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'TMNT: The Last Ronin II' Issue 1 Delivers Incredible Story and Artistic Direction

TMNT: The Last Ronin II Issue 1 - Featured Image

TMNT: The Last Ronin II, Issue 1 Summary and Review

It’s time to talk about the newest instalment of the IDW Publishing's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin comic book series. A comic book series which introduces us to a world where you’d wonder just how New York City would get on without Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo. Or, even more to the point, how the remnants of The Foot Clan would evolve over time without Shredder to command them.

Written by Tom Waltz and original TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman, Issue 1 of The Last Ronin: Evolution introduces us to a grim near future where crime is on the rise in New York City. This is established with an epic cold-open seeing an incredibly skilled Ninja Warrior who wears the mask of Casey Jones, leading her warriors against an invading gang, The Yorkville Warriors, that’s trying to take over their facility. They fail, miserably, leaving the opportunity for this same woman, who is called Casie Marie Jones (and who we later learn on is April’s daughter), to interrogate the remaining gang banger with no success. The captured gang-banger and all the rest of the gang are sent to Commander Zaragoza’s bunker. Someone who we know don’t know much about right now and won’t learn any more in this issue.

TMNT: The Last Ronin II, Issue 1, Page 1
TMNT: The Last Ronin II, Issue 1, Page 1

Next, we’re introduced to the new generation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: who are Yi, Odyn, Moja, and Uno.

The four of them are sitting around a table in a lair in the sewers and are arguing about who can tell the story about the origin of The Foot Clan, Master Splinter, The Shredder and the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When they’re done telling the story, we’re introduced to a brief set of sequences which explains how we’ve got this new generation of turtles, the fall of the original three and how Michelangelo exacted his revenge - ending the Oroku Bloodline and the Forever War.

Meanwhile, an elderly April is overseeing the construction and repair of the network of pipes in New York City. A point which isn’t important right now but will probably come up again in a future issue. The point here is that at the very least this scene establishes April as still a very hard working mechanic. A mechanic who is now sporting a robotic hand. Probably from a previous turtle battle and trauma but it’s sure to come up again.

While April and Casie are seemingly out and away from the Turtle’s lair, the Fab Four use this as an opportunity to stretch their anthropomorphic legs by jumping from roof to roof in New York City. Obviously frustrated with the nonstop training and that they haven’t been able to jump into the field and help protect New York City like the previous generation of Ninja Turtles. This is quickly interrupted with the realisation they’ve been out for too long and need hurry back to their lair before they get caught up by Grandma April and their master, Casie Jones.

TMNT: The Last Ronin II, Issue 1, Pages 2-3
TMNT: The Last Ronin II, Issue 1, Pages 2-3

No surprises here that the turtles are caught in the act by April and Casie but they forego the usual punishment and instead they decide to order pizzas - a favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pastime. While they’re waiting for it to be delivered, the six of them are watching a news report where the Mayor and Chief of Police are holding a press conference. And after reporter Amanda Rose Konnor presses them for an escalation in crime she’s accused of spreading rumour and that everything is under control. That the police are handling it - which they’re not.

As pizza is soon to arrive, Casie receives a call from Commander Zaragoza, asking for help at Two Bridges which is getting hit hard by gangs. But the only help she can spare is if she brings the turtles into battle. Against her better judgement, Casie and the four teenagers head towards Two Bridges to handle things. Once they arrive and without thinking, Casie heads straight into battle which catches the turtles by surprise and shock as their master begins to mop the floor with their enemies.

Soon enough, Yi, Odyn, Moja, and Uno join the fray and they’re doing quite well as Casie shouts orders at them to “watch each other’s backs.” An order which Moja doesn’t heed fast enough as one of the gang members breaks a sledge hammer over the back of Odyn - stunning him into a frozen coma-like state.

TMNT: The Last Ronin II, Issue 1, Pages 4-5
TMNT: The Last Ronin II, Issue 1, Pages 4-5

Despite the overcrowded panels in the first half of this issue, artists Esau, Isaac Ecorza and Ben Bishop have found a way to balance their unique styles and deliver a cohesive action filled comic that is an incredible passing of the baton moment from the old generation to this new generation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Yes, you could probably argue the layout is a bit of a hit and miss. Then there’s the relentless double page spreads which are overkill but this comic book is meant to be large, bombastic and make an impact statement. Otherwise, how the hell else are you meant to get excited?

The double sized format of this issue has pinned the creative team into a corner where every single couldn’t be wasted. There’s the action, the commentary on a failing corrupt city, the origin story and above all else the family aspect. Because, at its core, that’s what Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had always been about. Family. There’s incredible delivery here - both in artistry and storyline. While leaving an incredible cliffhanger to leave you foaming at the mouth for issue 2 as you ponder who is my favourite next generation Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? For me, it’s Uno.

TMNT: The Last Ronin II, Issue 1, Pages 6-7
TMNT: The Last Ronin II, Issue 1, Pages 6-7

What did you think?

I hope you enjoyed my TMNT: The Last Ronin Issue 1 review! What did you think of this issue?

Are you happy with the direction of this newest iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

Leave me a comment below or let me know on social media.


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