REVIEW: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 3 minutes

the Last Ronin #5 - But Why Tho

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5 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 Ronda Pattinson, and lettered by Shawn Lee. The series is published by IDW Publishing. After the battle on Roosevelt Island, Michelangelo resolves to take down Hiroto Oroku on his own – no matter the cost. He storms Hiroto’s fortress, finally coming face to face with the younger ninja – who’s adopted his grandfather’s mantle of the Shredder.

The buildup to this battle has been percolating ever since the first issue, and thanks to Waltz & Eastman it’s worth the wait. Mikey ends up navigating a maze of enemies, leaving a trail of broken and bloodied bodies in his wake. He also faces off against some intimidating opponents including a massive winged robot and a flock of robotic crows. Not only does this help build up the anticipation for Mikey and Oroku’s showdown, but it’s admittedly cool to see how Mikey’s ninja skills triumph over cutting-edge tech. The action also cuts to April O’Neil and her daughter Casey, as the two have to work together to stop their sewer base from overflowing while working out their family issues.

That isn’t surprising, as the bonds between families have been a major part of this series. Both Mikey and Hiroto are haunted by the ghosts of their families; Mikey keeps hallucinating the other Turtles and Hiroto vents his rage against his mother Karai. But the value of found family is also on display, as Mikey has an emotional moment with April and Casey that closes out the book. It brought tears to my eyes – and that was before the surprising sequence that is bound to break even the hardest of hearts. For all the violence and bloodshed that’s fueled the series, it wears its heart on its sleeve.

Speaking of bloodshed, the final battle between Mikey and Hiroto is a no-holds-barred beatdown thanks to the Escorzas and Bishop. Hiroto sports a shining silver armor that morphs into a Shredder outfit, complete with blades and a skull-like faceplate; it allows him to battle Mikey hand to hand and match the ninja turtle in strength and speed. The action finds the two falling through the air while trading blows, and wrestling in the mud in a sequence that not only pays homage to The Dark Knight Returns but also the very first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Pared with the color artists’ darker palette, along with Michaelangelo’s narration depicted in bright orange boxes thanks to Lee and said colorists, this is one of the most satisfying final battles that a post-apocalyptic take on a beloved IP has ever given its audience.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5  serves as an emotional, adrenaline-laced finale to one of the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stories ever told. TMNT fans of every stripe will want to pick up this book, and the ending hints at even more tales set in this universe. Between The Last Ronin and the upcoming “Armageddon Game” storyline in the main TMNT series, the future of the heroes in a half shell is looking bright.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5 is available wherever comics are sold.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5
5

TL;DR

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5  serves as an emotional, adrenaline-laced finale to one of the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stories ever told. TMNT fans of every stripe will want to pick up this book, and the ending hints at even more tales set in this universe. Between The Last Ronin and the upcoming “Armageddon Game” storyline in the main TMNT series, the future of the heroes in a half shell is looking bright.