At Foot HQ, the Shredder orders Karai to nail Splinter with an arrow. Splinter deflects the attack and Karai is shamed before her grandfather. The Shredder then orders his Foot Soldiers to swarm the old rat and exterminate him.
*This story is continued from TMNT (IDW) #10. The story continues in TMNT (IDW) #12.
*TMNT Microseries #5: Splinter takes place during this issue. Specifically, between pages 7 and 8.
*The Purple Dragons originally appeared in TMNT (Vol. 1) #1. Angel would seem to be based off of a character by the same name who appeared in the 4Kids animated series, in the episode “Fallen Angel” (though still a street urchin, she was much younger in the cartoon).
*This issue was originally published with 4 variant covers: Cover A by Duncan and Pattison, Cover B by Eastman and Pattison, Cover RI by Zach Howard and Nelson Daniel, and Convention Edition by Eastman and Pattison.
The pacing is starting to display its failings again with this issue; the events of which really could have been combined with the previous installment to little ill-effect. As it is, it has now taken the Shredder 3 issues and 3 months just to move from the spot he’s been standing in. 4 issues if you count the Splinter microseries.
Pacing like that would make even “Dragon Ball Z” blush.
The overall narrative of the book has been great and we’ve got a whole lot of stuff going on. And all of it is great. But when you only focus three or four pages to each subplot per month, it’s a small wonder it can take a quarter of a year for a character just to move their leg a little.
The introduction of this book’s interpretation of the Purple Dragons has me curious. The idea that they’re a “community watch” and not a vicious gang of hooligans seems like a major change, but to some rather minor players from the previous continuities, so not a big deal. I don’t know if Waltz based this Angel off the one from the 4Kids cartoon, but they might as well be separate characters. The Turtles throwing down with them didn’t provide a whole heck of a lot of tension, as we spent the first four issues of this book watching the Turtles effortlessly beat on Hob’s gang. So despite the attempts at cliffhangers, there was never much to really be worried about.
For my money’s worth, it was mostly the character moments that sold me on this issue. Splinter and Shredder trading verbal barbs, Casey and April developing their romance even further and Don conceding the existence of the Foot Clan to Leo were all payoffs to quite a lot of build up. In regards to that last one, I hope that the Don/Leo rivalry doesn’t end on one panel of apologizing, as it was perhaps the most interesting change-up in characterization defining the IDW book for me.
My favorite moment, though? Angel describing the various mutants that have invaded her turf: A “pirate cat” and a “kung fu coyote”. Priceless.
In a way, this issue felt a little like Mirage Volume 4; so many subplots going on all at once that book has to divide its limited page space in too many directions. The end result is three months before a character has the opportunity to take a single step.
Grade: C (as in, “Could the Turtles be any worse at this whole ninja thing? They spend half the issue standing out in the middle of the street”.)