Often people are very naturally concerned about the beginning and the ending of a given story, more than the middle. Yet, the middle is often where some of the juiciest of moments and bits of the story can be found or expanded upon. That’s the space that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin – The Lost Years is playing within.
I appreciate what Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz are accomplishing with this second miniseries, filling in some of the gap years of Michelangelo’s journey (that led him to his final battle) while also fleshing out the future of this alternate…well future. They built things out so solidly in the first miniseries that it all just gels here, and any new information being offered about people, places, or things doesn’t feel out of left field. Instead, it just adds even more context to how the world became the place that we somewhat glimpsed in that first story (even if we mostly only saw New York City there).
Putting past and present together is a solid move since the past stuff in a way supports the present-day stuff, but I do have to say I kind of wish we were getting two different minis out of this. One set in the past and one in the “present” because I really want to see more of the new young turtles, Casey, and April. That being said, having their parts of the story set up in a way where Casey or April can tell a story about the old Turtles & Casey (the original/father) to teach the young turtles a lesson is a good framing device.
We get a very diverse but also similar sort of artistic approach with SL Gallant and Maria Keane on the lost years’ portion and Ben Bishop on the future segment. Both styles have a bit of roughness to them that speaks to the tone of this universe with heavily expressive characters on display. In Bishop’s section is more about capturing the variety of emotions and personalities on display as the characters are less active overall in their portions, while Gallant and Keane also work in a lot of fluid dynamic movement/action into their pages.
Separating them is how the past pages are overall heavier with the inks and the overall aspects, giving them more weight than the other pages. By that I mean that there is an overall feeling of heaviness there because of the content and the emotions of Mikey’s journey. Whereas the future pages are still happening in a dark future world but they are about hope and the future Turtles finding their way so they visually have a much lighter feel to them that enhances that hopeful feeling.
Across both time periods are the colors of Luis Antonio Delgado who finds a way to maintain a certain style while also displaying different palates for each era. Just like how I spoke about the art overall above, there is a heavier darker more shadowy type of colors chosen for the lost years while the future pages have a lot more vibrancy and flashes of color to them. Not only does it play to the different energies of the time periods, but it makes sure that right away one can feel the changes when moving to another time period, beyond just the apparent changes in the artwork and the characters.
Lettering across most of the TMNT offerings from IDW more often than not are coming from Shawn Lee, this book being one of those cases. There is a ton of captions and dialogue found here with one section being Mikey regaling us with his journey and the other having April/Casey telling stories. Lee makes sure that not only do all those captions and bits of dialogue flow around the page easily in the best way to follow but also infuses them with the right energy needed in any given moment. Colorful boxes, emphasized text that helps set the volume/tone, sharp boxy dialogue boxes that are so perfectly fitting for this universe, and so much more.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin – The Lost Years #3 is now available from IDW Publishing.
Often people are very naturally concerned about the beginning and the ending of a given story, more than the middle.COMICONRead More