s honestly heartbreaking to read.

The same sense of gravitas is granted to Hiroto, who monologues to himself about the power he’s amassed. Hiroto’s rant is not only an indication of his mental state which does not seem to have a solid foundation if I’m being honest but serves as a way for him to air his grievances with his mother Karai and grandfather Shredder, who he feels abandoned him. This scene is a reminder that Hiroto, much like Mikey, has lost people close to him-the old “hero and villain have more in common trope” actually feels like it has some merit here, and I like that. Great villains are often a dark mirror of the heroes they face and Hiroto is no exception.

TMNT: The Last Ronin #3 is steeped in tragedy, unveiling the details behind the Turtles’ last stand and bringing the trauma that Michaelangelo has suffered to the forefront. With only two issues left, the ending sets the stage for a bombastic and potentially blood-soaked finale, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

TMNT: The Last Ronin #3 is available wherever comics are sold.

TMNT: The Last Ronin #3
5

TL;DR

TMNT: The Last Ronin #3 is steeped in tragedy, unveiling the details behind the Turtles’ last stand and bringing the trauma that Michaelangelo has suffered to the forefront. With only two issues left, the ending sets the stage for a bombastic and potentially blood-soaked finale, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.