REVIEW: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Last Ronin #4

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #4 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. In an effort to loosen the Foot’s grip on New York City, Michaelangelo leads an assault on Baxter Stockman’s island on Roosevelt Island but must contend with Stockman’s war machines. Meanwhile, Mikey tells April the tragic results of his trip to Japan and how the last of Clan Hamato fell to Hiroto Oroku.

This issue is divided into three sections, with the collection of artists handling a different section. The Escorzas handle the bulk of the issue, including the Battle of Roosevelt Island and a Stockman who has become more machine than man-which looks utterly horrifying. Eastman tackles Mikey’s travels to Japan, and Bishop handles the flashbacks surrounding Clan Hamato. It’s that last sequence that hit me the hardest, as it finally reveals what happened to Donatello and Splinter. Previous issues have had flashbacks dedicated to the fall of the Turtles, but this issue has a sense of finality to it; readers will finally understand the pain that Mikey has been carrying all these years. They will also probably get a thrill out of the fight between the Foot and Hamato forces, which calls Akira Kurosawa’s Ran to mind—Delgado and Plata color the sky a blood red to match the blood being spilled in the snow, and Bishop decks the combatants in traditional Samurai armor. Eastman brings his signature black and white sketch style to scenes of Mikey trudging through snow, which only serves to highlight the Ninja Turtle’s loneliness. Even the lettering is reminiscent of the original TMNT comics from Eastman and co-creator Peter Laird.

Waltz and Eastman build upon The Last Ronin‘s dystopian world, particularly the relationship between Mikey and April’s daughter Casey Marie. Mikey ends up taking Casey under his wing after seeing her fighting skills in action, which he deems lacking; the resulting bond is extremely reminiscent of Bruce Wayne and Carrie Kelly in The Dark Knight Returns—which Waltz has described as one of the major inspirations for The Last Ronin. Casey even dons her own ninja outfit similar to Carrie’s Robin uniform, albeit with purple and black accents instead of red and yellow. There is also a surprising revelation about Casey that raises multiple questions about the mutant abilities that Mikey and his fellow Turtles possess; it’ll be interesting if this is picked up in any other TMNT books that IDW publishes.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #4 has triumph and tragedy in equal measure, building up to a grand finale. As a lifelong Turtles fan, this comic has made me cry, cheer and gasp out loud. This is shaping up to be one of the best TMNT tales ever told, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #4 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 


The Last Ronin #4
5

TL;DR

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #4 has triumph and tragedy in equal measure, building up to a grand finale. As a lifelong Turtles fan, this comic has made me cry, cheer and gasp out loud. This is shaping up to be one of the best TMNT tales ever told, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends.