Story By: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow & Tom Waltz
Script By: Tom Waltz
Art By: Mateus Santolouco
Flashback Art By: Cory Smith
Ancient rituals and rites make everything even more epic and heart stopping. This issue is the conclusion to an epic tale that dates back two lifetimes; The Hamato Clan (Splinter) vs the Foot Clan (Shredder). As an appetizer, we get to see the turtles (Robo-Donnie included) fight four of Shredder’s most trusted thugs, including Bebop and Rocksteady. This is what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise boils down to; the brothers learning to act as a team and checking their emotions in order to defeat the goons, while Splinter and Shredder settle the ages old feud.
The story which Eastman, Curnow and Waltz started way back in issue 1 in 2012, has been a journey for the readers and the Turtles. This series has provided us (at least me) with some of the best story arcs to happen to the turtles: City Fall where we saw Leo become brainwashed and fighting for The Foot, Secret History of the Foot where we learned of the long and eternal feud between these two foes, and the Northampton arc which was reminiscent of the first Turtles movie where the boys rediscover themselves. It is safe to say that this issue brought up a lot of great moments from issues of the past.
I have been in love with Mateus Santolouco’s work on the turtles since the Secret History addition. As fast paced as the story is, the panels are able to convey just how fast paced this final brawl actually is. The turtles are illustrated to show they are full of life and energy and the total control the turtles display over the thugs, is made clear without being lost in the normal jumble of high-action fight scenes usually found in other books. When Splinter is searching all his knowledge of a possible way to stop Shredder once and for all, he has flashback sequences that Cory Smith illustrates. The filter that looks to be over the panels gives the right sense that Oroku Saki and Hamato Yoshi have been at odds with each other for a very long time.
All good things must come to an end, and as the ancient rite comes to a conclusion, there are many emotions that are left out in the open like an open wound. In a scene that was everything a TMNT fan would want, the four turtles combat Shredder on a roof top, of all places. Again, this is a really great scene that is illustrated and scripted just how Turtles fans would have wanted. Of course this epic saga can’t end without Shredder going head to head with Splinter, who picks up and uses every one of his sons’ weapons in yet another incredible series of panels. The outcome of the fight brings closure to many stories and events throughout this on-going series, but now there are more loose ends that the Turtle family will learn how to deal with. This new direction is unexplored for the turtles in all of their stories and adventures, and I am very excited to see how it plays out. This is by all means a comic that should be picked up for the illustrations, the script, and the action and to see for yourself the outcome of this ancient rite and where it leaves the Turtle Family.